Why Your Xbox Series X|S Controller Isn't Working, And What You Can Do To Fix It

A faulty controller can quickly ruin your experience with any gaming console, but when the problem occurs with a newer systems like the Xbox Series X|S, it can take your frustration to a new level. Fortunately, many of the most common controller problems experienced by the Xbox Series X|S have plagued previous generations for years, so more often than not, it's usually a quick fix.

Like all electronics, you can broadly classify problems with your Xbox Series X|S controller into either a software or hardware category — and yes, sometimes both. If you're experiencing issues like a poor connection between your console and the controller, or error messages regarding outdated firmware, chances are the problem is related to software. However, you can usually attribute symptoms like unresponsive buttons and faulty triggers to hardware issues. While hardware issues can be the most tricky to deal with, in most circumstances, you should be able to solve your controller problem without purchasing a new controller or contacting a professional, according to Xbox.

How to reset your Xbox Series X|S controller

Many of the most common Series X|S controller problems can be solved by power cycling your peripheral, according to Xbox, so it's a great place to start before going down the list of other potential solutions.

  1. Hold the Xbox button anywhere from 10 to 15 seconds.
  2. Once the light goes out, wait for at least 30 seconds.
  3. Press the Xbox button again to restore power.

If a traditional power cycle doesn't work, you can also try to remove and re-insert the AA batteries if you don't have the Elite Controller 2. This is also an excellent time to see if your batteries are dead. You could also try putting the batteries from your console in another device, like a TV remote. If the other device doesn't work with the batteries, it might be time for a new set of AAs for your controller.

How to properly pair an Xbox Series X|S controller with your console

It's been quite some time since video game controllers included wires. While it can be unbelievably convenient to move around wirelessly, any problems might be because of a poor Bluetooth connection between your controller and the Xbox Series X|S. You know how frustrating it is if you've ever experienced a similar issue with Bluetooth headphones, speakers, or other devices.

Avoiding connection issues is why you must ensure that you have correctly paired your controller with your Xbox Series X|S.

  1. Hold the Pair button on the console while holding the controller's Pair button for 20 seconds, according to Xbox.
  2. Once the Xbox button stops flashing and remains lit, you'll know that you've correctly paired the controller.
  3. You can double-check that you've paired your controller by testing the button, trigger, and analog stick functionality.

You should note that you can only connect up to eight controllers to your console simultaneously.

How to update your Xbox Series X|S controller

The Xbox Series X|S controller is not the first controller to require updates. Many gaming controllers, including previous Xbox controllers, have needed firmware updates. Updating your Xbox controller's firmware can help you enjoy a better gaming experience by fixing bugs and adding new features for new games, according to Xbox.

  1. Double-check that your console is connected to the internet.
  2. Turn on the controller by holding the Xbox button in the center of the controller.
  3. Hold the Pair button on the controller until the controller's Xbox button starts flashing.
  4. On your Xbox Series X|S console, navigate to Devices & Accessories, select your controller, and choose Device info.
  5. You will see an option to update if an update is ready. Follow the prompts to start updating your controller, and it will restart itself after the update is complete.

The Xbox Series X|S can automatically update your controller's firmware when new updates are available.

  1. Navigate to System > Settings > Devices & Accessories
  2. Select your controller and Device info.
  3. Under Device updates, toggle On to Keep my devices up to date.

According to Xbox, you must also keep your headset connected to your console to ensure it updates appropriately.