Xbox controllers are some of the most durable gaming devices around. They’re built to last, but sometimes they don’t play nice with other devices. You might have noticed blinking or flashing lights on your controller at various points during gameplay. Xbox controllers frequently blink when they have a low battery or are attempting to connect to your console or PC.

how to fix xbox controller blinking
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However, if your Xbox controller won’t stay on or the lights keep flashing non-stop, it is likely malfunctioning. The continuous blinking could be caused by a number of reasons, ranging from connection issues to recent firmware updates.

In this post, we will look at some of the possible causes and fixes for your Xbox controller flashing and not connecting.

Why is my Xbox Controller Blinking or Flashing?

You may have noticed that the light on your controller often blinks whether you are playing on the Xbox One or the new Xbox series X/S. A fast blinking light indicates that your Xbox controller is trying to connect to a console or PC. Slow blinking usually indicates that there is likely an issue with the battery pack.

The most common causes of a blinking Xbox controller include:

  1. The controller battery is possibly drained or dying and must be replaced.
  2. A recent faulty upgrade or your Xbox controller is not up to date with the latest firmware.
  3. A problem with your Xbox controller syncing, cables, accessories, or power supply.
  4. The possibility of interference (for example, from other Bluetooth devices or smartphones) obstructing the path.
  5. Your Xbox controller is broken.

Test the Batteries in Your Xbox Controllers

If your Xbox controller is flashing slowly and won’t turn on, make sure the batteries aren’t causing the issue.

Take your Xbox One Play & Charge Kit, put the battery pack inside your wireless controller, then use the bundled charging cord to power it up. Additionally, you can also charge the battery by plugging the controller and charging cable into any USB power source. When the battery pack is charging, the charging cable’s light will flash orange; once it is fully charged, it will turn white.

Your console should be turned on after connecting the controller, or the battery will not charge.

With Xbox Series X and S wireless controllers, you’ll get a rechargeable Xbox battery and a USB-C cable. Xbox One batteries should work with Xbox Series X controllers, but the charging cables won’t.

Alternatively, you can also try replacing the battery pack in your Xbox wireless controller with disposable AA batteries, then restarting your console.

If the battery fails the following tests, it needs to be replaced:

  • If your rechargeable battery pack does not charge when connected to the console via a USB cable.
  • The controller may work with a different battery pack or AA batteries if the issue is caused by the battery.
  • Try using a cotton swab or dry cloth to clean the battery contacts on the battery pack. If it still does not work, it must be replaced. Avoid water or chemicals, which can damage the contacts.

xbox series x controller blinking

Re-sync Your Xbox Controller

Xbox Wireless controllers can only be used with one device at a time. If you already paired it with your phone or computer, you will have to do it again with your console. It can take up to 2 minutes to re-sync your controller if your device is busy. Therefore, wait a while before trying again if your device is having trouble identifying and/or pairing your controller.

When controllers aren’t connected properly, they can sometimes get out of sync. To resolve connectivity problems with a wireless controller, try re-syncing your Xbox controller to the console.

Follow these steps in order to re-sync your controller with your Xbox console:

  1. Press the Xbox button on the front to switch on your Xbox gaming console.
  2. Turn on the controller you want to sync by pushing and holding the Xbox button, which will light up if the controller is connected.
  3. Push and release the Pair button on the Xbox:
  • On the Xbox One, you can find the Pair button on the side adjacent to the USB port.
  • On the Xbox Series X/S, you can find the Pair button on the front right side, just below the power button.
  1. Next, quickly press and hold the Pair button on the controller until the Xbox button briefly flashes to indicate that it is searching for a console.

If the Xbox button stops blinking and stays on, that means the controller is successfully synced with your console.

You can also try to resolve the issue by disconnecting your controller from other Bluetooth devices, such as your PC.  To do so, navigate to Settings > Devices > Bluetooth (or Settings > Bluetooth & devices if you’re using Windows 11). Choose the controller, then the Remove device option. To reconnect your controller to a Bluetooth device, press the Pair button on the controller. Then, from the Bluetooth settings on the device, select the controller and then click Pair.

Try Reconnecting the Console and Cables

Sometimes disconnecting and reconnecting the console can also fix the controller issues. To make sure your console and network connection are working properly, follow the steps below:

  1. Unplug your console’s network cable. Verify that the console port and the cable connector are clear of debris and clean. Reconnect the cable again, making sure it clicks securely into place.
  2. Disconnect your router or modem’s network cable and make sure the socket and connector are clean and debris-free. Reconnect all the power cords and turn on all the networking devices.
  3. Test your network connection by going to Profile & system > Settings > General > Network settings > Test network connection.
  4. To test the functionality of your console and modem, connect them directly to your modem rather than to your network. Retest your internet connection. If the connection test fails, your router has either faulty hardware or firmware that prevents it from connecting to the console.

Power Cycle Your Xbox Controller and Console

Power cycling your Xbox controller or console or performing a full power cycle will fix many common issues and restore it to working order. Follow these steps to restart your controller:

  1. To turn off the controller, press and hold the Xbox button for 5 to 10 seconds.
  2. After a brief delay, press and hold the Xbox button once more to turn the controller back on.

If your controller is having trouble updating firmware, the problem is most likely with your console. You can also try to power cycle your Xbox console by holding down the Xbox button in front of it for 10 seconds until the console turns off, then turning it back on. Now, try updating your controller once again.

Check the Firmware Updates

If your controller continues to disconnect from your console or PC, you may be using an outdated or incorrect driver. Keeping your controller’s software up-to-date improves its compatibility and efficiency.

Only new controllers with a 3.5-mm port can update wirelessly; others must use USB. You can also plug your headset adapter into your controller so it can get updates.

Wireless Controller Update:

  1. To access the guide, push the Xbox key and navigate to Profile & system > Settings. Select Accessories from the Devices & Connections menu.
  2. On the page for the wireless Xbox controller, click “…” to check the firmware.
  3. If it prompts you to “Update,” choose the firmware version and follow the on-screen instructions.

Controller update via USB:

  1. Connect the USB cable to the Xbox’s USB port.
  • The port is on the front of the Xbox Series X just below the Pair button.
  • The port for the Xbox Series S is on the front left, near the Pair button.
  • The port is located on the front of the Xbox One X and Xbox One S, adjacent to the Power button.
  1. Plug the USB cable into the controller and keep it connected during the update.

Controller Update via PC:

  1. Download and install the Xbox Accessories app from the Microsoft Store, then launch it.
  2. Plug in your Xbox wireless controller via USB or the Xbox adapter.
  3. If an update is required, you’ll see the message Update Required when you connect the controller. Download and install the update.

how to fix xbox controller blinking or flashing

Try Connecting Your Xbox Controller With a USB Cable

You can connect your Xbox Wireless Controller to your console wirelessly or with a micro-USB or USB-C cable. While Xbox One controllers use micro-USB cables, you’ll need a USB-C cable if you’re using an Xbox Series X/S, Xbox Adaptive Controller, or Xbox Elite Series 2.

Wireless controllers are great for portable gaming, but they aren’t always reliable. If you want to play games without worrying about losing connection, then you should consider buying a wired controller. Based on your controller type, connect the micro-USB or USB-C cable to the controller’s power port before connecting the other end to your Xbox console.

You can connect your controller to your PC by plugging one end into the controller and the other into your PC with a micro-USB charging cable. When you connect an Xbox Wireless Controller to a Windows PC, the drivers for your controller are automatically downloaded and installed.

If the controller fails to respond, try a different cable. If your Windows device does not recognize your controller after you wake it up from sleep, press the Xbox button on the controller, then unplug and replug it.

Cool Down the Power Supply and Console

To cool down the interior, the vents in your console may become hot. However, if the console overheats, it can cause hardware issues and damage your controller, so make sure that your console and power supply are properly ventilated.

You may need to move it or remove items that are obstructing the vents. Place the console somewhere that has good airflow and isn’t too hot. Clear the area around the console and leave nothing on or near it.

Revert the Firmware on Your Controller

If you have trouble connecting your controller to a non-Xbox Bluetooth device, you might want to revert the controller firmware. The recent update to the Xbox controller’s firmware can make it harder for older devices to connect via Bluetooth. If you experience Bluetooth issues after updating your controller, you can roll it back to an earlier version of the firmware to resolve the issue.

To change the firmware on your controller through the console, press the Xbox button on your controller.  Navigate to Profile & System > Xbox Assist > Get Help. Click Console & accessories > Controller under Help topics. Now, select “My controller has connection problems after the last update.”  When you open the Xbox Accessories app, choose Check controller firmware to see the option for reverting the controller firmware.

Try Switching to a Different Console or Power Outlet

If nothing else works, try switching to a different console, power outlet, or location. If your Xbox controller works with a different console, you might be having a problem with your console. If it still doesn’t work, it’s probably time to switch to another controller.

To move to a different power outlet, unplug the console and all of its accessories. Then take your console and its accessories to a different spot, like a friend’s house. Now, connect your new controller, restart your console, and then re-check your connection by going to Profile & system > Settings > General > Network settings >  Test network connection. If it works, your power outlet could be the source of the problem.

Fix Xbox Controller Issues Before They Arise

You shouldn’t let a broken Xbox controller put you out of the game. Don’t want your Xbox controller to keep disconnecting and reconnecting in the future? To avoid future issues, try the following suggestions:

  • If you’ve been playing games for a while, your controller is probably showing some signs of wear. To keep it working, regularly charge and replace controller batteries, and clean the contacts.
  • If your controller is wired, check the connections. Tighten loose wires before continuing
  • Regularly check new updates and drivers for your controller to keep it bug-free.
  • Turn off wireless controllers before plugging the controller directly into the console.
  • Reset your controller to factory settings or contact Xbox support if the problem persists.

FAQs about Xbox Controller Not Working

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If your Xbox controller is blinking slowly, it may not have enough battery power, or it may be too far away from your console or PC to pair properly.

Xbox One controller blinking twice and turning off could indicate that your console is experiencing a power outage. If your console does not receive enough power, it will shut down to conserve battery fuel.

Your controller may not turn on if your batteries are dead or dying. Try charging the battery, replacing the battery pack, or switching to a different controller.

It could be that you have too many devices connected to your gaming console, your controller needs new batteries, a recent firmware update was buggy, or there are problems with syncing.

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