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What to do when Xbox controller won't stay on

How to fix Xbox controller that won't stay on Asurion

Imagine this: You're playing Xbox® with friends and the game is getting heated when suddenly your controller stops working. You try reconnecting it, but it can't find a signal or is randomly turning off and on. What do you do?

Don't worry, at Asurion our experts help millions of customers resolve issues like this every day—on all their favorite devices. Here's their step-by-step guide on how to fix an Xbox controller that won't stay on so you can get back to crushing it at Call of Duty®.

Why your Xbox controller keeps disconnecting or turning off

There are many reasons why your Xbox controller may be having syncing or power problems. Here are some of the most common reasons for controller disconnections:

  • The controller battery. Your controller needs new batteries or needs to charge.
  • Outdated firmware. Your controller is behind on a firmware update.
  • Controller positioning. Your controller is too far away from the gaming console.
  • Too many connected devices. There are too many controllers connected to your gaming console at once.

How to fix an Xbox controller that won't stay on or remain connected

Follow these steps to troubleshoot your Xbox wireless controller.Asurion Video

1. Turn your controller off and on

This step will clear out any mismatched signals or wireless connections.

  1. Press and hold the Xbox button for 5–10 seconds to turn your controller off.
  2. Wait a few seconds, then press the Xbox button to turn it back on.

2. Replace the batteries or recharge your controller

Some disconnection issues are power issues in disguise. Dead or dying batteries can cause your controller to stop connecting. Replace your weak batteries with new ones or connect your Xbox controller to its power cable.

  1. Tap the Xbox button on your controller. Navigate to the Home menu, then look for the battery icon in the top-right corner.
  2. If the batteries are low, remove the battery compartment from your controller and replace the two AA batteries. If it has a rechargeable battery pack, plug your controller into a power source and charge it until it's at full power.
  3. If you're using a wired controller, make sure it's connected securely to the USB port.

3. Use a USB cable to connect your controller to the console

This will help you determine if your controller has a hardware issue. Using a USB to micro-USB cable, connect your controller to your gaming console. If you own an Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, Xbox Series X™, or Xbox Series S™ controller, you'll need to use a USB-C cable.

If your controller works with a wired connection, continue to step four. If it doesn't, contact an Xbox controller repair pro to get it fixed.

4. Update the software in your controller

Still having trouble? The Xbox controller could be working with outdated controller firmware. Your controller uses a form of microchip software to communicate with your console. You'll need to periodically update it to make sure your device is working at its best.

How to complete a controller firmware update on your Xbox console:

  1. Keep your controller connected to your console with a USB cable. Make sure the cable is damage-free and firmly plugged in on both sides.
  2. Tap the Xbox button on your controller to open the Home menu.
  3. Go to Profile & system > Settings > Devices & connections > Accessories. Then select the controller you want to update.
  4. On the Xbox Wireless Controller screen, select “” to check the firmware version.
  5. If there's an update available, follow the on-screen instructions. If not, your controller is up to date.
  6. Let your controller sit for up to 5 minutes, as the update may take several minutes to complete.

How to update your firmware on a PC running Windows™ 10:

  1. Open the Xbox Accessories app on your PC (if you don't have it, download it here). Make sure your PC is running the latest version of Windows 10.
  2. Connect your controller to your PC using a USB cable or Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows.
  3. If an update is available, a message will appear that says Update Required. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the update. If you don't see that message, your controller is up to date.

5. Wirelessly reconnect to your console

If your controller is on but still not connecting to your console wirelessly, it's time to pair it to your Xbox or PC.

How to connect your wireless controller on an Xbox:

  1. Turn on your Xbox console.
  2. Press and hold the Xbox button on your controller to turn it on.
  3. Press and release the Pair button on your Xbox console (the location of this button will vary with different models).
  4. Quickly press and hold the Pair button on your controller. Wait until the Xbox button on your controller flashes a few times, indicating that it's searching. Once connected, the Xbox button will stay lit.

How to connect Xbox wireless controller on a PC running Windows 10:

  1. Turn on your PC and sign in. If you're using an Xbox Wireless Adapter, plug it into your PC.
  2. Press and hold the Xbox button on your controller to turn it on.
  3. Press and hold the Pair button on your controller. The Xbox button will flash several times, indicating that it's searching. (If you're using an Xbox Wireless Adapter, press and hold the Pair button on your adapter first, then press and hold the Pair button on your controller until the Xbox button stays lit. Only continue to step four if you using an adapter and your controller has built-in Bluetooth®).
  4. On your PC, click the Start button > Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & other devices. Then turn on Bluetooth.
  5. Click Add Bluetooth or other device > Bluetooth. Your PC will search for your controller.
  6. Select Xbox Wireless Controller or Xbox Elite Wireless Controller > Done.
  7. Once connected, the Xbox button on your controller will stay lit.

Xbox controller connection tips

Worried your Xbox controller will keep disconnecting? Try the following tips to avoid future issues:

  • Place your controller close to your console; most wireless Xbox controllers have a range of 19–28 feet.
  • Be mindful of wireless signals. Remove items like laptops, metal shelves, and cell phones from the area between your controller and your gaming system they can cause signal interference.
  • Limit the length of your gaming sessions. Give your controller ample time on standby while connected to the console. This helps keep your firmware up to date and your battery charged for when you need it next.
  • Break out the isopropyl alcohol and give your controller a deep clean, especially if your connection is wired. Debris in the USB ports can cause controller disconnection errors.
  • Keep the number of controllers connected to your console to a minimum. The maximum number of controllers you can connect to most consoles is eight.

If you've tried these steps and still need a little help, we're right around the corner. Schedule a repair at the nearest uBreakiFix® by Asurion store and our certified experts can get your device back up and running as soon as the same day.

*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

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