How to Fix It When a PS4 Controller Won't Connect to PS4

Reconnect your malfunctioning DualShock 4 controller fast

The DualShock 4 is a great controller that can be used both wirelessly and in a wired configuration, and it even works with a lot of devices other than your PlayStation 4. If you find that your PS4 controller won't connect to your PS4, then you may be dealing with a firmware problem, interference, a bad battery, or a number of other issues. To help you fix this problem, we'll start you off with the easiest solution and move on from there.

What Causes a PS4 Controller to Not Connect?

Sync issues represent the most common reason that PS4 controllers fail to connect. The controller may become desynced on its own, or someone may have synced it with a different console or device. In some cases, a firmware issue with the controller may even prevent it from syncing up correctly.

In addition to sync issues, you may have a USB cable or battery issue. You need a USB cable that's capable of both data and power transfer to perform the sync process, and problems with worn out cables and damaged USB ports can also prevent your controller from connecting.

Since PS4 controllers use Bluetooth to connect wirelessly, signal interference is also a problem that you may be dealing with. If there are a lot of wireless devices in close proximity to your PS4, that may prevent your controller from connecting.

How to Fix a PS4 Controller That Won’t Connect

To figure out why your controller isn't working correctly, and get it connected to your PS4 so you can start playing again, perform each of the following steps in order.

  1. Use a USB cable. Your goal is probably to play wirelessly, but the first step is to make sure that your controller actually works. If it does work when connected to the PS4 with a USB cable, then the controller itself is at least nominally functional, and you can proceed.

  2. Make sure the battery works. If the controller doesn't power on, then try charging it. If it still doesn't power on, even when plugged into the PS4, then suspect the battery. To replace a PS4 controller battery, you have to disassemble the controller.

  3. Check for a loose USB connection. With a USB cable plugged into your controller, gently prod the connector. If it feels loose, or it comes out easily, then there may be a problem with the socket or the cable connector. You can take care of the latter by simply trying a new cable, while fixing the USB port in a PS4 controller requires you to disassemble the controller.

    If your connection is loose, check for debris in the socket. You may be able to carefully remove the debris with canned air and a small toothpick or similar tool.

  4. Test your USB cable. Before moving on, you'll need to make sure that your USB cable is actually working. If your controller lights up when plugged in, that's a good hint that it's probably working. However, it may be providing power but not a data connection.

    To be sure that your USB cable is actually working, try it with a different device. See if it works with a different PS4 controller if you have one, or if you're able to use it to transfer data from a device like your phone to a computer. If the cable works for both data transfer and power, then it probably isn't the issue.

  5. Try a different USB cable. If you aren't able to test your USB cable, or the results were inconclusive, try connecting your controller to the PS4 using a different USB cable. If possible, use a high quality micro USB cable that you're sure works for both transferring data and providing power.

    If the cable works, you can proceed with trying to sync your controller.

  6. Sync your PS4 controller. If your PS4 controller is no longer synced to your console, then it won't connect. You or someone else may have synced it to a different console in the past, or it may have become desynced through some other means.

    If the controller doesn't sync right away, make sure to try both the wireless and wired methods of syncing.

  7. Disconnect your controller from other devices. Have you used your PS4 controller with a PC or Mac, connected it to your phone, or used it with any device other than your PS4 console? If it's still connected to the original device, that may prevent it from connecting to your PS4, especially if the other device is nearby and still trying to connect.

    If you have used your PS4 controller with anything other than your PS4, make sure to remove it from the other device's list of Bluetooth connections, turn off Bluetooth on the other device, or shut down the other device altogether.

  8. Remove sources of Bluetooth interference. If your controller turns on, but you aren't able to sync it using either the wired or wireless method, or if it quickly loses connection, then you may have too much interference between your PS4 and your controller.

    Try removing any nearby devices that use Bluetooth or otherwise create interference on the same 2.402 - 2.4835 GHz band that your controllers rely on. You may also want to try moving your controller closer to the console. If that allows it to work, then you're probably dealing with interference.

  9. Reset your PS4 controller. This procedure can take care of a lot of PS4 controller issues, including problems with connectivity. You should start with a soft reset if possible, which requires access to a second PS4 controller that is in good working order. If that doesn't work, or you don't have a second controller, then try a hard reset.

    After resetting your controller, try to pair it with your console to see if it has started working yet.