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Xbox Controller Not Connecting

Is your Xbox controller suddenly not working and won’t connect to your console? If so, you may be experiencing one of the following problems:

  • A red light on the controller doesn’t stop flashing.
  • Game menus and video game characters don’t respond when pressing any button.
  • A message appears on the TV saying, “Please reconnect the controller.”

If you encounter any of these problems, you may be experiencing Xbox controller connectivity issues, which can occur at any time, whether navigating through the menus or in the middle of a game (ouch!).

While this can be extremely frustrating, there are several ways to fix an Xbox controller not connecting correctly to your console. This guide shows you how to troubleshoot issues with your Xbox controller not connecting.

xbox controller


Why is My Xbox Controller Blinking and Not Connecting?

Blinking is a surefire sign of problems with your Xbox controller. It’s your controller’s way of signaling that something is wrong and that you must fix it immediately. If your Xbox controller is blinking but not connecting, it can be because of several reasons:

Needs a Power Cycle

An Xbox controller that is flashing but is not connecting could be caused by a simple error on the device. These errors can be fixed by rebooting the controller and completing a power cycle.

To do a power cycle:

  1. Press and hold the Xbox button in the middle of your controller for 5 – 10 seconds until the controller turns off.
  2. Allow the controller to remain off for a few seconds/minutes.
  3. Turn the controller back on by holding the Xbox button again.

xbox button

Needs a Hard Reset

In many cases, solving connectivity issues could be simply a matter of doing a hard reset on your console.

  1. Turn off your console.
  2. Unplug the power cord on your Xbox console.
  3. Wait a few minutes before plugging it in and turning it back on.
  4. Turn on your console and controller to complete the hard reset.

If your Xbox controller’s connectivity issues aren’t solved by power cycling or doing a hard reset, it may be caused by another issue. Let’s look at a few more possible causes and solutions.

xbox hard reset

Weak Batteries

Insufficient power to the controller could be why your Xbox controller is blinking but not connecting. One reason is an insufficient charge on your batteries, which limits the power they can supply to the controller. In effect, the signal of the controller becomes weak, too. 

To fix this issue, you will need to replace the batteries on the controller or plug it in and wait until it’s fully charged.

Note: when replacing your controller’s batteries, make sure you’re using alkaline AA batteries with the LR6 designation to get the best performance out of your controller. These types of batteries are rechargeable. However, they do not charge while installed, so you will need to take them out and charge them externally.

To change the batteries on your controller, follow these simple steps:

  1. Hold the controller upside down on your non-dominant hand.
  2. Using your other hand, press the battery cover along the direction of the arrow to remove it.
  3. After removing the cover, place the batteries inside the controller while taking note of the terminals. As a general rule of thumb, this means pushing in the battery’s flat surface first as you push down on the spring. Install the other battery in the opposite direction while following the same procedure.
  4. Slide the battery cover back into place.
  5. Press the Xbox button to check the battery’s strength on the upper right corner of the screen.

After replacing the batteries, test the controller to see if it’s still blinking or connecting to your console. If not, check the battery terminals for the following issues:

  • Batteries are installed properly
  • Battery contacts are bent
  • Misshapen contacts
  • Corroded terminals

Some of the issues above can be fixed manually. However, if your terminals are corroded, consider replacing your controller.

replacing batteries

Controller Unable to Establish a Connection

Another possible reason for an Xbox controller flashing but not connecting is that it could be experiencing issues that hinder it from establishing a connection with the console. It could be because the console is out of range of connectivity. In that case, you will need to move closer to the console.

If the blinking doesn’t stop even when you move closer to the console, other signals could interfere with the connection and block the syncing process. Check your gaming area for devices or appliances emitting competing signals, such as wireless routers and microwave ovens.

controller unable to establish a connection

Too Many Connected Devices

An Xbox console can only accommodate and pair up with up to eight controllers simultaneously. If you recently had a gaming party with your friends where they brought their own controllers, chances are all the pairing slots with your console have been filled up, creating connectivity issues for your own controller.

If more than eight controllers are paired up with your console, then you will need to free up space and make room before you can connect. 

You can accomplish this by unpairing any of the other controllers through the following steps:

  1. Look for the Sync button at the top of the controller.
  2. Hold down the Sync button until the Xbox button is flashing.
  3. Continue holding down the button until the controller vibrates two times.

The vibration in the controller is your signal that unpairing has been completed. To test this out, turn the controller back on and try pressing any of the buttons. Once the controller has been unpaired, you can try to re-establish a connection with your previous controller.

No Longer Paired

Did you recently bring your controller to a friend’s house and pair it with their console? If you did, an Xbox controller blinking but not connecting could mean it’s no longer paired to your own console, but re-syncing can fix this issue.

You can use two methods to re-sync your controller with your console. The first method involves establishing a hard-wired connection using a micro USB cable. This is a more secure and instant pairing method with your console and creates little to no pairing issues.

The second method is done wirelessly using the following steps:

  1. Press the Xbox button on the controller’s center to turn it on.
  2. Take note of the light on the Xbox button. If it stays lit after turning it on, no further action is necessary.
  3. If the light continues to blink or doesn’t stay lit, locate the Sync button near the top of the controller to sync with the console.
  4. On your Xbox console, press the Sync button near the right side of the front of the device, just above the USB port.
  5. At this point, you will have 20 seconds to press and hold the Sync button on your controller.
  6. The light on the Xbox button will continue to flash while searching for your console. After it’s done pairing, the light will stop blinking and will stay lit.

xbox controller sync button

Firmware Update Needed

If any of the fixes above hasn’t solved your connectivity issues, it could possibly be a firmware issue. Although Xbox controllers tend to receive regular updates every six months or so, some upgrades may have failed to install.

To upgrade your controller’s firmware, follow these instructions:

  1. Press and hold the Guide button on your controller.
  2. On your screen, read the instructions until you are prompted to press the A button.
  3. Choose Update Controller.
  4. The firmware update will then begin.
  5. Once the update finishes, select Next.
  6. The firmware update is now complete.

After the firmware update is complete, check if a connection has been established.

firmware update

Still Need Help? Solve Hardware Issues With Driver Support

In many cases, connectivity issues with your Xbox controller are nothing but software issues and can be resolved by implementing any of the fixes stated above. However, if these still don’t work, then there may be deeper issues that must be addressed, such as other problems with your software or possible issues with its hardware.

Often, hardware problems require subjecting it to repair or, in worse cases, replacement. These could be expensive, especially if your controller is no longer under warranty. But these are issues that need to be addressed as a last resort, especially if the underlying issue lies with its software. To accurately troubleshoot your controller’s issues, you need a reliable system that can scan for possible errors and diagnose underlying problems.

Driver Support can help. Our device and program optimization software diagnose any problem that might be causing errors with your Xbox controller not connecting, as well as other device issues. The program keeps track of missing updates as well as common problems causing the issue to ensure that your device is always working correctly.

With Driver Support, you will no longer be asking, “why is my Xbox controller blinking and not connecting?” Instead, Drivers Support offers solutions to underlying issues to help solve your device problems. Contact us to learn more about our services.