Everything you need to know about your game controller

Want to get the most out of your console controller? Our guide reveals little-known tips and tricks.

16 Nov 2018

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How do I connect my Xbox controller to my Windows 10 PC?

  1. With a wire:

    Plug a Micro-B USB cable into your Xbox controller, and plug the other end of the cable (USB-A) into the USB slot on your computer.
  2. Wirelessly: 

    On your PC, go to Settings > Devices > “Add Bluetooth or other device” > “Everything Else” > “Xbox Wireless Controller” and click “Done”.

  3. Via the Bluetooth button on your Xbox controller:

    Certain Xbox controllers let you connect to your PC by pressing a Bluetooth button on the controller. If you’ve got an original Xbox One controller you won’t be able to do this. If you have a newer controller, as part of the S or X range, you will be able to. Struggling to tell the difference? The old controllers have a plastic finish that extends from the bumpers all the way to the big Xbox logo button on the face of the controller. This plastic finish is confined to the bumpers in the newer, Bluetooth-supported models.

 

Do you have a new controller or an older model? In the uppermost controller, the plastic finish extends from the logo to the bumpers (no Bluetooth support). In the bottommost picture, the bezel is confined to the bumpers (Bluetooth-enabled). Image courtesy of Microsoft.

How do I connect a PS4 controller to a Windows 10 PC?

The good news is the PS4 controller works on Steam, the premier PC-based gaming client.

  1. Open Steam and make sure you’ve got the latest driver updates installed.
  2. Then, connect your PlayStation 4 controller to your PC using a USB cable.

Or:

  1. Turn on Bluetooth on your computer (there is usually a key you can press for this on your keyboard).
  2. Ensure the PlayStation 4 controller is discoverable by holding down the “Share” button and the PlayStation button, as in the image below. Do this for three seconds, until the lightbar begins flashing.



  3. Open up your Bluetooth settings on your PC and choose “Wireless Controller”.

How do I connect my PS4 controller to my Windows 10 PC generally?

  1. Provided you’re not adverse to downloading third-party software, you’re going to have to get your hands on As per TechRadar, the software “fools your PC into thinking the connected DualShock 4 is an Xbox 360 controller, which is supported in Windows.”
  2. Install DS4Windows and start the set-up process.
  3. Connect your controller to your computer, either via a USB cable or via Bluetooth (as explained above).

DS4Windows will do the rest for you. 

Can I connect my Xbox controller to a MAC?

The short answer is yes, but not without downloading some third-party software.

If you’re comfortable doing that, install 360Controller from GitHub. Then, run the .DMG file and start the installer. Follow the on-screen instructions and restart your machine. You’ll then be able to go to “System Preferences” and find your controller in the list. The controller might be named “360”, but don’t worry, that’s just the name. This works with the Xbox One too.

Can I connect a PS4 controller to a MAC?

Yes, if you’re a MAC user and a PlayStation owner, you’re in luck, as the two go hand in hand. Here’s how to do it:  

  1. With a wire:
  2. Plug the PlayStation controller into a Micro-B USB cable, and plug the other end (USB-A) into the USB slot on your computer. Turn the controller on using the little PlayStation button between the joypads.
  3. On your MAC, go to “About this Mac” > “System Report” > “USB” and click “Wireless Controller”.
  4. Wirelessly
  5. Go to the Apple menu, then “System Preferences” > “Bluetooth”.
  6. Now, time to turn on Bluetooth on the controller. Hold down the little PlayStation button between the joypads, and also hold down the “share” button (see the image above for reference).
  7. “Wireless Controller” will appear as an item in the Bluetooth window. Click “Pair”.

And there you have it! 

How do I use a new PlayStation 4 controller with my PlayStation 4 console?

If you’re using a new PS4 controller wirelessly for the first time, you’re going to need to set it up with the machine.

As the PlayStation website explains, all you’ll need to do is “connect the controller to your system with a USB cable while the system is on.”   

How do I charge the PS4 controller?

The PS4 controller is wireless, which means it doesn’t use traditional batteries. When it does run low, it will need to be plugged in to a USB port. This can either be the USB port in your console, a phone charger, a wireless power bank and so forth.

Make sure the charging end is a “Micro-B” connector. Plug this in to the port circled in the image below, and plug the other end in to your PlayStation/phone charger/power bank.

Plug the Micro-B connector into the port highlighted above. 

You’ll know the charger is getting its juice if the light bar is orange and flashing.

How long does it take for the PS4 controller to fully charge?

If the controller is completely drained of battery, it takes approximately two hours of charging time to get to 100% again.

How do I charge the Xbox One controller?

There are three options for charging your Xbox One controller:

  1. Replace the AA batteries

Slide the back panel off the controller and insert fresh AA batteries into the battery chamber. Make sure you’re matching up the positive terminal on the battery with the positive terminal in the space provided.

  1. Invest in the Play and Charge Kit

With the Play and Charge Kit, you get a 9-foot charging cable and a separate battery that can be charged via USB –  either while you’re playing, or at any other time –  allowing you to dispense with batteries altogether.

  1. Keep the controller permanently plugged in to a power supply

If you’re not fussed about using your Xbox One controller wirelessly, you can connect it to a Micro-B USB cable, and connect the other end into the USB port in your console or to a USB adapter. Of course, if you haven’t got batteries or the Play and Charge Kit to fall back on,  you won’t be able to disconnect the controller from the cable, and it’ll lose the ability to work entirely.

Can I use a keyboard and mouse on Xbox One?

The official answer is no.

The unofficial answer is a little more complicated. If you’re comfortable picking up unsupported third-party accessories, you can use something like the “XIM Apex”, which will give your Xbox an ability to “talk” to your keyboard and mouse. You will need both the XIM Apex dongle (a physical item you’ll need to buy) and the accompanying app to get this set up.  

What is the Xbox One Elite controller?

The Xbox One Elite controller has been designed with pro gamers in mind. While more expensive than the base controller, it has a number of features that mark it out:

  1. Swap in and out different thumbsticks and D-pads for a playstyle that suits your needs.
  2. Additional paddles at the back give you more ways to play.
  3. The companion app allows you to decide what every button input means in-game, as well as change the sensitivity of the triggers.

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