You're all set to play your PS4™ when suddenly you discover your controller won't work. But what's wrong with it? Much like other PlayStation® issues that stop your game before it starts, such as overheating, software crashes, or controller drift, it's annoying when you can't figure out or solve the problem.
Common reasons your PS4 controller is not working
Not sure why your DualShock® 4 controller isn't working? Here are some possible causes, according to Asurion Experts:
- The controller's battery is dead.
- The controller was recently paired with another device, like a different PS4 or PC.
- The controller is too far from your PlayStation and is no longer connected via Bluetooth®.
- The Micro-USB cable that connects your controller to the console is faulty or disconnected.
- The controller turned off due to the PlayStation's Power Save settings.
- One or more buttons on the controller are malfunctioning or broken.
If you're dealing with one of these issues, here are the steps you should follow to solve it.
PS4 controller won't pair or connect
If your DualShock 4 is on but not responding, you can try to re-pair your controller with your console (this is known as a soft reset). To do this, you'll need a second, working DualShock 4 controller to work through these steps.
- On your PlayStation dashboard, go to Settings > Devices > Bluetooth Devices.
- Select your inactive DualShock 4 controller from the list. It will be the one without the green dot next to it.
- Press the Options button on your working controller, then select Forget Device. This will remove the inactive, malfunctioning controller from your PlayStation's system.
- Press the PS button on your working controller, then select Power > Turn off PS4.
- Once your console is completely turned off, connect the malfunctioning controller to your PS4 with a USB cable, then turn the console back on.
- Press the PS button on your malfunctioning controller, and log on to your PS4.
PS4 controller is connected but not working
If the system is recognizing the controller but it's still not working, you may need a software update. Try this:
- Go to Settings > System Software Update.
- Select Update Now, then choose Next in the update acceptance screens.
- Choose Accept to start the update.
PS4 controller buttons aren't working
Check the buttons to see if anything is sticky, loose, or cracked. If a button is broken, you've likely found your issue. If the button just needs to be cleaned, try using a cotton swab or microfiber cloth dipped in a liquid formula specifically made for electronics (you can also use a small amount of rubbing alcohol) to gently wipe on and around the button. Never use harsh liquid cleaners or pour liquid directly on your controller.
PS4 touch pad isn't working
If the touch pad isn't working, try disconnecting and unpairing the controller for a few minutes. If this works, you're back in play.
If not, the touch pad may need a quick cleanup.
- First, turn off your controller by pressing and holding the PS button for about 10 seconds.
- Use a microfiber cloth (you can dampen it with rubbing alcohol) to wipe down the touch pad.
- When the controller is completely dry, turn it back on.
If your controller's touch pad stops working only during one particular game, it may be a game coding problem, so download the most recent version of the game.
PS4 controller battery won't hold a charge
Your DualShock 4 should give you up to 8 hours of playing time, but if it's running out of power more quickly, try connecting your controller to the console with its Micro-USB cable and giving it time to charge. Also make sure to turn it off when it's not in use to preserve the battery.
How to turn off and charge the controller
From the controller: Press and hold the PS button for about 10 seconds to turn off your controller.
From the PlayStation dashboard:
- Press and hold the PS button for 2 seconds until you see the Quick Menu.
- Select Sound/Devices > Turn off Device, then choose your controller from the list.
- You can also set a time limit in the Quick Menu for your controller to automatically turn off. Just select Set Time Until Controllers Turn Off and choose an option: After 10 Minutes, After 30 Minutes, or After 60 Minutes.
If you're still having issues, you may need to replace your battery. NOTE: Doing this yourself will void the warranty.
General tips for fixing your PS4 controller
If nothing has worked to get your controller up and running, try these easy fixes.
Try using the controller with the USB cable connected
If you've been using your DualShock 4 controller wirelessly, try connecting it to your console with a USB cable. If that doesn't work, try using a different USB cable: the first cable could be faulty.
Restart your PS4
Often a quick restart of your console will help to solve your issue. Here's how:
- Press and hold the power button on the console for 3–7 seconds.
- When the console is off, press and hold the power button again.
- When you hear two beeps, release it.
- Connect the controller with a USB cable.
- Press the PS button on the controller to turn it on.
Hard reset your controller
If your controller still won't sync to your PlayStation 4, try running a hard reset on your DualShock 4. This will revert your controller to its factory default settings, but don't worry—you won't lose your saved game data. Here's what you'll need for the reset:
- An unfolded paper clip or straight pin
- A Micro-USB cable
Next, follow these easy steps to reset your PS4 controller:
- Turn off your PlayStation 4. You may also want to disconnect it from the internet, which can sometimes interfere with your controller's setup.
- Unplug the controller, and flip it over.
- While it is upside down, locate the recessed reset button in the small hole near the controller's L2 button, and use your paper clip or pin to press and hold it for at least 6 seconds.
- Release the reset button and wait a few more seconds. Then plug in the controller using the Micro-USB cable.
- Press the PS button. When the light bar on the controller turns blue, it should be paired, and you can log on to your PS4.
Test the controller on a different device
To quickly isolate a problem with your PS4 controller, connect it to another device, like your PC. Or try connecting it to a friend's device.
If it doesn't work, you'll know the problem is with your controller. If your controller works on a different device, you may be having trouble with the wireless connectivity on your PlayStation.