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How to connect an Xbox controller to your PC

Whether wired or wireless, here's how to pair an Xbox controller with your PC.
By
July 21, 2022
xbox series x review controller front
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Depending on your Xbox controller’s generation, the method to connect it to your PC will be different. The newer Xbox Series X and S controllers support wireless Bluetooth or wired USB-C connectivity. In contrast, the older Xbox One controllers require a wireless adapter or a micro-USB cable to connect. Here’s how to find out which one you own and use it to game on your PC.

Read more: The best Bluetooth gaming controllers for Android, PC, and more

QUICK ANSWER

To connect an Xbox Series X or S controller to your PC, use a USB-C or Bluetooth. To connect an Xbox One controller to your PC, use a micro-USB cable or an Xbox wireless adapter.


JUMP TO YOUR CONTROLLER

Which Xbox controller do I have?

Xbox Series S and One S controller comparison top view
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

The Xbox One and Series X or S controllers look very similar in design and may appear the same at first glance. However, there are a few key features to tell them apart. The quickest indicator is the USB port: if it has the wider, rounded USB-C port, then it’s a newer controller, and if it has a smaller, squared micro-USB port, it’s an older controller. The plastic around the backside port and bumpers may also have different colors and textures.

Learn more: Understanding different types fo USB cables

Connect a newer Xbox controller to a PC

Xbox Series S controller against the console
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

There are two ways to connect an Xbox Series X or S controller to a PC: a USB-C cable or Bluetooth.

The quickest way is to simply plug your controller into your PC using a USB-C cable. The controller will automatically configure with Windows 10 or 11 and work with any game on your PC.

If you don’t have a cable, you can wirelessly pair the controller to your PC over Bluetooth. In your systems settings, navigate Bluetooth and devices and click Add device.

pair xbox controller to PC
Adam Birney / Android Authority

Then, hold down the Xbox button and the Pairing button (the small one beside the USB port) for three seconds until the Xbox button flashes to put the controller in pairing mode. Once your PC detects the controller, select Xbox Wireless Controller to complete the pairing process.

Connect an older Xbox controller to a PC

The Xbox One controller.

There are two ways to connect an Xbox One controller to a PC: a micro-USB cable or a wireless adapter.

The quickest way is to simply plug your controller into your PC using a micro-USB cable. The controller will automatically configure with Windows 10 or 11 to play any game on your PC.

If you don’t want to use any cables to connect, you will need an Xbox wireless adapter. It’s a USB dongle that connects directly to your Xbox controller without any Bluetooth setup or pairing. Just plug the dongle into your PC and pair it to your controller by pressing the Pairing button on each device.


Read more: How to connect a PS5 controller to any device

FAQs

No, thanks to the built-in Windows driver, you don’t need any special software for your PC to recognize your Xbox controller.

No, you will need to purchase an Xbox wireless receiver or the unique USB-A cable included in the Xbox 360 Play & Charge kit.

Make sure you are holding down both the Pair button and the Xbox button until the controller starts flashing and that your PC Bluetooth connectivity is up to date. Check out these troubleshooting tips.