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How to connect a Nintendo Switch controller to PC

ByOleg Romanenko 2019-03-25 11531

What I definitely like about the Nintendo Switch controllers is the choice of the interface for the wireless interaction between the controllers and the console. And so ... this is standard Bluetooth technology. You will say that this is rather a minus, since the Bluetooth operation range leaves much to be desired, but you are seriously going to play the FullHD game at a distance of more than 5 meters from the tv? But the advantages of such a solution are much more weighty: You can easily use the official console controllers on PC, Mac, and even Android devices. By official I mean Joy-Cons and Switch Pro Controller, the last of which is purchased separately, the price depends on the combat color, but it is worth it. And all you need to use these controllers on a PC is a Bluetooth receiver (if you do not already have built-in Bluetooth).

Nintendo Switch controller 


You can easily connect the Joy-Con controllers to a computer on Windows or Mac directly from the Bluetooth menu. To do this, follow these next steps.

● Turn on Bluetooth on your PC / Mac.

● Disconnect the Joy-Con from the Switch as usual.

● Hold the "sync" button on the Joy-Con, which is located between the SR and SL buttons, until the LEDs start blinking.

the “sync” button on the Joy-Con 

● Find the Joy-Con in the Bluetooth menu of your computer and select the option to connect it to your device. There are some quirks, for example, the fact that the twin lights on Joy-Con do not stop flashing. However, you can verify that the controller is connected by looking at your computer’s Bluetooth settings. If you see the error message below, move the controller to another location so that other devices do not interfere with the signal. Then try again.

the Joy-Con in the Bluetooth menu  

Unfortunately, two Joy-Cons will be considered separate controllers by default. This is great for multiplayer games, but makes Joy-Con'es useless for games with difficult controls, such as first-person shooter (Why are you using a controller to play a shooter on a computer?).


Now Steam officially supports Switch Pro Controller, giving you the opportunity to use it in all your games and even reconfigure its buttons.

● In  Steam client go to the "Controller Settings" menu. From here, you can check the Switch Pro Controller support and enable "use the Nintendo button layout", which changes all the tips of the buttons of your games according to Pro Controller. If you leave it as it is, the A / B and X / Y buttons will be set in reverse, like in Xbox One.

Controller Settings 

● Then connect the Switch Pro controller with a USB cable, and you will be asked to register it, and also calibrate the built-in gyroscope to control movement in certain games.

● After you have done this, select the "controller configuration" and you can set the function of each button and paste it on the controller, make pre-configured configurations for certain games or choose your own configuration of a community member by pressing the X button. Like it, you can attach a gyro sensor to a specific function that can allow you to be almost as precise as the players with the mouse and keyboard in certain games.


If you are not using Steam, you can also connect Pro Controller directly to your computer on Windows or MacOS via Bluetooth. This method is a bit more complicated than a USB connection, so we use this method only when you plan to use Pro Controller with games on another platform, such as EA Origin, Ubisoft's UPlay store and Battle.Net.

Like the Joy-Con controllers, you use Bluetooth to connect the Pro Controller to your desktop PC or alternative device. The steps are essentially the same as connecting Joy-Cons, so check the above clarification points. The synchronization button for Pro Controller is located at the top of the controller, directly to the left of the USB-C connector.

The Pro Controller should be more convenient for a wider range of games than Joy-Cons, namely because it is a more traditional layout, although not compatible with all games. This is due to the use of controller APIs; Pro Controller seems to use DirectInput, rather than the new XInput API, which makes it incompatible with many new games.

One way around this is to download the free x360ce program, which translates the DirectInput commands for games into XInput. It was specifically designed for Xbox 360 controllers, so the x360ce recognizes the Switch Pro Controller too.

This is an imperfect decision - not every game will work correctly, no matter what you do. In the meantime, we can only wait for the geek community to come up with their own methods.

Another thing to keep in mind if you connect a controller wirelessly: you cannot charge the Pro Controller while it is paired via Bluetooth. If you plan to connect it for games without Steam, charge Pro Controller before and after, especially if this is your controller for the long game. Fortunately, the Pro Controller has excellent battery life - more than 40 hours when fully charged! This is probably the second huge plus for me!


 You may also want to read:
Time to clean your Xbox controller - 6 steps
Gamer guide: 8 easy ways to fix Xbox controller issues
Tech showdown: Xbox One vs Xbox 360 controller - fight!


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