Steam Deck emulator controls not working: how to fix emulator controls on Steam Deck

Man playing Stardew Valley on Steam Deck - steam deck emulator controls not working
Credit: Valve

Man playing Stardew Valley on Steam Deck - steam deck emulator controls not working
Credit: Valve

The Steam Deck is a hugely popular device, but what do you do if you find your Steam Deck emulator controls are not working? We've previously looked at what to do when your Steam Deck controller is not working. And we've also looked at Steam Deck emulation.

Now it's time to combine the two, and figure out what the heck you do if you are using an emulator, but can't get the controls to work properly.

How to fix emulator controls on Steam Deck

We'll warn you from the get go: there are many reasons why you might be struggling to get your emulator controls to work properly on your Steam Deck. As a result, we can't offer a single, definitive resolution to this issue. Work your way through the tips we are about to outline, and try any that apply to you.

If you're lucky, you'll find the one that fixes the issue for you. Here's what we suggest you try.

Check for updates

One of, if not the very first thing you should do, is to check for any updates. This may be a SteamOS update, or potentially an update related to whichever emulator you are using. Install any that are outstanding.

And it's worth checking to see if a recent update has taken place, as this may be part of the problem. If this applies to you, then go to the Controls option for your emulator, and see what controller has been selected. You may need to manually change this if it has defaulted to the wrong one.

Manually configure your Steam Deck emulator controls

This may seem obvious, but double-check that you have actually configured your controller in the first place. If you haven't correctly mapped the inputs, then this could be a reason why your emulator controls aren't working.

Are you using Beta software?

Some users have found that they were actually running their emulator using the Beta version of the Steam Client software. And Beta versions will often be less stable than, well, the Stable version.

Check to see if this applies to you. If you are using a Beta version, look for a Stable version, and try using that instead.

Try a different emulator

This may not apply to everyone, but if you aren't already using Emudeck, then you could try using this as an alternative to whichever emulator you are using.

Emudeck is very good at automatically configuring controls for you, which may negate this issue. Of course, if you're already using Emudeck, this probably isn't going to help.

If nothing seems to work

As we said earlier, there is no universal solution that is guaranteed to work in all cases. The solutions we've proffered are merely your best bet for finding a solution.

If, however, none of these is effective for you, then we'd suggest that you contact the creators of whichever emulator you are trying to use, to see if they can offer any pearls of wisdom.

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