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Using an Xbox controller on Android devices



Asus ROG Phone 3 with Xbox Controller Citra Nintendo 3DS

Credit: C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Mobile gaming has come into its own in recent years and has become a unique gaming genre in its own right. The types of mobile games available vary wildly, from generic puzzle games loaded with ads to fun shooters based on classic game series. There are quite a few games you can play with a controller, which makes the experience so much better.

If you already have an Xbox controller, you can save money and not buy a separate controller for your mobile games. Here’s exactly how to use your Xbox controller on Android devices and improve your gaming experience.

Which Xbox controllers can you use with Android devices?

You can use two different Xbox controllers with your Android devices: Xbox One controllers and Xbox 360 controllers.

Xbox One controllers, especially the Bluetooth controllers, will be the easiest to use with your Android device. With Bluetooth controllers, all you have to do is pair your device with the controller and you’re good to go. Google has added Xbox One controller support to Android 9 Pie, so Bluetooth controllers work best; in a pinch, non-Bluetooth controllers will work too.

If you have an Xbox One controller without Bluetooth connectivity or an Xbox 360 controller, you can still use both with your Android devices; the process is just a little more complicated.

Checking out: Microsoft Xbox Cloud Gaming: Everything We Know So Far

Using an Xbox One controller on an Android device

To use an Xbox One controller with Bluetooth connectivity, you need the following:

  • An Android device with Bluetooth connectivity and Android 9 Pie or later
  • An Xbox One controller with Bluetooth

Follow these steps to pair your Xbox One controller with your Android device in no time:

  1. Make sure Bluetooth is turned on and open the settings. You can do this in several ways. The easiest way is to swipe down to see your quick access menu items; you can press and hold the bluetooth button to access your bluetooth settings. Or you can also go to your phone settings and find the Bluetooth settings that way.
  2. Press the Xbox button on your controller to make sure it is turned on; then press and hold the sync button on the controller (top left) until the Xbox button starts flashing. Once the light starts blinking, it means the controller is in Bluetooth pairing mode. It is now ready to connect to your Android device.
  3. Go back to the Bluetooth settings on your Android device and pair the Xbox One controller with your device. You should see the Xbox One controller appear in the list of nearby devices ready to pair. If it does not appear in this list, press “Scan” to search for the controller. When the device is in pairing mode, the Xbox button flashes; once it stops flashing, it is paired.
  4. Depending on the phone or tablet you have, you should be able to see the controller working right away. Test it out using the directional pad and buttons to navigate your device’s system.
  5. Try your favorite game! Many games do not require any special configuration before they are ready to be played with a controller. Some games may require you to switch from touch screen input to controller input in that particular game’s settings.

Also read: All About Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: The Best Value In Gaming?

If you’re not sure if your Xbox One controller has Bluetooth capabilities, there’s an easy way to tell. Your controller has Bluetooth functionality if the area around your Xbox button is part of the same plastic as the rest of your controller. If the Xbox button is part of a separate piece (and color) of plastic, it has no Bluetooth capability.

Here’s an example of what a Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One controller looks like.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra GameCube emulation with Xbox controller in one hand

Using an Xbox 360 controller on an Android device

If you want to use an Xbox 360 controller or an Xbox One controller without Bluetooth, the process is a bit more complicated. Of course it can still be done. If you already have the controller, it may be cheaper to configure your current controller instead of purchasing a Bluetooth controller.

This is what you need to make it work:

  • A wired or wireless Xbox 360 or Xbox One controller
  • An OTG, or ‘on the go’, cable
  • An Android device that supports OTG cables
  • An Xbox 360 wireless receiver (when using a wireless Xbox 360 controller)

For wireless controllers, here are the necessary steps:

  1. Connect your OTG cable to your Android device; then connect the Xbox 360 controller’s wireless receiver to the OTG cable.
  2. Pair the controller as you normally would and start using it. Your Android device needs to power your wireless receiver so that you can pair it normally.

Related: Official Xbox Series X accessories include a battery for the external controller

For wired controllers, here are the necessary steps:

  1. Connect your OTG cable to your Android device.
  2. Connect your Xbox controller to the open USB port of the OTG cable.
  3. Use it with your favorite games!

The selection of games that support wireless controllers generally seems to be less than those that support wired controllers. And if you’re using Xbox 360 controllers, most games don’t have button mapping options; this means you’re stuck with the default button layout for that game.

Which Xbox controller should I use with my Android device?

You can easily use any Xbox controller with your Android device. But if you can get your hands on an Xbox One controller with Bluetooth connectivity, this is the best option; it is simple and fast to connect your Xbox One controller to your Android device. In addition, the controller has support in Android 9 Pie systems and above.

Read more: The best Bluetooth game controllers for Android, PC and more!


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