How to Connect a Wired and Wireless PS4 Controller to Laptop. How to connect controller to laptop

As mentioned earlier, while connecting a PS4 controller to a laptop is a piece of cake, actually getting it running in games is a bit more complicated. Two options are available:

How to use PS4 controller on PC – 3 simple steps

Have you ever thought about using a PS4 controller on your Windows PC? You may be thinking that your controller was designed specifically for the Sony PlayStation 4 console, so it may not work on a Windows PC.

But the truth is, you can! And the setup process is very easy. You don’t need any advanced computer skills to achieve this. Just follow the three simple steps outlined below and you’ll be able to use your PS4 controller to play Windows games.

Step 1: Connect your PS4 Controller via USB or Bluetooth

To use the PS4 controller on your computer, the first step you need to take is to physically connect it to your computer. There are two ways to connect the controller to the computer.

Method 1: Connect your PS4 Controller via USB

The easiest way to connect the controller to a Windows computer is to use a micro-USB cable. There are benefits to doing this. Once connected to the controller and computer, you don’t need to configure anymore. And the cable is easy to find – all you need is a regular micro-USB cable, such as the one used in modern smartphones.

To use a micro-USB cable to connect the controller to a computer:

1) Plug the smaller end of the micro-USB cable into the port on the front of the controller (below the light bar).

2) Plug the larger end of the micro-USB cable into a USB port on your computer.

3) The cable connection has been terminated. You can go to the next step. (If you are using Windows 10, go directly to step 3).

Method 2: Connect your PS4 Controller via Bluetooth

You may not like cables. Cables are easy to knot. They tend to create confusion. And you may be wondering if you can plug it in without a cable.

Yes, you can connect the controller via Bluetooth.

If your computer has Bluetooth, you can pair your controller directly with your computer. But if not, you’ll need an external Bluetooth adapter to allow the computer to communicate with the controller.

There are two options you can try:

  1. The Sony DualShock 4 wireless USB adapter. This is the official PlayStation Bluetooth adapter that is completely compatible with the PS4 controller.
  2. Third-party USB Bluetooth adapter. We recommend using Kinivo BTD-400. It is a cheaper option but still able to recognize the PS4 controller.

To make sure the Bluetooth adapter is working properly, install the latest Bluetooth adapter driver on your computer. If you don’t know how to do it manually, you can do it automatically with Driver Easy.

Driver Easy will automatically recognize your system and find the appropriate drivers for it. You don’t need to know exactly what system is running on your computer, you don’t have to risk downloading and installing the wrong driver, and you don’t have to worry about making a mistake during installation.

You can download and install drivers by using the free or professional version of Driver Easy. But in the Pro version, it only takes 2 clicks (and you’ll get full support and a 30-day money-back guarantee):

1) Download and install the Easy driver.

2) Run Driver Easy and press the Scan Now button. Driver Easy will scan your computer and detect driver problems.

After you connect your Xbox controller to your computer using any of the methods above, you’ll need to pair the controller with your Xbox again the next time you want to use it there. To do this using the wired method, connect the controller to your Xbox console with a USB cable, and then press the Xbox button to pair.

How to Connect a PS4 Controller to Laptop – Wired and Wireless Methods

To connect the PS4 controller to a laptop, you’ll need a USB cable if the connection is to be wired, or Bluetooth on the laptop for a wireless connection. Alternatively, you can purchase a wireless USB adapter if your laptop doesn’t come with built-in Bluetooth.

Wired Method

  1. Just plug the USB cable into your PS4 controller and slide the other end into your laptop’s USB port
  2. That’s all. Your laptop will recognize the controller and install the drivers automatically.

Wireless Method (Windows)

  1. First, turn off your PS4 controller. Press and hold the PlayStation and Share buttons simultaneously for about 3 seconds until the light bar at the top of the controller starts flashing. This will put the controller into pairing mode.
  2. Open Bluetooth settings on your laptop.
  3. Select “Add Bluetooth or other device” then select “Bluetooth”.
  4. Your PS4 controller will appear as “Wireless Controller”. Choose it.
  5. If you are prompted for a pairing code, you can choose any easy-to-remember sequence of numbers and pairs.

Wireless Method (Mac)

  1. The first step to connecting a PS4 controller to a Mac is exactly the same as on Windows. Put the controller down and press the PS and Share buttons simultaneously until the light bar at the top of the controller starts flashing.
  2. Open System Preferences, then Bluetooth.
  3. Select the wireless controller from the list of Bluetooth devices.
  4. Click Pair and the light will stop blinking.

As mentioned earlier, while connecting a PS4 controller to a laptop is a piece of cake, actually getting it running in games is a bit more complicated. Two options are available:

How to use your PS4 controller in Steam

Steam is a multiplayer PC game store and launcher. It boasts loads of free and paid titles covering a wide range of genres. Steam recently offered official support for DualShock 4, so you can now connect your PS4 controller to your laptop and enjoy your favorite games on Steam.

  1. Load Steam and make sure it’s updated.
  2. Open Big Picture Mode by clicking the controller-shaped icon in the upper right corner.
  3. In Settings, select the Controller Settings menu.
  4. Enable PlayStation configuration support.
  5. If your DualShock 4 controller is already connected, you are ready to go.

However, this method is not best for everyone. You may find that your favorite PC games aren’t on Steam, so this method won’t work for you.

2) Click Downloads. Then select your operating system and language. Then click on the file that appears below to download it.

Apple AirPods (2nd Generation)

Turn up
These are your standard AirPods – you control them with taps or summon Siri, and their H1 layout allows for fancy automatic device switching.

Turn on the controller with the Guide button, then press and hold the Sync button (top) until the Guide button flashes. In Windows, select Add Bluetooth or Other Device, then Bluetooth, then Xbox Wireless Controller. You can only connect one controller this way and headsets are not supported.

There is another connection option (it can be useful for older controllers that you want to connect wirelessly, which is to buy an Xbox Wireless Adapter (about $ 20). Once plugged into a spare USB port on your computer, you can press the Sync button on the Xbox controller and the Sync button on the adapter to establish a connection.

Then connect your PS4 DualShock 4 wireless controller to your Windows PC. As with the Xbox One controller, you can use a USB cable: it will work with Steam without any additional software if you right-click the Steam icon in the system tray and select Big Picture. Go to Settings, then Controller Settings, and make sure PS4 configuration support is turned on.

If you’re not playing a Steam game or want to use wireless connectivity, you’ll need an open source software called DS4Windows. After installing DS4Windows on your computer (just follow the on-screen instructions), it should recognize your PS4 DualShock 4 controller as soon as it’s plugged in (you may need to restart or restart the program the first time).

You can also connect via Bluetooth with DS4Windows installed. In Windows Settings, tap Devices and then Bluetooth & other devices, making sure the Bluetooth discovery switch is turned on. On the controller, press and hold the PS button and the share button until the controller light blinks – then you can go back to Windows and select Add Bluetooth or another device, then Bluetooth, then Wireless Controller to complete the task and display the controller in DS4Windows.

There’s one more option, but it’ll cost you: Sony’s official DualShock 4 Wireless USB Adapter, which will set you back around $ 60. Then you can connect wirelessly to your PC or Mac without DS4Windows and with slightly more reliability and stability which may or may not be worth the cost.

Finally, we have the Joy-Cons Nintendo Switch. In this case, it’s just about adding them as controllers via Bluetooth, in the process we’ve already covered above. In case you forgot, the sync button on the Joy-Con is located between the SL and SR buttons on the top of the gamepads.

In many cases, you’ll be ready to go. For additional configuration options or to use two Joy-Cones together as one controller, download and install the excellent open source tool vJoy and JoyCon-Driver, which enable smooth operation between the Joy-Con and the computer. Both come with instructions on getting up and running.

Connecting to macOS

For Mac, and this time we’ll start with the PS4 DualShock 4 Wireless Controller. Remember that official Sony adapter we mentioned earlier? Well, surprise, this is the easiest (and most expensive) way to run a PS4 controller on macOS, if you don’t mind spending $ 60.

If you don’t get an official adapter, you can choose either wired or wireless, no additional software needed. Connect the DualShock controller to your Mac using the microUSB cable and it should connect in a moment. To check this, open the Apple menu, select System Report, and then USB: There should be an entry for “Wireless Controller” (even if it is actually connected).

Bluetooth connections are almost as simple to set up. Open the Apple menu, then System Preferences, then Bluetooth – make sure Bluetooth is turned on, then put your PS4 controller into pairing mode by pressing the PS button and the share button simultaneously until the light on the controller starts flashing. On a Mac computer, click Connect to connect. That’s it, but keep in mind that not all games will support console controllers.

When it comes to connecting your Xbox One controller to a macOS computer, you’ll need a microUSB cable and additional software for that. Bluetooth is off because the Xbox One controller doesn’t use standard Bluetooth – it uses a proprietary wireless connection developed by Microsoft, which is good for Windows but not macOS.

If you’re happy to play with a wired connection, the setup process isn’t too difficult. You’ll need to download the Open Source 360Controller program – when you run it on macOS, if you open the Apple menu and select System Preferences, a new entry for the Xbox 360 Controller should appear (don’t worry, it covers Xbox One controllers just as well).

Plug in your Xbox One controller via USB, open the Xbox 360 Controllers tool, and you should be in business. You can configure and adjust various aspects of the controller setup, invert joysticks, change beat options, and so on.

And finally, there are the Joy-Con controllers that come with the Nintendo Switch. Just like on a PC, it’s relatively easy to connect to a Mac using the magic of Bluetooth. As before, open the Apple menu, then System Preferences, then select Bluetooth and make sure Bluetooth is turned on.

Press and hold the pairing button on the Joy-Con you want to connect to (between the SL and SR buttons), and “Joy-Con” should appear in the list of available Bluetooth devices. Click Connect to complete pairing and start using the Joy-Con controller to play games on macOS.

As of this writing, there is no way to pair the two left and right Joy-Con to use together which means you may be limited in the types of games you can play with the tiny Nintendo controllers. You can enhance the experience with a $ 57 Nintendo Switch Pro Controller that connects via Bluetooth as before.

As with a Windows PC, some trial and error may be required in order for games to work with these controllers or in order for them to run correctly and intuitively. Considering how relatively simple the setup is, make the connections worthwhile.

Press and hold the pairing button on the Joy-Con you want to connect to (between the SL and SR buttons), and “Joy-Con” should appear in the list of available Bluetooth devices. Click Connect to complete pairing and start using the Joy-Con controller to play games on macOS.

Connect Your Xbox Controller to PC With Bluetooth

Pairing an Xbox controller with your computer via Bluetooth is almost the same as pairing it with an Xbox One or Xbox Series console. Activate the controller by holding down the guide button, then hold down the pair button for three seconds until the guide button flashes. This means it is in pairing mode. If you’re connecting a controller to the console, hold down the pairing button on the system itself. If you’re connecting the controller to a Windows 10 PC, you’ll need to go through some menus. You also need a Bluetooth USB dongle if your computer doesn’t have Bluetooth. Here is the full step-by-step process:

Hold down the Guide button to turn on the controller.

Hold down the pairing button for three seconds until the guide button blinks.

Right-click the Bluetooth icon in the system tray.

Click “Add a Bluetooth Device.”

Click “Add Bluetooth or other device” and select Bluetooth.

Click “Xbox Wireless Controller”. Wait for the Guide button to turn white and the Bluetooth menu to indicate that the controller is connected.

You can now use the Xbox Wireless Gamepad on your PC and play the vast majority of modern controller-compatible games. However, you cannot use the headphone jack on the gamepad, and neither can Sony’s DualShock 4 and DualSense controllers. While you can use a wired gaming headset with the controller and an associated gaming system, audio does not flow through the jack when it’s connected to your computer via Bluetooth.

John keeps track of everything that happens in the tech industry, from the latest gadgets to some famous moves in the industry. He gives opinions and writes about the biggest names in the industry. John is also a freelance writer so from time to time he shares articles about freelancers via email: [email protected]

How to Connect a PS4 Controller to a PC/Laptop

Connecting a PS4 controller to a computer is fairly simple and easy.

Connecting a PS4 controller to a computer is fairly simple and easy.

Imagine this scenario:

You just woke up and decided to play games on your computer for the rest of the day. Suddenly a thought pops up and you start asking yourself, “How different would my gaming experience be if I used the controller in PC games instead of the usual keyboard and mouse combo?” And then you remember, “I also don’t have a plug-and-play PC controller or an Xbox controller! I just have a PS4 controller over here somewhere.”

This is where the problem arises. The PS4 controller does not work as a plug-and-play device for PCs. Unfortunately, it is not that simple.

But wait, don’t worry!

It is still possible to use a PS4 controller on your computer.

For now, the only way to do what you want is to use specific software that can be easily found on the Internet. As described below, this comprehensive guide will teach you how to use the PS4 controller on your PC / laptop. After all, the PS4 controller has controls that are very similar to the various controllers that are compatible with the Windows operating system. This is a comprehensive step-by-step guide, so just follow each step carefully and you’ll be able to enjoy playing PC games with your PS4 controller in no time.

What You Will Need:

  • PS4 controller
  • Desktop or laptop computer
  • Micro USB cable (PS4 controller charging cable)
  • DS4Windows software

Using a PS4 controller on a PC is unfortunately not as simple as plugging it in and expecting it to work automatically. You have to install the software first before you can play at will.

The software you need to download is called DS4Windows. It works by allowing your computer to recognize the PS4 controller as an Xbox 360 controller that is supported on Windows.

The software can be downloaded for free from the DS4Windows website.

In the form of a bullet:


DS4Windows by Jays2Kings

Your Xbox Wireless Gamepad may have the name Xbox in its name, but you’re not limited to pairing it with your console only. The controller also pairs with Windows 10, so you can use it wirelessly with any compatible PC game. Here’s what you need to do to get started using the Xbox gamepad with your computer.

GameCube Controllers

You’ll need an adapter, of course, but Windows and Mac should be HID supported by default. However, support may vary depending on the adapter purchased. You can get the official one, but the Mayflash adapter seems to work well for half the price. This adapter has a switch so you can use it on both your computer and console, which will turn it into an HID device and not just a proprietary console. Dolphin can communicate with it directly, however, and will support Wii U mode which can fix some bugs with additional ports.

Note that the macOS implementation of HID replaces Dolphin’s direct communication with the device, so it does not support plugging in multiple controllers. There is a workaround, but it may not work with all adapters. This includes disabling SIP, though admittedly only for kext extensions which is a bit more secure.

Guitar Hero Controllers

guitar hero controller

This one is a bit weird as Guitar Hero has a lot of different console builds, but there’s still a thriving PC community with CloneHero. Most should work with the adapter, so it’s best to consult their wiki for instructions.

1) Press and hold the share button and the PS button on the controller until the light bar on the controller starts flashing.

How to Reconnect Your Xbox Controller to Your Console

When using the Xbox controller wirelessly, you can turn it off by holding down the Xbox button on it for about five seconds. When the light goes out, the controller is turned off.

Note that if your Xbox controller is already paired with your console, pressing the Xbox button will turn on the system. You should still be able to pair it wirelessly using one of the methods above, but you’ll likely want to turn off the console after doing so (or turn it off and unplug it before you begin).

After you connect your Xbox controller to your computer using any of the methods above, you’ll need to pair the controller with your Xbox again the next time you want to use it there. To do this using the wired method, connect the controller to your Xbox console with a USB cable, and then press the Xbox button to pair.

To pair the controller wirelessly, press the pairing button on the system. It is located on the left side of the disc tray on the original Xbox One console and in the lower right corner of the front panel under the power button on the Xbox One S and Xbox One X. On the Xbox Series S | X, there is a port next to the USB port on the front of the system.

After pressing this button, turn on the controller by pressing the Xbox button, then hold the pair button at the top to pair it.

If you have an Xbox Series S | X controller, there’s a convenient shortcut to toggle between paired devices. Once you’re connected to your Bluetooth device, double-press the pair button on the top of your controller to instantly switch to your last Xbox wireless connection (usually your console). Then press the pairing button twice to reconnect to the Bluetooth device you are using.

Connect an Xbox Controller to Your PC Easily

You have many options for connecting an Xbox One or Xbox Series S | X controller to your computer. Whether you want to connect with a USB cable for the simplest option or prefer to connect wirelessly via Bluetooth, now you understand the methods available.

Meanwhile, a Windows PC isn’t the only device you can connect an Xbox controller to.

Tired of tactile controls for mobile games? Learn how to connect any game controller (PS4, PS5, Xbox etc.) to your Android device.

Ben is the editor-in-chief of MakeUseOf. He quit his job in IT to write full-time in 2016 and has never looked back. Has been involved in tech tutorials, video game recommendations, and more for over seven years.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Join our newsletter for tech tips, reviews, free eBooks and exclusive offers!

Rate article