How to Reset a PS4 Controller

A soft reset corrects a variety of memory and software issues; a hard reset erases everything

What to Know

  • For a soft reset, use a working controller to go to Settings > Devices > Bluetooth Devices.
  • Highlight the controller you want to reset, press the Options button, then select Forget Device.
  • For a hard reset, use a straightened paperclip to press the button inside the small hole on the back of the controller for five seconds.

This article explains how to reset a PS4 controller. Instructions apply to the official DualShock 4 controller.

How to Reset Your PS4 Controller

A "soft reset" generally refers to turning a computer or device off and then on again, which flushes out memory and can correct many issues.

In doing a PS4 controller soft reset, we'll also reset the connection between the controller and the console. However, you can only do this if you have a second PS4 controller. If you don't have an extra controller, skip ahead to the directions on performing a hard reset.

Follow these steps to soft reset your PS4 controller:

  1. Log in with your second (working) controller and navigate to the Settings in the PS4's top menu. This is the option that looks like a suitcase.

    A screenshot of the PS4 home screen with the Settings option highlighted
  2. Choose Devices from the drop-down menu.

    A screenshot of PS4 settings with the Devices section highlighted
  3. Select Bluetooth Devices

    A screenshot of the PS4 Devices setting with the Bluetooth Devices option highlighted
  4. You should see your PS4 controller listed. Because you are using the working controller to navigate the menu, select the inactive one.

    The PS4 controller with a green dot is the active controller and the PS4 controller without the green dot is the inactive one. 

    A screenshot of the Bluetooth Devices screen on PS4 with an inactive controller highlighted
  5. Press the Options button on your controller, found to the right of the touchpad. This will bring up a new menu.

    A DualShock 4 controller with the Options button highlighted
  6. Select Forget Device.

    A screenshot of a controller menu in PS4 settings with the Forget Device option highlighted
  7. Now that we've forgotten the malfunctioning DualShock 4 controller, we want to power down the PS4. You can do this by holding down the PS4 button on your controller, navigating to Power in the menu and choosing Turn off PS4.

  8. Connect your misbehaving DualShock 4 controller to the PS4 using a USB cable.

  9. Turn on the PS4 and wait for it to boot up.

  10. Press the PlayStation button on the controller and login to the PS4. The PlayStation 4 controller should now be paired and you can test to see if it's still misbehaving.

How to Hard Reset a PS4 Controller

Person resetting a PlayStation 4 controller with a paperclip

Lifewire / Miguel Co

A hard reset is when a device is reverted back to its factory default settings, which is basically how it came out of the box. If a soft reset fails and you're still having troubles, this process can frequently resolve any problems.

Thankfully, this is easy to do with the DualShock 4 controller, but you'll need a paper clip or something similar to reset your PS4 controller.

Follow these steps to perform a hard reset on your controller:

  1. Power down the PS4.

  2. Turn over the DualShock 4 controller and locate the small hole near the left shoulder button. 

    A DualShock 4 controller with the reset hole highlighted
  3. Unfold one end of the paper clip and insert it to push the button buried inside the hole.

  4. Hold down this button for about 5 seconds.

  5. Connect the controller to the PS4 using a USB cable.

  6. Turn on the PS4 and wait for it to boot up.

  7. Press the PlayStation button on the controller to log into the PS4. The light bar should turn blue indicating the DualShock 4 has paired with the console.

These instructions may not work for a modded PS4 controller. If you have trouble following the directions, consult the manufacturer of your controller.

Still Having Problems With Your PS4 Controller?

If you are still having problems with your controller, try restarting your router or modem. Remember, you'll lose Internet access, so warn anyone in the house before doing this step.  

If you were unable to sync your PS4 controller, run through the steps for doing a hard reset with the router or modem turned off. If you did pair your device but it is still erratic, try using it with the router and modem off. If that works, you need to change the Wi-Fi channel on your router.

  • How do you sync a PS4 controller?

    To sync a PS4 controller, start by plugging it into the console. Turn on the PS4 and press the controller’s PS button. You can then wirelessly add additional controllers using the console’s Bluetooth settings.

  • How do you fix PS4 controller drift?

    To fix drift, ensure your controller is turned off. Try a soft reset, and a hard reset if that doesn’t work. You can also clean your controller or replace its analog sticks.

  • Why won't my PS4 controller charge?

    If your controller won’t charge, it could be an issue with the charging port or cable, a problem with the PS4 that prevents it from providing power over USB, or an issue with the controller’s battery.

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