How to Fix It When an Xbox One Controller Won't Recognize the Headset

Friends can't hear you on Xbox Live? Get your headset working

When your Xbox One controller is not recognizing your headset, it can manifest in several ways. You'll know there's a problem when other players can't hear you, and you can't hear other players. Other indications of a problem are a grayed out volume up option in the Xbox One settings, or you appear muted in the in-game chat.

These problems can occur when you first plug in an Xbox One headset, or when the headset is in use. However, you'll usually notice the issue when you attempt to start a voice chat.

Instructions in this article apply to all Xbox One models, including the Xbox One S and Xbox One X.

A child frustrated that an Xbox One controller won't recognize the headset.
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Causes of Xbox One Controllers Not Detecting Headsets

Contributing factors that can cause your Xbox One controller to not recognize your headset include problems with the controller hardware and firmware, physical defects in the headset, incorrect settings, and issues with the Xbox One console.

How to Fix Your Xbox One Controller to Recognize Your Headset

Attempt each fix below in order, checking to see if your headset works after each step:

Many of these solutions also apply to fixing Xbox One mic problems.

  1. Make sure the controller is connected to the Xbox One. If it isn't, fixing an Xbox One controller that won't connect may also fix the headset issue.

  2. Make sure the headset is firmly plugged into the controller. If the headset isn't plugged in all the way or isn't seated properly, it won't make a good enough connection, and the controller won't recognize it. Unplug it, then plug it back in.

  3. Make sure the headset isn't muted. The headset probably has a mute function that may make it seem like the headset isn't recognized by the controller. Look for a mute button on the left side of the connector that's plugged into the expansion port on the controller, or an in-line mute switch if you have a 3.5 mm chat headset.

  4. Increase the headset volume. If the headset audio is turned all the way down, you won't be able to hear anyone. Increase the audio using the buttons on the connector that's plugged into the controller's expansion port or the in-line volume wheel.

  5. Increase the console audio input. You can also adjust the volume settings on the Xbox One. Navigate to Settings > Device & accessories, select the controller, then adjust the audio settings.

    If the volume option is grayed out, that indicates a problem with either the headset or controller.

  6. Use the Xbox One Skype app to test the headset. This will confirm the problem is on your end, rather than a problem with Xbox party chat or your friends' hardware. To perform a test, sign in to Xbox Live, and then launch the Skype app. Select People > Skype Test Call > Voice Call, then speak into the mic when indicated and wait to see if your voice plays back. If you don't hear your voice, then the controller doesn't recognize the headset.

  7. Try a different controller. If you have more than one controller, sync another Xbox One controller and plug in the headset. If it works, then there's a problem with the first controller.

    If you don't have another controller to test, there are several ways to fix an Xbox One controller that won't turn on.

  8. Use a different headset. If you plug in a different headset and it works, then there's a problem with the original headset. Headsets don't have a software or firmware component, so the most likely failure is a broken wire or a bad mute switch.

    Before you buy a new mic, check the see if there's a manufacturer warranty, or try repairing the broken headset yourself.

  9. Clean the controller and headset. Unplug the headset and examine the device, cord, and plug for any signs of damage. If the cord is frayed or the plug is bent, the headset may need to be repaired. If it's dirty, clean it with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.

    With the headset unplugged, look in the headset connector on the Xbox One controller. If you see any debris, attempt to remove it with compressed air, or clean the port with a cotton swab dipped lightly in rubbing alcohol.

    Do not allow any liquid to drip inside the port or controller.

  10. Check your privacy and online safety settings. If your Xbox One privacy settings are too strict, you won't be able to chat. To check your settings, press the Xbox button on the controller, then navigate to Settings > Account > Privacy & online safety > View details & customize > Communicate with voice and text > Everybody.

    The Everybody setting allows you to communicate with both friends and strangers on Xbox Live. Select Friends Only to avoid talking to strangers.

    Child profiles can't access this setting. You may need to change the Xbox One parental controls before you can change your chat preferences.

  11. Update the controller firmware. At one point, Microsoft released a firmware update that prevented some headsets from working, so you may need to update the Xbox One controller.

  12. Install new batteries in the controller. Dead or low batteries can prevent an Xbox One headset from working properly. To rule out this problem, replace the batteries with brand new or freshly charged batteries.

  13. Assign the controller to your profile. If the controller has become disassociated with your Gamertag profile for some reason, you may need to assign the Xbox One controller to your Microsoft Account.

  14. Power cycle the console. If the controller still won't recognize the headset, power cycle the Xbox One and controllers. Press and hold the power button on the front of the console until the LED goes off, then wait for the controllers to power down. Alternatively, remove the batteries to shut the controllers off immediately. After a few minutes, turn on the Xbox One. You should see the bootup animation on your TV, which indicates the console was successfully power cycled.