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How to switch your Xbox Series X controller connection between your Xbox and a phone or PC

I’ve played a lot of games on my Xbox Series X for the past few months, and after the release of the iOS 14.5 beta, which added support for the Xbox Series X controller, I was eager to get my games from my console to my iPhone. However, I dreaded having to pair my controller with my phone – I thought it might be a hassle, and I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to sync my controller between the two devices.

Apparently syncing the controller with my iPhone is a smooth process. Better yet, it’s easy to switch the controller connection back and forth between my iPhone and my Xbox Series X.


7;s how to set everything up:

  • First, you need to pair your Xbox Series X controller with your phone or PC. Activate sync mode on your controller by pressing and holding the sync button on the back just above the USB-C port. After a few seconds, the Xbox logo on the controller will flash quickly.
  • Then on the device you are trying to sync the controller with, find the controller in the Bluetooth settings menu. Select the controller to pair it. (With iOS 14.5 beta, my Xbox Series X controller first appeared with the name “Accessory”, but when I tapped it, it auto-populated to “Xbox Wireless Controller” followed by a combination of letters and numbers.)

Press and hold the sync button on the back of your controller to pair it with your phone or PC.
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

  • Once the controller is connected to your new device, you can have fun playing games!
  • To use your controller with your Xbox Series X again, double-tap the sync button. The Xbox logo flashes slowly and then the controller should reconnect to your console.
  • Press and hold the sync button to switch the controller back to the other device. The Xbox logo should flash quickly for a few seconds and then it should connect to your device. Double-tap the sync button to switch it back to your console.

That is it! I’m really happy with how easy it is to switch between my console and my iPhone, and I suspect I’ll be playing even more Xbox games outside of my console than I originally imagined.

One thing you should know, this quick-swap functionality only works with the last mobile device or PC that the controller connected to, according to Microsoft’s Timo Wolf. So if you want to quickly switch between your Xbox Series X and another device, you’ll need to manually set up your controller with that new device first. And, says Wolf, this method apparently only works for hopping between your Xbox and another device via Bluetooth – you can’t switch between an Xbox and the Xbox wireless adapter.

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