How to Fix an Xbox One Controller

Introduction

The Xbox One Wireless Controller is the primary controller for the Microsoft Xbox One console. The controller maintains the overall layout found in the Xbox 360 controller, but with various tweaks to its design, such as a revised shape, redesigned analog sticks, shoulder buttons, and triggers, along with new vibrators within the triggers to allow for directional haptic feedback.

If your Xbox One wireless controller cannot connect to your console or frequently disconnects, follow these steps to attempt to resolve the issue.

Xbox On controller.

1 Check Common Issues

Keep in mind, your controller will turn itself off if you don't use it for 15 minutes.

There are a few things we want to check on before diving into other troubleshooting steps:

  • Your controller's batteries could be weak, or the Xbox One Rechargeable Battery Pack needs recharging (if your controller uses one).
    • If your controller's batteries are weak, you may experience certain features only working partially, such as controller vibration not working. This is done by design to help stretch the remaining battery life.
    • Your controller may have enough power to turn back on briefly when power is low, but it won't stay on for long.
  • Your controller could be out of range. The original Xbox One controllers were designed to operate within 19 feet of the console itself.
  • Another wireless device (things like laptops, microwaves, cordless phones, or a wireless router) could be interfering with the wireless controller's connection to the console.
  • Sometimes, metallic objects (like metal dividers, shelves, or the doors on an entertainment center) being between the console and the wireless controller can cause interference, which can create problems with the controller's ability to connect to the console.
  • Your console may have 8 wireless controllers connected already, and you're trying to connect an additional wireless controller. The Xbox One can only handle 8 controllers being connected at once.

? Did any of these basic checks resolve the issue?

  1. Yes
  2. No

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The Xbox One Wireless Controller is the primary controller for the Microsoft Xbox One console. The controller maintains the overall layout found in the Xbox 360 controller, but with various tweaks to its design, such as a revised shape, redesigned analog sticks, shoulder buttons, and triggers, along with new vibrators within the triggers to allow for directional haptic feedback.

If your Xbox One wireless controller cannot connect to your console or frequently disconnects, follow these steps to attempt to resolve the issue.

Xbox On controller.

Keep in mind, your controller will turn itself off if you don't use it for 15 minutes.

There are a few things we want to check on before diving into other troubleshooting steps:

  • Your controller's batteries could be weak, or the Xbox One Rechargeable Battery Pack needs recharging (if your controller uses one).
    • If your controller's batteries are weak, you may experience certain features only working partially, such as controller vibration not working. This is done by design to help stretch the remaining battery life.
    • Your controller may have enough power to turn back on briefly when power is low, but it won't stay on for long.
  • Your controller could be out of range. The original Xbox One controllers were designed to operate within 19 feet of the console itself.
  • Another wireless device (things like laptops, microwaves, cordless phones, or a wireless router) could be interfering with the wireless controller's connection to the console.
  • Sometimes, metallic objects (like metal dividers, shelves, or the doors on an entertainment center) being between the console and the wireless controller can cause interference, which can create problems with the controller's ability to connect to the console.
  • Your console may have 8 wireless controllers connected already, and you're trying to connect an additional wireless controller. The Xbox One can only handle 8 controllers being connected at once.

To make sure the controller is working as intended, replace the AA batteries or recharge the battery pack.

The Xbox One Wireless Controller works with standard AA alkaline (LR6) batteries, rechargeable AA alkaline (LR6) batteries or rechargeable battery pack included in the Xbox One Play & Charge Kit. Rechargeable AA batteries don’t charge in the controller. They have to be recharged by the method recommended by the manufacturer.

Replace AA batteries

  1. Install the AA batteries with their positive (+) and negative (–) end positions as shown in the controller's battery compartment.
    AA batteries being inserted into Xbox One controller.

Charge battery pack

  1. Connect the charge cable to the USB port on the front of the controller.
    Charge cable being plugged into Xbox One controller.
  2. Connect the other end of the charge cable to a USB port on the Xbox One.
    Charge cable being plugged into the Xbox One.
  3. If your Xbox One console is off, turn it on. The console must be turned on after the controller is connected or the battery won’t charge. However, you can then turn it off again if you want to.
    Power button on Xbox One console.
  4. The light on your charge cable glows amber to indicate the battery is charging. When the light changes to white, the battery pack is fully charged.

To perform a full reboot on your Xbox One:

  1. Turn off the Xbox One console by pressing the Xbox button Xbox icon. on the front of the console for about 10 seconds until it shuts down completely.
    Xbox console with Xbox button highlighted. Illustration.

  2. Unplug the console's power cable. Wait 10 seconds.

    Be sure to wait 10 seconds. This step resets the power supply.

  3. Plug the console power cable back in.
  4. Press the Xbox button Xbox icon. on your console to turn on the Xbox One.

The controller is obviously struggling to communicate with the Xbox. In this step, we're going to try and re-pair the controller with the console to make sure the two are paired properly.

  1. Press and release the connect button on the console.
    • The original Xbox One’s connect button is on its left side, close to the USB port.
      Xbox One original model's connect button.

    • The Xbox One S has it’s connect button on front of the console, in the bottom right corner.
      Xbox One S model's connect button.

  2. Press and hold the Controller‘s connect button located between the L and R buttons, just above the micro USB port.
    Xbox One controller connect button.

  3. Release the button after the controller's Xbox button Xbox icon. has flashed a few times.
  4. The Xbox button Xbox icon. on the controller will stop flashing and turn into a steady light once it’s connected.

Now, try your controller normally to see if things are functioning properly.

To attempt to see if the controller issue we are experiencing is only limited to wireless communication, we're going to try connecting the controller directly to the console with a USB cable.

  1. Using a Micro USB connector, connect the bigger end of the cable to the console.

    USB cable.

    • There are 2 USB ports on the rear of the console
    • The original Xbox One has an additional port on the side of the console.
      Xbox One Original's front USB port.

    • The Xbox One S has an additional port on the front-left hand side of the console.
      Xbox One S' front USB port.

  2. The smaller end of the micro USB cable plugs into the controller between the L and R buttons.
    Xbox controller USB port.

  3. Try to use it as you normally would.

Since the controller seems to function just fine when directly plugged into the console, let's make sure the controller doesn't need any software or firmware updates that might resolve our issue once it's unplugged.

To check for controller software/firmware updates:

  1. Connect to Xbox Live.
  2. Press the Xbox button Xbox icon. to open the guide.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Select Kinect & devices.
  5. Select Devices & accessories.
  6. Select your controller.
  7. If an update is available, you'll see an option to select Update. If no update is available, your controller is already up to date.
  8. If your controller does need an update, connect a USB cable to your controller and follow the on-screen instructions to complete it.
  9. You'll see an update progress screen.
  10. When the update is complete, unplug the USB cable.
  11. Press the Xbox button Xbox icon. on the wireless controller to turn it on.

Now test the controller by using it as you normally would. This will tell us if the update was able to resolve any of our wireless connectivity issues.

Since the controller is still having problems communicating wirelessly, we're going to ensure that there are no other devices connected to the Xbox that could be causing these issues.

Remove all USB devices connected to your console (anything USB connected - flash drives, other wired controllers, etc.) and then try to use your controller again normally.

You may need to power off and power back on your Xbox before testing your controller again.

In the case that you already have eight wireless controllers connected to your Xbox, try disconnecting some or all of them by holding down the Xbox button Xbox icon. on each controller and selecting Controller off to turn it off. Then, try connecting ONLY the problematic wireless controller again and re-test it by attempting to use it normally.

Since removing all other devices from the console resolved the issue you were experiencing with your controller, this means one of the devices that was removed was causing a problem. Re-add each device that was removed from your console during the last step one at a time and re-test your controller after each one has been reconnected. This should reveal the problematic device causing the wireless issue with your controller.

If you have another controller handy, you can try to reproduce these same disconnection issues with it. This may help you narrow down exactly what could be going wrong. Make sure that the controller you're testing with has fresh batteries and is connected to the console. Play for a period of time to thoroughly test the second controller.

  • If the second controller operates normally, your original controller might need to be replaced.
  • If both controllers exhibit frequent disconnects, your console might need to be serviced.
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