How to Reset a PS4 Controller

What to do when a Playstation 4 controller loses its mind

PlayStation DualShock4 Controller
The PlayStation DualShock4 Controller.

Pixabay

Don't run out and buy a new PS4 controller just because the one in your hands is acting a little nuts. If your DualShock 4 controller is having problems pairing with the PS4 or behaving erratically, there are a few things you can try first, including both a soft reset and a hard reset of the PS4 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.

A screenshot of the PS4 settings
The settings for pairing your PS4 controller are under Bluetooth Devices, not Controllers.
  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.
  2. Choose Devices from the drop-down menu.
  3. Select Bluetooth Devices
  4. You should see your PS4 controller listed. Because we are using the working controller to navigate the menu, select the inactive one.
    1. Note: The PS4 controller with a green dot is the active controller and the PS4 controller without the green dot is the inactive one. 
  5. Press the Options button on your controller, found to the right of the touchpad. This will bring up a new menu.
  6. Select Forget Device.

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.

With the power off, there are a few more steps to perform:

  1. Connect your misbehaving DualShock 4 controller to the PS4 using a USB cable.
  2. Turn on the PS4 and wait for it to boot up.
  3. Press the PlayStation button on the controller and log in 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

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

The back of a PS4 controller
The hole for the reset button is on the back of the PS4 controller.
  1. Power down the PS4.
  2. Turn over the DualShock 4 controller and locate the small hole near the left shoulder button. 
  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.

Note: 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 turning off 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 pair your controller, run through the steps for doing a hard reset with the router or modem turned off. If you paired your device but it is still erratic, simply try using it with the router or modem off.  

Does it work fine? If so, you'll need to change the channel your router is using. You can follow our instructions for changing the channel on a router or consult your internet provider.