How to Sync Your Xbox Controller with Your Xbox One, One S, One X or Windows PC

sync xbox one controller
Before you can use an Xbox One controller wirelessly, you need to sync it to your Xbox One or PC.

All three Xbox One models feature wireless controllers that can also be plugged in via USB. While there are two different main Xbox One controller designs, in addition to an Elite version, they're all compatible with all three types of Xbox One consoles. You can also sync a wireless Xbox One controller to a PC, but the best way to do it will depend on the version of Windows you have installed.

The basic steps involved in syncing an Xbox One controller are:

  1. Turn on your Xbox One.
  2. Turn on your controller
  3. Press the connect button on your Xbox.
  4. Press and hold the connect button on your Xbox One controller.
  5. Release the connect button on the controller when the Xbox button on the controller stops flashing.

For more in depth instructions on how to sync a wireless Xbox One controller to your Xbox One or PC, continue reading.

01
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Turn On Your Xbox One

Xbox One power button
Turn on your Xbox One to get the syncing process started.

Turn your Xbox One on by pressing the Xbox button on the front. The button is located on the right side of the front of the console regardless of whether you have an Xbox One, Xbox One S or Xbox One X.

When the console has turned on, the button will illuminate. You can let go of the button and go to the next step.

02
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Turn on Your Xbox One Controller

Xbox One controller power button
The Xbox One controller also has to be turned on before you and sync it.

Turn on your Xbox One controller by pressing on the Xbox button, which is located on the front of the controller, in the center, near the top. The button will illuminate when the controller is on.

If the button doesn't illuminate, make sure that you have batteries in the controller. If you don't have batteries, then proceed to step six for information about connecting an Xbox One controller via USB.

03
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Press the Connect Button on Your Xbox One

Xbox One, S and X connect buttons
The location of the connect button differs from one Xbox One model to the next. From the left to the right: Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X.

The connect button is what tells your Xbox One that you are trying to connect a controller. The specific location and appearance will depend on the type of Xbox One that you have.

Xbox One - The connect button is located around the corner from the slot where you insert games.

Xbox One S - The connect button is located on the front of the console, on the right side, below the power button.

Xbox One X - The connect button is located on the front of the console, on the right side, right next to the USB port.

Once you have located the connect button, press and release it.

Important: Make sure you have your Xbox One controller handy. After pressing the connect button on the Xbox One, you need to immediately proceed to the next step and complete it within 20 seconds.

04
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Press the Connect Button on Your Xbox One Controller

Xbox One controller connect button
The Xbox One controller connect button is located between the bumpers. Photo courtesy of Mack Male, via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The connect button on your Xbox One controller lets the Xbox One know that it is ready to connect. It is located on the top of the controller, on the same side as the triggers and USB port.

Once you have located the connect button on your controller, press and hold it. The Xbox button on your controller will flash, which means it's looking for a console to connect to.

If your Xbox One controller successfully connects to your console, the Xbox button will stop flashing and remain lit. You can let go of the connect button and then go back to step three and repeat the process for any additional controllers that you want to connect.

Important: You must press the connect button on the Xbox One controller within 20 seconds of pressing the connect button on the Xbox One console. If you don't, you will have to start the process over again.

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How to Sync an Xbox One Controller to a PC

Xbox One PC dongle and controller
Older Xbox One controllers require a dongle to sync to a PC.

The Xbox One controller is also a great way to play games on a PC. If you want to connect an Xbox One controller to your computer, the process will depend on how old the controller is.

Older Xbox One controllers require a special USB dongle. You can buy the dongle separately, and it also comes packaged with some Xbox One controllers.

To connect one of these controllers:

  1. Insert the USB dongle into a USB port on your computer.
  2. Turn on your Xbox One controller by pressing the Xbox button.
  3. Press and release the connect button on the dongle.
  4. Press and hold the connect button on your controller, and release it when the Xbox button stops flashing.

Newer Xbox One controllers can connect to a PC using the dongle or Bluetooth. To connect an Xbox One controller to your PC using Bluetooth:

  1. Make sure you are running Windows 10 Anniversary Update on your PC. If you aren't, then you can't connect your controller via Bluetooth.
    Note: Check out our guide to figuring out which version of Windows you have if you aren't sure.
  2. Turn on your Xbox One controller by pushing the Xbox button.
  3. Press the connect button on your controller for three seconds and then release it.
  4. On your computer, click Start > Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & other devices.
  5. Make sure that your computer has Bluetooth enabled.
  6. Click Xbox Wireless Controller > Pair.
06
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How to Connect an Xbox One Controller Via USB

Xbox One controller USB connection
Xbox One controllers can also be connected via USB.

You can also connect your Xbox One controller to an Xbox One console or a PC via USB, and it's an extremely easy two step process:

  1. Connect a micro USB cable to the port on the top of your controller. The port is next to the connect button.
  2. Plug the other end of the USB cable into your Xbox One or PC.