Solving Steam’s Issue: PS4 Controller Not Recognized

Imagine settling in for a gaming marathon, PS4 controller in hand, ready to dive into your favorite Steam game. But then, the unexpected happens — Steam doesn’t recognize your controller. This isn’t just a minor hiccup; it’s a gamer’s nightmare. You’re geared up for an epic adventure, yet you’re stuck at the starting line. The frustration of Steam not recognizing PS4 controller builds as you fiddle with wires and settings, wondering why your trusted controller is suddenly an outsider in Steam’s digital realm.

If Steam is not recognizing your PS4 controller, first ensure the controller is properly connected to your PC via USB or Bluetooth. Then, check Steam’s controller settings to ensure PS4 configuration support is enabled. If the issue persists, try updating the controller’s driver or restarting your computer and Steam. However, these steps typically resolve the recognition problem.

But don’t lose heart! This common issue has straightforward solutions as Steam not recognizing PS4 controller. Hence, with a few tweaks and tricks, you can get your PS4 controller back in action on Steam, ensuring that your gaming journey continues without a hitch.

See Also: How To Fix Steam Game Won’t Launch Issue? [Full Guide]

Common Reasons Behind The Issue 

When your PS4 controller and Steam aren’t getting along, several culprits could be playing hide-and-seek in the background. Understanding these can be key to finding a solution as Steam not detecting PS4 controller.

  • Steam Client Glitches: At times, the Steam client itself might be having a bad day. Glitches within the software can lead to it not recognizing connected devices, including your PS4 controller. For more insights on Steam issues, like if you encounter a Steam pending transaction, our guide offers comprehensive troubleshooting steps.
  • Outdated Drivers: Drivers are the unsung heroes that facilitate smooth communication between your hardware and software. Outdated or corrupt drivers might fail to relay the necessary information to Steam about your controller. This issue is not unique to gaming; for instance, users have reported problems like avast high CPU usage, often stemming from outdated drivers.
  • Windows Bugs: Your operating system itself could be throwing a wrench in the works. Certain Windows updates or bugs might disrupt the controller’s connectivity. Similar issues have been seen with other updates, like when users experienced Windows 10 startup menu missing after an update.
  • Incorrect Steam Settings: Steam has specific settings for controller support. Hence, if these aren’t configured correctly, your PS4 controller might as well be invisible to Steam.
  • Interfering Background Applications: Sometimes, other running applications might conflict with Steam, leading to issues in recognizing the controller.

Troubleshooting Method 1: Restarting Steam And Controller Functionality Check

Often, the simplest solutions are the most effective. However, restarting Steam and checking your controller’s functionality can sometimes magically solve the issue. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Start by completely exiting Steam. Check the system tray to ensure it’s not running in the background.
  2. A good old reboot can clear up any temporary glitches.
  3. Open Steam again and check if the controller is recognized.

If using a wireless controller, ensure the battery isn’t depleted. A low battery can lead to weak connectivity. Look for any physical damage to the controller or wires. If connected via USB, try a different port or cable. Sometimes the issue is as simple as a faulty USB port or cable.

For Bluetooth connections, ensure that the controller is properly paired with your PC. Try re-pairing the device to refresh the connection. Connect the controller to another device to check its functionality. If it doesn’t work there either, the controller itself might be the issue of Steam PS4 controller not working.

See Also: Steam Not Recognizing Installed Game Error? | (4 EASY FIXES)

Troubleshooting Method 2: Resetting The PS4 DualShock Controller

Sometimes, your PS4 controller just needs a fresh start, and resetting it can work wonders. Hence, here’s a step-by-step guide to resetting your PS4 DualShock Controller when Steam not recognizing PS4 controller:

  1. Turn off your controller.
  2. Look for a tiny hole on the back of the controller.
  3. You’ll use this to press the reset button inside the hole.
  4. Gently insert the paper clip and press the button inside for about 5 seconds.
  5. This resets your controller to its factory settings.
  6. After the reset, connect the controller to your computer using a USB cable..
  7. Turn on the controller.
  8. Open Steam and check if it recognizes the controller.

See Also: Power Surge on USB Port Error in Windows 10 [Fixed]

Troubleshooting Method 3: Addressing Bluetooth Signal Interference

Wireless controllers connect via Bluetooth, and sometimes, signal interference can play the villain. Hence, here’s how to minimize Bluetooth interference and manage controller settings in Steam’s Big Picture Mode with PS4 controller not working on Steam:

  • Keep The Area Clear: Ensure there aren’t too many devices around that could be causing interference. Hence, things like Wi-Fi routers, microwaves, and other Bluetooth devices can disrupt the signal.
  • Controller Placement: Keep your controller close to your PC and avoid having obstacles between them.
  • Update Bluetooth Drivers: Ensure your computer’s Bluetooth drivers are up to date.

Thus, here is how to manage controller settings in Steam’s big picture mode to fix Steam not recognizing PS4 controller:

  1. Enter Big Picture Mode: Open Steam and click on the Big Picture Mode icon at the top-right corner.
  2. Controller Settings: Navigate to the ‘Settings’ gear icon, then select ‘Controller Settings’.
  3. Check Configuration Support: Inside Controller Settings, ensure that the checkbox for ‘PS4 Configuration Support’ is selected.
  4. Customize Your Controller: You can also customize your controller’s button layout and sensitivity settings in this mode.

Troubleshooting Method 4: Reinstalling Wireless Controller Drivers 

When all else fails, revisiting the basics can sometimes be the key. Reinstalling or updating your wireless controller’s drivers can resolve recognition issues between your PS4 controller and Steam. For related issues, such as when Bluetooth is not detecting devices on Windows 10, updating or reinstalling drivers is a common solution. Hence, here’s how to do it:

  1. Open Device Manager: Right-click and select Device Manager.
  2. Locate Bluetooth Devices: In the Device Manager, find and expand the ‘Bluetooth’ section.
  3. Update Driver: Right-click on your Bluetooth adapter and select ‘Update driver’. Choose ‘Search automatically for updated driver software’. Follow the instructions and complete the update as PS4 controller won’t connect to Steam.
  4. Reinstall Driver: If updating doesn’t work, try reinstalling the driver. Right-click on the Bluetooth adapter, select ‘Uninstall device’, then restart your computer. Windows will automatically reinstall the driver.

Troubleshooting Method 5: Updating The Windows Operating System 

Sometimes, the solution lies in keeping your operating system up-to-date. Windows updates often include patches that fix bugs and improve hardware compatibility, including game controllers as Steam not recognizing PS4 controller. Hence, Windows updates frequently contain fixes for known bugs and compatibility issues. Hence, they also provide enhancements that improve the overall performance and security of your system.

  1. Access Windows Update: Click on the Start, then click on ‘Update & Security’.
  2. Check For Updates: Click ‘Check for updates’. Windows will search for available updates.
  3. Install Updates: If updates are available, install them. Hence, this might require a restart of your computer.
  4. Check Update History: After updating, you can view the update history to confirm that relevant updates have been installed.

Updating Windows not only keeps your system secure but also ensures maximum compatibility with a wide range of devices, including PS4 controllers. By regularly updating your Windows OS, you ensure that your computer and connected devices function harmoniously when Steam doesn’t recognize PS4 controller.

See Also: Steam Not Recognizing Installed Game? Detailed Analysis


Why is Steam not detecting my PS4 controller?

It can be due to a Steam client glitch, outdated computer drivers, Windows bugs, Bluetooth signal interference, or a malfunctioning PS4 controller. Ensure your controller is correctly set up and functioning, your PC's drivers and Windows are updated, and there's no Bluetooth interference .

How do I get Steam to recognize my PS4 controller?

First, try restarting Steam and double-checking your controller's functionality. Update Steam and your operating system, and try using a different USB cable or another PS4 controller. Ensure there's no Bluetooth interference and that all necessary drivers are updated .

Can I fix a PS4 controller that isn't detected by Steam?

Yes, you can try cleaning your USB ports, re-enabling Bluetooth, charging your PS4 controller, or updating the controller's drivers. Also, consider resetting your PS4 DualShock controller if it's not recognized when plugged in .

What should I do if my PS4 controller works elsewhere but not on Steam?

Enable proper configurations on Steam through Big Picture Mode, disable Steam's input per-game configuration, or update your controller firmware using the Xbox Accessories app (for Xbox controllers). Updating Windows can also help resolve driver issues .

How do I calibrate my PS4 controller for Steam?

Calibration might be necessary if your controller is recognized but doesn't function properly. This involves accessing controller settings on your PC and adjusting them accordingly. However, specifics on calibrating a PS4 controller for Steam were not detailed in the sources .


Navigating the waters of tech troubleshooting can often feel like a daunting quest. However, with the right tools and a bit of patience, resolving the issue of Steam not recognizing PS4 controller is within reach. We’ve explored various methods, from restarting Steam and checking controller functionality, resetting the PS4 controller, minimizing Bluetooth interference, updating wireless controller drivers, to keeping your Windows operating system up-to-date. Each of these approaches tackles the problem from a different angle, offering a comprehensive toolkit to address the common culprits behind this issue.

Remember, technology is a bit like a puzzle – sometimes, all it takes is trying a different piece to see the whole picture come together. Don’t hesitate to experiment with these solutions, and even combine them if needed. Often, it’s a blend of fixes that leads to success.

Finally, always keep in mind the importance of regular maintenance for your gaming setup – update your drivers, keep your operating system current, and take good care of your hardware. Hence, this proactive approach can prevent many issues before they arise, letting you focus on what truly matters – enjoying your gaming adventures to the fullest.

See Also: 10 Fixes For ‘PS4 Stuck on System Software Update’ Error

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