xbox controller and steam deck Guides

How to connect an Xbox controller to a Steam Deck


Connecting your Xbox controller to the Steam Deck can significantly improve your gaming experience, particularly if your system is hooked up to a TV or monitor using a dock.

Quick Steps for Xbox Controller Pairing

  1. Press the Steam Button
    • On your Steam Deck, initiate the process by pressing the Steam button.
  2. Navigate to Bluetooth Settings
    • Go to Settings > Bluetooth on your Steam Deck.
  3. Activate Bluetooth
    • Ensure the Bluetooth toggle is activated for seamless connectivity.
  4. Xbox Controller Activation
    • On your Xbox controller, press the Xbox button to initiate the pairing process.
  5. Hold Pair Button
    • Hold down the pair button on the back of the Xbox controller until the Xbox button starts flashing.
  6. Select Xbox Wireless Controller
    • On your Steam Deck, choose Xbox Wireless Controller from the Bluetooth menu.

Detailed Pairing Instructions

Assuming you’re using a wireless Bluetooth model, controllers connected via USB should be automatically detected without the need for pairing. However, specific Xbox controllers are compatible, including those for the Xbox Series X or Series S and third-generation Xbox One controllers. For Xbox 360 controllers, you may need Microsoft’s Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Why Won’t My Xbox Controller Connect?
    • Repeat Pairing Process with Precision:
      • Reattempt the pairing process, paying careful attention to the timing of button presses. While it’s unlikely that an error occurred, this step ensures thorough execution.
    • Ensure Controller Unpairing from Other Devices:
      • Verify that the Xbox controller is not still paired with another console or PC, especially if you are repurposing it for the Steam Deck.
    • Monitor Battery Levels:
      • Check the battery levels of the controller. Insufficient power may hinder the pairing process.
    • Update Controller Firmware:
      • Download the Xbox Accessories app on an Xbox or a Windows PC and connect your controller via USB to initiate a firmware update. Utilize the in-app options to trigger the update process.
    • Reboot Your Steam Deck:
      • If issues persist, reboot your Steam Deck. Occasionally, devices may encounter glitches, and a reboot can resolve problems related to faulty caches and processes.
    • Disable Other Connected Bluetooth Devices:
      • Although the Steam Deck is designed to handle multiple pairings, interference may occur. Disable other connected Bluetooth devices to minimize potential disruptions.
  2. Connecting PS4 or PS5 Controllers
    • A guide on connecting PlayStation controllers to the Steam Deck.
  3. Linking a Switch Controller
    • Instructions for connecting a Switch controller to the Steam Deck, with specific details based on the model.