How to Set up the Google Stadia Controller

Use your Stadia Controller with a Chromecast Ultra, computer, or phone

Stadia is Google's video game streaming service that lets you play the latest games on your computer, phone, or Chromecast Ultra. Since it's a streaming service, you don't need a high end computer. You technically don't need any special hardware, since it's compatible with a lot of great third party controllers, but setting up a Google Stadia controller is easy and results in a great gameplay experience.

What Is the Google Stadia Controller?

Since Stadia is a game streaming service, it doesn't require any special hardware. It's designed to run in the Chrome web browser, the Stadia phone app, and on Google's Chromecast Ultra streaming device, which gives you a lot of ways to play. It also supports a wide variety of controllers, but it was actually designed with the Stadia controller in mind.

A stadia controller and chromecast ultra.
 Jeremy Laukkonen

The Stadia controller takes a lot of inspiration from other popular controllers, like the Xbox One controller, DualShock 4, and Nintendo's Switch Pro controller. It feels a lot like a Switch Pro controller, but the button configuration uses Sony's layout in terms of the D-pad and thumbstick positioning. It also comes with a couple extra buttons that are designed specifically for Stadia.

How to Connect Your Stadia Controller to Wi-Fi

Unlike most wireless controllers, the Stadia controller features both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. It also has a standard USB-C connector that's used to charge the battery and as a wired connection for using the controller with computers and phones.

The Stadia controller has a Bluetooth radio built in, but that functionality was not enabled during the initial launch window.

  1. Launch the Stadia app on a compatible phone or tablet.

  2. Hold down the Stadia button on your controller until the controller vibrates, which indicates that it has turned on.

  3. Tap the controller icon in the upper right corner of the Stadia app.

  4. If prompted, enable location access, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.

    Screenshots of activating the Google Stadia controller.

    When providing location access, select Allow all the time or Allow only while using the app. If you select Deny, the app may not work correctly.

  5. Wait for the app to find your controller, and then select it from the list.

  6. Wait for your controller to vibrate, and then tap Yes in the Stadia app.

    Screenshots illustrating connecting a Stadia Controller.
  7. Tap Continue to indicate you have read the microphone privacy statement.

  8. Choose whether or not to share diagnostic and usage data.

  9. Tap Connect to (your Wi-Fi network name).

    Screenshots illustrating how to connect a Stadia controller to Wi-Fi.

    If you see the wrong network name, then connect your phone or tablet to the correct network and try again.

  10. Enter your network password, and tap Connect.

  11. Wait for your controller to connect. Tap Next when prompted, then tap Done.

    Screenshots illustrating how to connect Stadia controller to Wi-Fi.
  12. Your controller is now connected to Wi-Fi and ready to go. You can start setting up your Stadia with your Chromecast immediately if you have your Chromecast connected and can see the on-screen prompts, or continue reading for more specific instructions.

How to Connect Your Stadia Controller to a Chromecast Ultra

If you want to play Stadia games on your television, a Chromecast Ultra is the best way. It's the only streaming device to support Stadia from the initial launch of the service, and it's a lot easier than connecting a PC or laptop up to your television. Setup is very easy, as all you have to do is plug the Chromecast Ultra in, connect it to Wi-Fi, and then connect it to your Stadia controller. At that point, you're ready to start streaming games to your television.

Here's how to connect your Stadia controller to a Chromecast ultra:

  1. Plug in your Chromecast Ultra, make sure it's powered up, and switch your television to the appropriate HDMI input.

  2. Make sure your Chromecast Ultra is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Stadia controller.

    You need to use the Google Home app to set up your Chromecast if you haven't done so already.

  3. Hold down the Stadia button on your controller until the controller vibrates, indicating that it has turned on.

  4. Check your television for a Stadia linking code.

    A screenshot of a Stadia linking code from Chromecast Ultra.
  5. Enter the code using your Stadia controller.

    The code will be made up of buttons that you can find on your Stadia controller. If a D-pad is pictured, push the part of the D-pad that corresponds with the light area of the D-pad in the code.

  6. Return to the Stadia app on your phone or tablet, and tap your avatar in the upper right corner.

  7. Select the Chromecast you have just connected your controller to.

  8. If prompted, select your Google account that you use with Stadia, and tap Connect.

    Screenshots illustrating how to connect Stadia to Chromecast Ultra.
  9. Wait for the process to finish, and tap Done.

    Screenshots showing how to finish connecting Stadia to Chromecast.

The next time you turn on your Stadia controller and use it with this Chromecast, you'll be able to select your Stadia account and start playing.

How to Set Up and Use a Stadia Controller With Your Computer or Phone

Stadia controllers do not support wireless mode when used with Chrome on your computer or with the Stadia app on your phone. Instead of setting up Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to use your Stadia controller with a computer or phone, all you have to do is plug in a USB cable. It's really that simple.

How to Link Your Stadia Controller to a Computer Using Google Chrome

Getting your computer connected to a Stadia controller requires a USB cable and a few simple steps:

  1. Plug a USB-A to USB-C or USB-C to USB-C cable into your computer, and then connect the other end to your Stadia controller.

  2. Navigate to Stadia.com with Chrome, and sign into your Stadia account.

  3. Start playing your game of choice using the Stadia controller.

How to Link Your Stadia Controller to a Pixel Phone With the Stadia App

The process of linking your Stadia controller to a Pixel phone is simple. You'll use the Stadia app and a USB-C cable.

  1. Connect your Stadia controller to your Pixel 2, Pixel 3, or Pixel 4 phone using a USB-C cable.

  2. Launch the Stadia app on your phone.

  3. Start playing the game of your choice with the Stadia controller.