The Xbox One controller is good. Some would even say it’s the best. 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 favourite mobile games as they should be played.
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.
On your phone, go to your Bluetooth settings. (This may be called “Connected devices” in the Settings menu on more recent Android versions.)
Tap “Pair new device.” This will automatically switch on Bluetooth and start scanning for devices.
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.
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, it should pick up that you’re using a gamepad and auto-assign controls (which you can then usually tweak within the app).
If you’re looking to use the controller with Play Store games, then annoyingly you just have to discover this on a game-by-game basis as there is no indicator on the Play Store with regards to whether the game uses a controller. Open the game, and see if the controller works. (You may need to go to the game’s settings to enable it.)
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.