Is your Xbox One controller not working or maybe you’re having trouble with an Xbox Series X|S controller? This is an annoying problem faced by many Xbox owners. While today’s wireless controllers are more convenient than older wired systems, they come with their own set of problems.
In this troubleshooting guide, we’ll show you how to fix your Xbox One controller when it keeps flickering or won’t connect, sync, or even turn on properly. In the end, you will play again. And while we’re focused on Xbox One here, most of these tips apply to Xbox Series X and Series S as well, since the controllers and system interfaces are nearly identical.
1. If your Xbox controller won’t connect
If you can’t get your Xbox One controller to connect to your console, you need to check some common problems first.
Do you have eight controllers already connected to your console? While you probably won’t use that many, the maximum number of controllers Xbox supports is eight. After this point, you cannot connect any more controllers.
hold the xbox button in a controller and choose turn off controller in the resulting menu to disconnect one or more of them. Then try connecting the new controller again.
Also, remember that you can only pair one controller with one Xbox system at a time. If you go to a friend’s house and pair your controller with their Xbox, you’ll need to pair it with yours again. This also applies when you connect your Xbox controller to a PC and then try to use it on your console again.
See the “If your Xbox One controller is flickering” section below for more information on this.
2. If your Xbox One controller keeps disconnecting
What if your Xbox controller pairs but then keeps disconnecting? This can ruin a great gaming session and is extremely frustrating to deal with.
Remember that it is a normal battery saving feature of the Xbox One and Series X|S controller to disconnect if you do not use it for 15 minutes. This doesn’t usually happen when you’re gaming, but it can come into play if you’re using your Xbox One primarily as a media center.
You will have to move a lever or press a button from time to time. If not, you will need to reconnect the controller later by pressing the xbox button.
However, if you’re having a problem with your Xbox controller disconnecting, it’s probably happening much more frequently than every 15 minutes. If that is the case, you can try some troubleshooting steps.
It is important to confirm that your controller batteries are charged when experiencing this issue. Tap on the xbox button to return to the Start menu, then look for the battery icon in the upper right corner. If they are low, you should replace or charge the batteries as needed.
Frequent disconnections can also occur due to interference. The Xbox One controller has a wireless range of about 19 to 28 feet, according to Xbox Support. Try moving closer to your console if your controller doesn’t stay connected.
You should also remove any obstructions between the controller and the console, such as laptops, metal shelving, and the like. If your Xbox is inside an entertainment center, try moving it outside of the unit for a better connection.
3. If your Xbox One controller is flickering
If you press the button xbox button on your controller and it blinks or blinks, this usually indicates that your controller is not paired with a console. As mentioned above, this can happen when you pair the controller with another system and you are not in range of it. But it can also happen due to various technical issues.
Follow our guide showing how to sync an Xbox One controller to your console to reconnect yours.
If your controller doesn’t pair using the buttons, try using a USB cable to pair it. Simply plug the cable into a USB port on your console and plug the other end into your controller, then hold the xbox on the controller for a few seconds. This should pair your console and controller, allowing you to unplug the cable and use the controller normally.
If this doesn’t resolve the issue, you need to restart your console. Hold down the button xbox button (which is the power button) on the front of your system for 10 seconds to turn it off completely. Then press it again to turn it back on. After a power cycle of both console and controller, you should be able to pair them without flickering.
If your controller continues to flicker and turn off after this, your controller may have a hardware problem. Try another controller with your console and see if you have the same problem, or try your controller with a friend’s Xbox or another device like a PC.
Contact xbox support if you can’t get the controller to connect under any circumstances. In the meantime, note that you can hold down the xbox button on your controller for several seconds to turn it off. This can help conserve battery life if it keeps flashing during troubleshooting.
4. If your Xbox One controller won’t turn on
If your Xbox controller won’t turn on, don’t worry. This is another common problem, with solutions similar to the ones above.
When your Xbox One controller won’t turn on, first make sure the batteries are not dead. If the batteries are low, the controller will not turn on at all. Remove the back cover and replace the two AA batteries, then try again.
You can also buy the Xbox rechargeable battery kit to purchase rechargeable batteries. This kit comes with a USB-C cable, which is used by newer Series X|S controllers. For an Xbox One controller, you’ll need to plug in a micro-USB cable for charging instead.
If changing the batteries doesn’t work to restore power to your Xbox controller, try this:
- Power off your Xbox One completely by holding down the power button on the front of the system for 10 seconds.
- Disconnect the power cord from your console and leave it unplugged for a few minutes.
- Use a known good USB cable (try another if the first one doesn’t work) to connect your controller to the system.
- Plug your Xbox back in and turn it on using the system power button. Do not press anything on the controller until the Xbox starts up.
- Try pressing the xbox button in your controller at this point to see if it’s working.
General Xbox One Controller Connection Tips
We have covered specific Xbox controller issues above. However, if your Xbox controller still doesn’t work after going through them, here are some other general solutions to try.
Update Xbox Controller Firmware
Your Xbox One controller actually has its own firmware that gets updates sometimes. While you don’t receive these updates frequently, corrupted or outdated firmware could cause disconnection issues.
If your controller is functional, you can update it by tapping the button xbox button to open the Guide while your system is on. Go to Profile & system > Settings > Devices and connections > Accessories.
Select your controller, then choose the three-dot button and press firmware version to check for updates.
Remove connected Xbox accessories
Sometimes Xbox One accessories, attached to the controller or console, can cause connection issues.
If you have an external hard drive, keyboard, or similar peripheral connected to your Xbox, try disconnecting it, and then try connecting your controller again. Do the same for the stereo headset adapter on your controller, if you have it.
If you’re trying to sync your Xbox controller with a USB cable, make sure you’re using a high-quality cable. Damaged or low-quality cables may not work properly.
Try connecting another controller to your Xbox
Like most troubleshooting, you can help determine where the problem is by trying different devices. Try connecting a different controller (that you know works) to your Xbox system. Confirm that your batteries are also charged.
If that driver works fine, then the problem is the original driver. But if both of you are having problems, the problem probably lies with your console. You may need to contact Xbox Support in this case.
Restart your Xbox One
We mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: make sure to restart your console when troubleshooting the driver. By default, simply touching the power button on the front of the system only puts it into sleep mode, which is not a proper power cycle. Be sure to hold it down for at least 10 seconds for a complete shutdown.
If you have a driver that works, you can also go to Settings > General > Power mode and startup and choose complete shutdown. Sometimes a quick reboot is all you need when an Xbox One controller isn’t working.
Try connecting with a USB cable permanently
If you find your Xbox controller connection problems go away when using a USB cable, your best bet might be to use your controller as a wired device to avoid future problems. You can buy a long cord, like the MATEIN 15ft micro USB cableso you don’t have to worry about sitting away from your system.
This isn’t ideal, but it’s better than spending the money on another controller.
What if your Xbox One controller still doesn’t work?
If nothing else works, go to the Xbox device support page. Sign in with your Microsoft account, register your console if you haven’t already, and you can continue with the steps to replace your controller. If Microsoft doesn’t replace it, you’ll need to find a deal on a new driver instead.
Hopefully, one of these tips fixed your Xbox One controller issue. Whether your controller won’t connect, keeps flashing, or won’t turn on, one of these tips should get you back in the game.