How to Connect a Nintendo Switch Controller to Your PC

One reason so many gamers appreciate the Nintendo Switch is that its Bluetooth technology easily plugs in and out of nearby PCs. You can even do this with Joy-Con and Switch Pro controllers if you have one.

It takes a bit more effort to get it to work with all your games compared to connecting an Xbox controller, but it’s a great option if you already have a Switch. Before connecting your Nintendo Switch controller to your laptop or other Android device, you need to make sure you have a Bluetooth receiver and that both objects are relatively close to each other. Once you’re squared, here’s how to get connected.

How to connect Joy-Con controllers to your PC

You can easily pair the Joy-Con controllers with a Windows or Mac computer directly from the Bluetooth menu. Follow the steps below to do so.

Step 1: Turn on Bluetooth on your computer.

Step 2: Disconnect the Joy-Cons from the Switch.

Step 3: Hold the Sync up in the Joy-Cons, located between the MR and SL until the LED lights start to flash.


Step 4: Find the Joy-Con in your computer’s Bluetooth menu and select the option to pair it with your device.

There are a few quirks to be aware of, like when the pairing lights on the Joy-Cons don’t stop flashing. However, you can confirm that the controller is connected by looking at your computer’s Bluetooth settings. If you see the error message below, move the controller to make sure that no other device is interfering with the signal. Try again.

Unfortunately, the two Joy-Cons will be treated as separate controllers by default. That’s great for two-player games, but it makes them useless for playing something complex, like a first-person shooter.

There is a fairly elaborate solution to syncing a pair of Joy-Cons together as a single controller, and it involves multiple external programs and some intensive tinkering. We think the process we’ve outlined is the best way to go, but if you’re interested, please follow the steps outlined by this Reddit user.

How to connect the Switch Pro Controller using Steam

The Steam client now officially supports the Switch Pro Controller, and was previously only available in the beta client. This gives you the ability to use it with all your PC games and even remap its buttons, if you see fit.

Step 1: Go to Driver Settings menu on Steam. From here, you can check the Switch Pro Controller compatibility and enable the Use the Nintendo button layout , which changes all the button messages in your games to match the Pro Controller. If you leave this unchecked, the A / B and X / Y The buttons will be swapped, just like on Xbox One.

Step 2: Next, connect your Switch Pro Controller with a USB cable and it will ask you to register it and calibrate the built-in gyro sensor for motion control in certain games.

Step 3: Once you’ve done that, select Driver Settings, and you can configure the function of each button and paste the controller, make presets for certain games, or choose your own settings from a community member by pressing the X button. If you want, you can even the gyro sensor to a particular function, which could allow you to be almost as accurate as mouse and keyboard players in certain games.

How to connect the Switch Pro controller via Bluetooth

If you are not using Steam, you can also connect the Pro Controller directly to your Windows or MacOS machine via Bluetooth. It’s a bit more complicated this way than connecting via USB, so we only reserve this method for when you plan to use the Pro Controller with games on a different platform, such as EA Origin, Ubisoft’s UPlay store, and Battle.Net.

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As with the Joy-Con controllers, you will use Bluetooth to connect the Pro controller to a desktop PC or an alternate device. The steps are essentially the same as for connecting the Joy-Cons, so check the points above for the exact method. The Pro controller sync button is located on the top of the controller, directly to the left of the USB-C connector.

The Pro Controller should prove more viable for a wider range of games than the Joy-Cons, mainly because it touts a more traditional design, although it isn’t compatible with everything. This is due to the controller APIs in use; the Pro Controller apparently uses DirectInput, rather than the newer XInput API, making it incompatible with many newer games.

One method to avoid this is to download the free x360ce program, which translates DirectInput commands for XInput games. It was designed specifically for Xbox 360 controllers, so the x360ce recognizes the Switch Pro controller.

Using it requires a bit of gaming experience, which, to be fair, you probably have if you’re trying this in the first place. It is an imperfect solution: not all games will work, no matter what you do. For now, we’ll have to wait for the homebrew community to come up with its own methods.

One more thing to note if you connect the controller wirelessly: You cannot charge the Pro Controller while paired via Bluetooth. If you plan to plug in for non-Steam games, plug in the Pro Controller before and after, especially if it’s your preferred controller for marathon sessions. Fortunately, the Pro Controller has exceptional battery life – over 40 hours on a full charge.

Other things to keep in mind

If you are using Joy-Cons, be aware that connectivity issues can translate to similar issues on other devices. Left Joy-Con connection challenges on the Switch were common in the early days of the Switch. If you notice lag or other quirks with any of the Joy-Con, you can expect pairing it with a PC to be a bit more of a hassle. Also, the Bluetooth connection can be questionable and is generally vulnerable to device interference. Questionable Bluetooth is a problem that affects many accessories, so we cannot criticize Nintendo too much. For the easiest pairing, keep the line between Joy-Con and your PC clear. If it gets inconsistent, try adjusting where you hold the controller.

If you’ve never had a problem with the Joy-Con, you’re probably lucky that you don’t have a faulty drive. Nintendo said shortly after the Switch’s launch that it had fixed the connectivity issues for future shipments. So if you didn’t buy your console when the Switch launched in 2017, you are likely to run into fewer problems. Or, if you bought another Joy-Con recently, you are probably free of any bugs that plagued previous versions.

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Our appreciation for finding new ways to hack technology makes it easy to ignore some connectivity issues. We’ve had emulators for PC game consoles for years, but each release of a new game console comes with the challenge of adapting the latest technology for PC games. Because most controllers are now wireless, it’s harder to make sure they work in different games. At the moment, they use the popular Bluetooth technology.

Most Mac and Windows PCs come with Bluetooth cards inside. Older computers may not have Bluetooth connectivity, which will limit your ability to play computer games with updated drivers.

Outside of Steam’s purview, both the Pro Controller and Joy-cons are great for playing older games with DirectInput API support and simple controls. Both controllers are also suitable for playing via your PC’s emulator, which is useful if you like to play old-school Nintendo games with modern technology. It may take some tweaking to get used to using improved controllers to play your retro favorites, but it’s a lot of fun once you get the hang of it.

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Above article is first published by the link. We curated and re-published.

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