How to Fix It When Xbox Series X or S Controller Won't Recognize the Headset

Can’t hear your friends, or they can’t hear you? Get your headset working

When your Xbox Series X or S controller won’t recognize your headset, there are a few different ways that it can act up. If other players can’t hear you, and you can’t hear them either, that’s a good indicator that the headset is broken, or the controller isn’t recognizing it. You may also appear muted in chat and lack the ability to control chat volume.

These instructions pertain to both the Xbox Series X and S, as they use the same controller. If you are using an Xbox One controller with your Xbox Series X or S, you may need to refer to our instructions on fixing an Xbox One controller that won’t recognize the headset for some portions of the diagnostic process.

What Causes an Xbox Series X or S Controller Not to Recognize Headsets?

There are a few different issues that can cause this, including both hardware and firmware problems. There may be a problem with the controller firmware, the headset itself may be broken, or you may have incorrect communications settings that make it seem as if the controller isn’t recognizing the headset.

How to Fix Your Xbox Series X or S Controller to Recognize Your Headset

If it seems like your Xbox Series X or S controller isn’t recognizing your headset, try each of these possible fixes:

  1. Verify the connection of your controller. If you’ve been idle for a while, pick your controller up and make sure that it’s actually connected to your Xbox console. Did the USB cable come disconnected? Did the controller turn off, or is it synced to a different console or computer?

  2. Make sure the headset isn’t muted. Most headsets that are designed to plug into Xbox Series X/S controllers have a built-in mute function. Check the mute button or switch, and try operating it. If it isn’t muted, try muting and unmuting and then see if people can hear you.

    Your mic can also be muted by your Xbox Series S/X. Press the Guide button, select your party chat, and press Y to mute or unmute yourself.

  3. Increase the headset volume. In addition to a mute function, most Xbox Series X/S headsets have a volume control. Check to make sure it isn’t turned all the way down.

  4. Use a different app to test your headset. Doing this will confirm there is a problem with your hardware or software and not with party chat or your friends’ own setups. The easiest way is to open the Skype app and place a test call.

  5. Try a different controller. If you have a different controller, try syncing it up and plugging in your mic. Since Xbox One controllers are compatible with Xbox Series X and S consoles, you can use an old Xbox One controller for this step.

  6. Try a different headset. If you are able to plug a different headset into your controller and have it work just fine, your first headset is probably just broken. In most cases, you’ll find that there is a broken mute switch or failure in the wire.

    Most Xbox One headsets work with Xbox Series X/S controllers, but there are exceptions. If you aren't sure, check with the manufacturer of your headset.

  7. Check for debris in the headset jack. While the headset is unplugged, use a flashlight to look inside the headset jack for debris like food or dirt. If you see any foreign matter inside the jack, carefully remove it with a thin implement like a toothpick or tweezers, or use compressed air.

    Don't use a saturated cotton ball, and don't allow any liquid to drip inside the controller. If attempting to clean with a cotton ball, keep the controller positioned so that the headphone jack is pointing down.

  8. Check the headset plug for damage. With the headset still unplugged, take a close look at the headset plug. If the metal plug is dirty or rusty, that can prevent it from making a good connection. Try cleaning it with a cotton swab dipped lightly in rubbing alcohol.

  9. Check the headset, wire, and plug for damage. If you see any visible damage or wear to the wire, especially where it connects to the plug and the headset, that is probably causing your issue.

  10. Check your mic connection. It’s possible that you just have a bad connection between the mic and your controller. If you don’t see any issues with the jack or plug, try unplugging the headset and plugging it back in firmly, gripping it by the plug and not by the wire.

  11. Fix your privacy and online settings. If you have your Xbox Series X or S privacy settings too strict, it can prevent you from chatting. This option is only available for adult accounts, so if you have a child account you will need to ask for help from the owner of a connected adult account.

    Here’s how to fix your Xbox Series X or S privacy settings:

    1. Navigate to Profile & system > Settings > Account > Privacy & online safety.
    2. Select Xbox Safety.
    3. Select View details and customize.
    4. Select Communications & multiplayer.
    5. Choose who you want to be able to communicate with.
  12. Update your controller firmware. Your Xbox Series X or S controller has built-in software that controls how it works and interfaces with your Xbox. If the firmware is outdated or corrupt, your headset may not work.

    Here’s how to update your firmware:

    1. Navigate to Profile & system > Settings > Devices & connections > Accessories.
    2. Select the controller to update.
    3. Select the three dot menu.
    4. If a firmware update is available, install it.
  13. Assign the controller to your profile. If the controller isn’t assigned to your profile, you won’t be able to use it, and the connected headset, to chat. Make sure that the controller is associated with the right Gamertag profile and try again.

  14. Power cycle your Xbox Series X or S. As a last resort, there is a chance that power cycling your console will fix this type of connectivity issue. To accomplish this, press and hold the Power button on your Xbox Series X or S until the light goes off. Wait for the controllers to shut off, or remove the batteries to shut them off immediately. After a few minutes have passed, turn the console back on and check to see if your headset works.

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