The Xbox One controller is good. Some would even say it’s the best, but a breakdown of the ergonomic differences between it and the PS4 controller are for another day. Today, we’re going to show you how to connect your Xbox One controller to Android, which will allow you to play all your favorite mobile games as they should be played – with analog sticks, rumble and proper face buttons.
Do You Have the Right Xbox One Controller?
Before we begin, you need to confirm whether your Xbox One controller is the newer model. Older Xbox One controllers use RF wireless technology to communicate with devices, while newer Xbox One controllers use Bluetooth, which means they’ll be able to connect via Bluetooth to your Android phone.
So how do you check this? Simple. The newer-style controllers look a little different, with a unibody face that doesn’t have a separate area of plastic around the Xbox button (see image below).
Pretty much any new Xbox One controller you buy today should have Bluetooth functionality. If you have the old RF controller, you can still connect your Xbox One controller to your phone via a micro USB to USB adapter.
Connect XBO Controller to Android via Bluetooth
If you do have the right controller, then congratulations, because connecting it wirelessly to your Android phone should be a cinch.
1. On your phone, go to your Bluetooth settings, either by pulling down the Quick Menu from the top of your screen and holding the “Bluetooth” icon for a few seconds, or by going to “Settings -> Connected devices”.
2. Tap “Pair new device.” This will automatically switch on Bluetooth and start scanning for devices.
3. Next, hold the the Xbox button on the controller for about one second until it starts flashing, then hold the small black pairing button (between the bumper buttons) for about three seconds until the Xbox button starts flashing more rapidly. This means the controller’s Bluetooth is scanning for devices to connect to.
The pairing button on the XBO controller
Back on the phone’s Bluetooth pairing screen, “Xbox Wireless Controller” should appear as an option. Tap it and within seconds your phone should be paired with your controller.
Reconnect Xbox One Controller to Android
In the future, if you want to reconnect your Xbox One controller to your Android device, all you need to do is switch on the controller, switch on Bluetooth on your phone, and it should pair.
If it doesn’t, you may need to go your phone’s Bluetooth settings (or “Connected devices”), tap “Previously connected devices,” then select “Xbox One Controller” from the list there.
If you connect your Xbox One controller to another device in the meantime, you may need to go through the pairing process to connect it again.
Using Xbox One Controller on Android
Once the Xbox One controller is connected, you’ll see that you can actually use it to navigate your Android device. The controls are pretty basic:
Movement: D-pad and left analog
Select: A, Y
Back: B, Xbox buttons
Play Android Games Using Xbox One Controller
If you’re running an emulator for retro games, such as Retroarch for Android or one of the excellent Game Boy Advance emulators out there, it should pick up that you’re using a gamepad and auto-assign controls (which you can then tweak and customise within the emulator).
If you’re looking for Play Store games that use a controller, then it’s kind of annoying. As things stand, there’s no way to know if a game has controller support until you actually open a game to try it out (or check out our list of the best games with controller support). Luckily, a lot of Android games do already have controller support, and genres like racing games, platformers and shooters should let you play with your Xbox One gamepad.
1. Controller not working on Android 11
Some users have reported that certain accessibility settings can interfere with the controller’s functioning. Go to “Settings -> Accessibility” and switch off “Magnification” to see if that helps. That failing, try switching off each of the accessibility settings one by one to see if any of them are the culprit.
2. Controller not mapping properly
If certain buttons aren’t working once you’ve connected your Xbox One controller to Android, then you should try updating the Xbox One controller firmware. You can do this by plugging your controller into your PC and downloading the Xbox Accessories app.
In the Xbox Accessories app, click the three-dot menu icon under the controller, then look in the top left corner to see if it needs a firmware update. If it does, just click the button and let the download happen. You may need to re-pair the controller with your Android phone after this.
3. Controller not working
If your Xbox One controller isn’t working with your Android phone, you can try the classic trick of getting your phone to forget the controller, before re-pairing it.
To unpair your paired controller. go to “Settings -> Connected devices -> See all”.
Tap the cog icon next to your Xbox Wireless Controller then tap “Forget”. Once that’s done, re-pair the controller as per our instructions earlier in this guide.
That should get you up and running with an Xbox One controller on Android, with the main caveat being whether you have the new or old model of the controller.