How to use a PS4 controller on PS5

Sony DualShock 4
(Image credit: TechRadar)

If you don't want to spend the extra cash on a second DualSense gamepad, you can use your old PS4 controller with your PS5. It's simple and easy to get your old DualShock controller ready to go on your PS5, and while there are some things you should know about going down this route, it's a great way to save money and be economical about your new console purchase.

You can get your old PS4 controller set up to run on your PS5 in a few minutes, but it's important to remember there are some limitations. You can only use your PS4 controller to play PS4 games on your PS5. That may throw a wrench into your plans to play newer games with older tech, but there's a reason why Sony made this decision.

There are a variety of PS5-centric features your DualSense controller is capable of that the PS4 controller cannot do. Sony touched on this in a statement on the PlayStation Blog, noting that "PS5 games should take advantage of the new capabilities and features we're bringing to the platform." That means the DualSense's adaptive triggers, for one, and a host of other things that come along with purchasing a PS5 controller.

In fact, when you connect a PS4 controller with your PS5 and play a PS5 title, you'll be warned about this very thing. The console will let you know that "PS5 games can't be played using the DualShock 4." But you shouldn't let this keep you from enjoying PS4 titles on your PS5 with an older controller, and there are still plenty of reasons to proceed.

But how do you go about using a PS4 controller with your PS5? Here's how you can get set up in just minutes.

How to use a PS4 DualShock 4 controller on PS5

The back of the DualShock 4 controller

(Image credit: Sony)

If you want to use your old PS4 DualShock 4 controller with your PS5, setup is a breeze. Even if you can't use your controller with PS5 titles, you can still get your game on with PS4 games and use a second DualShock controller for co-op and multiplayer games. You might also prefer playing PS4 games the way they were intended: with the original PlayStation 4 controller.

To use a PS4 controller on PS5, you'll need to grab a micro USB charging cable to plug your PS4 controller into your PS5. You'll be asked which PS5 user will be using the controller, so make sure you choose the profile that the DualShock 4 will be synced to. After doing that, unplug the charging cable. Your PS4 controller will be synced to the profile of your choice on PS5. From then on, you can start enjoying games as usual. 

This method works with many PS4 headsets as well. You can sync them in the same manner, and you can enjoy the console's new 3D audio.

Keep in mind that this controller hack, of sorts, doesn't work the other way around. You cannot use a PS5 controller on a PS4. But if you use a PC to game on, you can connect your PS5 DualSense controller to a PC. Now, go and get your game on!

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Brittany Vincent

Brittany Vincent is an accomplished freelance video game, technology, and entertainment writer whose work has been featured in various online and print publications. She’s been writing professionally for 15 years and her work can be found in dozens of print and digital publications such as Variety, Playboy, Rolling Stone, Wired, Maxim, Official Xbox Magazine, and more.