The high quality of many Android games and the growing library of cloud-based gaming services such as Stadia and GeForce Now mean you might feel the need to gain an edge over your online rivals or simply improve your overall experience. . Fortunately, tons of Android games support Bluetooth controller input, so here’s how to connect to your favorite gamepad.

Since the launch of Android 10, it is possible to natively connect a PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch controller if you want to use your existing controllers. Since then, we’ve seen Android 11 and Android 12 come to eligible devices. Microsoft and Sony also launched brand new consoles, and even Google also has Stadia, which also has a dedicated gamepad.

Although the new generation of consoles is still hard to buy, you can now connect PS5 DualSense and Xbox Series S and X controllers to your Android phone. You have plenty of choices for Bluetooth gamepads that will work with your smartphone, and this guide will take you step-by-step through the connection process.

Prior to Android 10, using a Bluetooth controller or a wired controller worked fine, but they were recognized as a “generic” controller. This meant incorrect game prompts or weird hotkeys. Since Android 10, the mobile OS can fully recognize specific gamepad button layouts across all three gamepads, giving you a much better and more consistent experience.

If you want to play cloud gaming services, including PS4 and PS5 Remote Play, Xbox Game Pass, Google Stadia, or Nvidia GeForce NOW, using an official gamepad will help ensure that all specific features to the platform are available on your favorite titles.

This native support also means that all of your existing Bluetooth gamepads should work with Google Stadia if you’d rather use something you’re more comfortable and familiar with. It’s also important to note that each gamepad offers its own unique gaming ergonomics, and you get some nice extras like the ability to use the touchpad on the DualShock 4 and 5, which offer mouse input on your phone or android tablet.

How to connect a controller to your smartphone

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Using a dedicated controller on your Android also means you get a lot more screen real estate for a tactical advantage in competitive multiplayer titles like Player Unknown: Battlegrounds, Call of Duty Mobile, Genshin Impact, and the always popular Fortnite. You can even play a whole bunch of classic games using a familiar controller layout using the number of emulators on your smartphone.

PS4 DualShock

  1. Turn on your PS4 DualShock 4 controller.
  2. Press and hold the “PS” and “Share” buttons to enter pairing mode.
  3. The light bar will flash white to confirm that pairing mode has been activated.
  4. Open your Android phone’s Bluetooth connection settings.
  5. Select “Pair New Device” > Wireless Controller.
  6. The light bar will now change to a solid blue color to indicate it is connected.

PS5 Dual Sense

How to connect a PS5 DualSense controller to your Android device
  1. Turn on your PS5 DualSense controller.
  2. Simultaneously press and hold the “PS” and “Create” buttons to enter pairing mode.
  3. The lights under the touchpad will now flash blue to confirm pairing mode has been activated.
  4. Open your Android phone’s Bluetooth connection settings.
  5. Select “Pair New Device” > Wireless Controller.
  6. The touchpad side lights will now change to a solid blue color to indicate it is connected.

Xbox One

  1. Turn on your Xbox One controller — Note: Original Xbox One controller may not work.
  2. Press and hold the Xbox and Bluetooth “Sync” button.
  3. The Xbox logo will flash to confirm that pairing mode has been activated.
  4. Open your Android phone’s Bluetooth connection settings.
  5. Select “Link a new device” > Xbox Wireless Controller.
  6. The Xbox logo will light up solid white to indicate it’s connected to your device.

Xbox Series S and X

How to connect an Xbox Series S or X controller to your Android device
  • Turn on your Xbox Series S/X controller.
  • Press and hold the Xbox and Bluetooth “Sync” button.
  • The Xbox logo will flash to confirm that pairing mode has been activated.
  • Open your Android phone’s Bluetooth connection settings.
  • Select “Link a new device” > Xbox Wireless Controller.
  • The Xbox logo will light up solid white to indicate it’s connected to your device.

Nintendo Switch Pro

How to Connect a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller to Your Android Device
  1. Turn on your Nintendo Switch Pro controller.
  2. Press and hold the Bluetooth “Sync” button.
  3. The “Reader LEDs” will flash to confirm that pairing mode has been activated.
  4. Open your Android phone’s Bluetooth connection settings.
  5. Select “Pair New Device” > Pro Controller.

Google Stadia

Pairing a Google Stadia controller with your Android phone is a bit different because you’re not connecting directly to the phone, but rather to the cloud gaming session. It should also be noted that this process is the same for pairing with iOS.

  1. Open the Stadia app on your Android device.
  2. Tap the controller icon in the top right menu.
  3. Enable location access and enable Bluetooth if prompted.
  4. Tap “Connect Controller”.
  5. Follow the setup process to connect your Stadia Controller to your Wi-Fi network.
  6. Enter the pairing code on the screen to connect to your session on the device.

How to Connect Generic Bluetooth Controllers to Your Android Phone

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You can use a host of other Bluetooth gamepads with Android that wouldn’t normally work with Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft consoles. This process is the same regardless of controller manufacturer:

  1. Turn on your gamepad.
  2. Find the Bluetooth “sync” button and press or hold depending on the controller.
  3. You may see a flashing LED or other indicator indicating that pairing mode has been activated.
  4. Open your Android phone’s Bluetooth connection settings.
  5. Select “Pair New Device” > Select Gamepad.

How to connect to your Android phone via USB cable

Some controllers such as the original PS3 DualShock gamepad have issues when trying to connect via Bluetooth. Unfortunately, you need a rooted device to pair the six-axis controllers, but as with all of the above, you can just connect via USB cable and play games on the go.

Simply plug in your controller, then the USB-C port on the bottom of your Android phone, and the system will recognize the input. It also works with a host of accessories and peripherals, including keyboards and mice.

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