How to fix Xbox Series X|S controller not connecting to console or PC

If you've been enjoying the new controller for the Xbox Series X|S, you may have found that it is your first choice controller, whether playing on your Xbox or your PC. But what happens if the controller won't connect? Is there anything you can do, other than cry, sink into despair and read a cereal packet until it magically fixes itself?

Luckily, we have answers to your connectivity-based issues. So dry those tears, and read this. You'll be back up and running in no time at all.

READ MORE: Do Xbox Series X Controllers Have Haptic Feedback?

Xbox Series X|S Controller

The biggest and most relevant upgrade to the Xbox controller is with something called Dynamic Latency Input.

This is based on proprietary wireless connectivity, which in theory helps to reduce the latency of the controller during gaming. This is critical for having the quickest, most precise responses to player inputs. So that's a major why you might be making this your controller of choice.

So what can you actually do when the controller refuses to connect to your Xbox or PC?

How to fix Xbox Series X controller not connecting to console

The good news is, that there are lots of options to try to remedy this problem:

  • The first step is to make sure your controller is actually paired to your Xbox. Do this by pressing the Pair button on both the console and the controller.
  • If this does not resolve things, restart your console. But also ensure that there is a clear path to your Xbox. While the controller has a range of 6-9 metres, the closer you are to the console, the better. Microsoft also recommends making sure the front of the Xbox faces the controller.
    • In addition to this, make sure you remove objects between your controller and your Xbox. This is particularly true for anything that might interfere with the signal - a microwave, a Wi-Fi router, a computer, for example.
    • Once you have removed objects and have a clear path to the console, hold down the Xbox button on the front of the console for ten seconds, until the console shuts down. Then restart it.
  • Your next option is to check the batteries on the controller. Your battery level should be displayed in the top corner of the Home Screen. If you can't see a battery indicator, try swapping the batteries.
  • There is also the option of connecting to your console via USB. This takes the wireless connection out of the equation. If it doesn't work when connected via USB, your controller likely needs replaced. If it does work with a wire, but won't work wirelessly, you may need to update your controller. To do this:
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  • Press the Xbox button to open the guide.
  • Under Profile & system, select Settings.
  • Under Devices & connections, select Accessories.
  • On the Xbox Wireless Controller screen, select “” to check the firmware version for your controller. If an update is needed, follow the steps on screen.
  • You can then disconnect the cable and try reconnecting wirelessly.

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How to fix Xbox Series X controller not connecting to PC

With Windows, it's really important to establish which version you are using, as this will impact how you resolve the problem. To do this, type PC info into your Search bar, then look under Windows specifications to see the current edition of Windows you’re running.

If you are using a Windows 8.1 or 7 PC, when you connect to your PC using a USB cable, Windows will automatically download the relevant drivers for the controller to work. On Windows 10, you connect using USB, Xbox Wireless, or Bluetooth. Microsoft has a detailed explainer for each of these methods here.

If you have followed the instructions on connecting to your PC, but you are still getting no joy from your controller, then it may be that the controller needs replacing. You can check that it is still under warranty on Microsoft's website here.

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