When you buy a new PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/Series S console, you get an excellent game controller with it. They’re designed to perfectly complement their respective consoles, but both the PS5 DualSense Controller and the Xbox Wireless Controller can have a life beyond them.
If you want a controller to play games on your desktop or laptop, or you’re sick of touchscreen controls on your phone or tablet, then try using the best controller you already have. Before we dive into instructions on how to pair these controllers with your other devices, bear in mind that some controller features, like tension in the triggers and vibrations, may not work properly. You will also have to configure your controllers, and they won’t work with every game.
Updated November 2021: We’ve added instructions for pairing controllers with an iPhone or iPad, now that support was added.
Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-Year Subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.
How to Pair a PS5 Controller With Windows 10
The easiest way to use your PS5 DualSense Controller with a Windows 10 desktop or laptop is to plug it in with a cable. All you need is a spare USB-A port on your computer, and you can use the USB-C to USB-A cable that came with your PS5.
Still, a wireless connection is likely preferable, and you can use Bluetooth to establish one, provided your computer has a Bluetooth receiver. Not sure? Click the speech bubble icon in the bottom-right corner of the taskbar to open the Windows Action Center and look for Bluetooth. If your computer doesn’t have it, you can pick up a Bluetooth dongle like this TP-Link USB Bluetooth Adapter for around $10.