How to Sync a PS4 Controller and Troubleshoot Issues

June 30, 2023 • Zachary Amos


The PS4 is still the console of choice for many gamers even though the industry is moving on to bigger and better versions. Plenty of them are picking up gaming for the first time and wondering how to synch a PS4 controller. Although it seems like common sense, the initial process is involved. This step-by-step guide with seven troubleshooting tips is here for those who are just getting into gaming or need a bit of help with the process. 

What You Need to Know Before Syncing

Although the PS5 is the newest version on the market, plenty of people are still upgrading to its predecessor. When they go to sync their controller for the first time, they’ll have to use the cable that came in the box. A cord, controller and console are all absolutely necessary when you pair everything for the first time. You may also need a paperclip, an extra cord or an additional controller if you need to troubleshoot. 

How to Sync a PS4 Controller

It’s possible that you didn’t get a cable with your controller or you misplaced yours a while back. Any micro USB to USB cable will work, so it’s only a minor setback. You can get a replacement relatively easily. 

You’ll start by plugging the USB end of the cord into the console while it’s turned off. You can turn it on after you plug the controller in. It should automatically recognize the connection and assign the device to the first player slot. Press the middle button with the Playstation logo — the PS button — to get to the login screen where you can choose or create a player account. 

How to Sync Additional PS4 Controllers

Connecting a second controller is pretty easy if you already have your first one synced. You can tell how many you already have paired by looking at the light bar when pressing the PS button. The first synced one glows blue, the second red, the third green and the fourth pink. It’s useful to know because you can only sync so many controllers.

Paying attention to them is also important because a white glow means that your controller lost the connection to the console. You have to hold the PS button down for fifteen seconds to reset it and reconnect. 

It’s pretty easy to add more controllers. Navigate to your settings — the small icon that looks like a briefcase — and choose “Devices” then “Bluetooth Devices” to see everything currently synced to your console. Pick up the one you want to connect. Hold the PS and Share button down at the same time for five seconds or until it appears in the list. Once it does, use your first controller to select it and finish syncing it. 

What Should You Do if It Won’t Connect?

Are you still wondering how to sync a PS4 controller after trying the methods above? While it should be super easy, sometimes it just doesn’t work. Here are a few troubleshooting methods you can try. 

  1. Get a New Cord

The fastest and easiest troubleshooting solution you have is to just get a new cord. A faulty one won’t allow your controller to properly sync, so it’s worth it to check. Most phones use the type you need, so you might even have one laying around the house. 

  1. Reset the Controller

Performing a hard reset on your controller is one way to get it to cooperate if it’s misbehaving. You’ll need a small, hard object like a paperclip. Gently poke it into the tiny hole next to the L2 button on the back. You’ll feel a tiny button. Press and hold it for a few seconds to reset the controller.

Once you’re finished, connect it to your console with a cable. Hold the PS button down until it starts blinking — that’s the signal it’s trying to sync. If this method works, you should see it connect soon.

  1. Fully Charge It

You have the best chance to wirelessly sync if your controller is fully charged. Playstation even recommends letting it die and recharge completely once a year at minimum to keep it functioning properly. There’s a chance the issue may be that you just haven’t let it charge correctly. It takes about two hours to charge a controller with a completely dead battery, so expect to wait that long. 

Also, pay attention to the lightbar — it should glow yellow when charging. If it doesn’t, your cord may be faulty. Try replacing it and resetting your console to get it to work. Your controller might be the problem if it’s still not glowing after that.

  1. Remove Other Bluetooth Devices

Do you have a lot of Bluetooth devices in your home? They may be interrupting the connection between your PS4 controller and the console. Temporarily disconnecting them can make syncing easier because no accidental connections or interferences occur. Once you’ve disabled your other devices, restart your console before attempting to sync again.

  1. Keep It Plugged In

Playing with a wired connection on a wireless device isn’t ideal by any means, but it might be your only option if other troubleshooting methods don’t work. You can keep your controller plugged in while gaming to keep the connection stable. You can use it as a temporary fix until you figure out a more permanent solution or simply keep using it like that. 

  1. Reset Your Console

Resetting your PS4 should be one of the last steps you take if your controller doesn’t want to sync with it. It’s likely that your controller has some sort of issue preventing it from doing so. Still, a reset is an option that might fix it. 

Factory resetting a PS4 removes all your data and returns it to the state it was fresh out of the box. It might help fix software issues preventing you from connecting the controller to the console. Navigate to settings and choose “Initialization,” “Initialize PS4” and “Full” to wipe everything. It’s super quick to start, but the resetting process may take hours. Ensure it stays plugged in and simply leave it alone for a while. 

  1. Try a Different Controller

Your best option might be to try a different controller if you’ve tried the other troubleshooting methods with no luck. Restarting it, getting a new cable and factory resetting the console usually help, so it’s likely the controller is just too old or worn out. There might be internal issues or the port in the back may be faulty.

This option is reserved for last because you might have to get a new one if you don’t have an extra lying around. Alternatively, you could take it to a shop and see if someone can identify and fix what’s wrong.

Have Fun Gaming

The process may have been a bit trickier than you first thought, but it’s worth it to play the games you love. Plus, it’ll go faster the next time you try now that you know how to sync a PS4 controller. You can also reference these troubleshooting tips if you ever need help syncing.