How to Use External Controllers on Steam Deck

Are you interested in making use of an external controller on your Steam Deck? Well if you are, then this article has all the details on how to use external controllers on the steam deck. Not just that, we would also be covering some other aspects of the steam Deck Controllers.

How to Use External Controllers on Steam Deck

Steam Deck offers support for a lot of controllers like Xbox and PlayStation controllers. But aside from those two controllers, they also support other third-party generic controllers that are also worth the steam deck.

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What Controllers are Compatible with Steam Deck?

The controller needs to at least have either a USB or Bluetooth, and it also needs to be had either USB or Bluetooth, and it needs to be compatible with the steam deck, but the criteria is quite huge.

Below are some of the controllers that are supported by the steam deck. They include:

  • XBox 360: USB
  • Xbox One: USB and Bluetooth (3rd gen)
  • Xbox Series X/S: USB and Bluetooth
  • Generic XInput controllers: Varies
  • Switch Pro: USB and Bluetooth
  • DirectInput controllers: Varies
  • PlayStation DualShock 4: USB and Bluetooth
  • PlayStation 5 DualSense: USB and Bluetooth
  • Steam Controller: USB and Bluetooth

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How to Use a Controller on the Steam Deck

The Steam Deck has built-in, highly customizable controls, but they are not always very comfortable for long play sessions. Thankfully, there are other amazing options.

The Steam deck is works with both wired and wireless controllers, and you even get to connect with multiple controllers at one couch co-op with your friends.

You can make use of a wired or wireless controller with the Steam Deck:


This method needs a wired USB connection. If you can plug any compatible controllers in via a USB-C hub or dock, your steam deck would automatically recognize it.


This method requires a compatible Bluetooth controller, and you would have to pair it to your steam Deck. Common options would include the Xbox controllers, PlayStation controllers, and a switch controller.

How to Connect a PlayStation Controller

The PlayStation Controllers sometimes require a third-party app or some additional configuration to work with steam in windows, but PS4 and PS5 controllers both work well on Linux. The DualShock 4 and DualSense controllers both pair via Bluetooth and work without any extra configuration or third-party apps, but the button iconography you get to see on your screen in some games might not match the button on your controller.

Here I would be giving you details on how to connect a PlayStation DualShock 4 or DualSense controller to your steam deck.

  • First push on the “Steam Button” on your steam Deck, and then click on “Settings”
  • Select “Bluetooth”
  • Check the “Bluetooth toggle”, and then tap it if it is not already on
  • After that press and hold down the PS button and Share button or create button at the same time, until the lights on the controller flash.
  • Select “Wireless Controller” on your Steam Deck.
  • Your Controller would connect

How to Connect an Xbox Controller

The native steam deck controls are quite similar to Xbox controls, with the face buttons named and arranged in the same ways, and the same iconography for the share and menu buttons, so the Xbox controller would work very well with both the steam deck and most controller-ready steam games.

In other to connect an Xbox Controller to your steam deck, the controllers need to support Bluetooth. Models that support Bluetooth include Xbox Series X/S controllers and the third generation Xbox One controller that were originally shipped with the Xbox One S. With that stated, here are the steps on how to connect an Xbox controller to a steam Deck.

  • First Press the “Steam Button”
  • Then select “Settings”
  • Select “Bluetooth”
  • If the Bluetooth toggle is not on already, then tap it to turn on the Bluetooth
  • Push the “Xbox button” on your controller
  • Then press and hold the controller connect button until the “Xbox button” Starts flashing
  • Select “Xbox Wireless Controller”
  • Your controller will connect

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How to Connect Other Bluetooth Controllers

Steam Deck was built to support multiple simultaneous controllers connections using your USB and Bluetooth, so you would be able to connect several controllers at once in other to play with your friends. Connecting a lot of devices via Bluetooth might turn out to be an issue as can locale interference, but it works pretty well-using co-op with up to about four controllers without any issues.

The one major issue that can crop up when you are trying to connect multiple controllers to a steam deck would only be recognized as one of the primary inputs. If you would want to play a single-player game, and your controller does not work, you can typically fix the problem by switching it to act as your basic controller.

Here I would be stating the steps you would need to follow in other to switch the primary controller on a Steam Deck when you have multiple controllers connected:

  • With a game open, just press the quick access button
  • After that, select “rearrange controller order”
  • Then select the “Controller” that you would want to make use of, and press the “Select button”
  • Make use of the d-Pad to move it to the top
  • Press the selection button again in other to finalize the order


Where Can I Purchase a Steam Deck?

It is quite possible for you to find a Steam Deck for sale on at e-commerce platforms like eBay, but they tend to come carrying a markup. At the moment, the only place for you to purchase a steam deck is from Valve themselves.

Can I Use a USB Controller on Steam?

First, plug the controller, mouse, or Keyboard right into one of the USB ports that is on your link. Then follow the on-screen instructions to locate computers that are running steam on your home network, then choose one, and then start streaming games directly to your TV.

Can I Use Wireless Controllers on my Steam Deck?

Tons of controllers can be used on valve popular hand-held device. A lot of controllers make use of Bluetooth functionality to connect to their respective consoles and can do the same to work with the steam deck.

Does Steam Deck have Bluetooth?

Yes. The Steam Deck is Bluetooth-ready, and it is USB-C port can handle all sorts of I/O. Want to have a fighting tournament on the go?

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