The go-to control method for playing games on your PC is via keyboard and mouse and while that’s a perfectly fine control method for some, others, who are more accustomed to playing on console, would much prefer to use a controller. This could simply be because they’re not familiar with the keyboard control layout or the game they are playing just isn’t optimized for anything but controller.
Naturally, with any peripheral, you might encounter some snags when hooking up your controller on PC and this is especially true with the Xbox One controller due to varying generations of the device. However, with this guide of how to use Xbox One controllers on PC, we’ll talk about those generation differences, the methods of connectivity, and any additional software/hardware you’ll need to get started.
If you’re wanting to use an Xbox One controller on your PC, you’re going to need to identify which variant you have as some connection methods are only viable with later models. If you have an original Xbox One controller that came with the base console or if you bought before the Xbox One S was released, it’s going to lack Bluetooth tech, unfortunately, so the only connectivity methods available to you will be either via micro USB or if you purchase a USB wireless adapter. On the other hand, if you’re lucky enough to either own an Xbox One S, Xbox One X, or bought a controller when these systems were released, your controller should have Bluetooth, making the wireless connectivity process far simpler.
If this wasn’t complicated enough, another controller to throw into the mix is the Xbox One Elite controller. While these are pricey, the Series One variant of the Xbox One Elite controller also lacks Bluetooth, whereas the Series Two variant, being newer, does. So, if you have the Series Two Xbox One Elite controller you’re good to go but you Series One owners, unfortunately, share the fate of early those who have early models of the system.
If you do have an Xbox One controller that supports Bluetooth connectivity, you can simply pair it to your PC, if it’s Bluetooth enabled too or if you have a Bluetooth dongle hooked up. Connecting is a pretty simple process and quite similar to that of pairing it to your Xbox One console.
To start, hold down the Guide button then do the same thing to the Pairing button situated on the top of the controller to the left of the micro USB slot for three seconds, making the Guide button light blink. When the Guide button does start to blink, it means it’s in Pairing mode and ready to be connected to your PC. If you were connecting your controller to your Xbox One system, you could simply press the sync button on the side of the console but unfortunately, a PC doesn’t share that trait and you’ll have to go through the whole process of adding it as a device.
To add your Xbox One controller as a Bluetooth device, here’s the process you need to go through:
- Right-click on the Bluetooth icon in your system tray
- Click “Add a Bluetooth Device”
- Click “Add Bluetooth or other Device” and choose Bluetooth
- Click “Xbox Wireless Controller”
- Wait until you see the Guide button emitting the solid white light and the Bluetooth menu says the controller is connected
You should now be free to use your Xbox One controller on your PC without any issues. Well, if the games you want to play support using a controller that is.
If wireless isn’t your thing or you’re using a first-generation controller, you can hook it up via micro USB. This method is probably the most simple, especially if you have a micro USB cable to hand.
To get your Xbox One controller hooked up via micro USB, locate the port on the top of the controller and plug it in. Do the same with the USB connector and plug it into your PC. The drivers should automatically install and you should be able to simply go play your games. However, if your controller isn’t recognized or the drivers don’t install for some reason, you can download them directly from Microsoft’s website.
The only real downside to using a micro USB cable over wireless connectivity is the fact that you’re physically tied to the PC, limiting your movement and pretty much making sitting back on your couch impossible.
Similar to the Xbox 360 controller, you are able to purchase a USB Wireless Adapter to connect your Xbox One controller to your PC. This adapter will set you back around $25 but for those who have first-generation controllers or can’t connect over Bluetooth, it’s the only real option for connecting wirelessly. This dongle also has some advantages over Bluetooth such as allowing up to eight controllers to be connected at one time. For Bluetooth, you’re only supposed to hook up one so huge benefits there for those wanting to get into multiplayer titles or fancy a bit of couch co-op. Moreover, you’re also able to use the headset jack on your controller rather than having to use the built-in jack on your PC, making it even more wireless friendly, eliminating the need for any tether to your machine.
If you are opting for the USB Wireless Adapter connection method, it’s a straightforward process and one that’s pretty much identical to connecting to your Xbox One. You simply plug the dongle into your PC and press the Pairing button on each device. This will form the necessary connection and you’ll be good to go. Far easier than connecting via Bluetooth, eliminating the need to go into your PC’s settings and adding devices.
If you a multi-console owner or have controllers for other systems lying around, you should also be able to hook them up to your PC. However, the methods shown for the Xbox One controller might not necessarily work with these.
If you’d like to take a look at how to connect said controllers to your PC see the guides below:
So, that’s it! The three connection methods above should help you to use your Xbox One controller on PC. If you do have any further problems, we’d suggest heading over to Microsoft’s Xbox support page and seeking help there.