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How to use the PS5 DualSense controller on a PC

Use the PlayStation 5 controller on Windows PCs

DualSense controller
(Image: © Sony)

If you've ever wanted to use a PS5 DualSense controller on a PC to play your favorite games, it’s relatively easy to do so. Though the benefits of using mouse and keyboard are clear, particularly in FPS games, there are some genres that just play better with a controller, and Sony's pad is a great option.

The PS5 DualSense controller, one of the best controllers for PC, is super comfortable to hold, and it’s nice to get a bit of extra mileage out of your gamepads when you can. It’s also nice to play some PC games with a controller instead of a mouse and keyboard, especially if you’ve got your rig setup in your living room.

The controller works both wired and wirelessly if your PC supports Bluetooth, and you’ll need a USB-C to USB-A lead if you plan on using the controller wired. If your PC has a USB-C input, you can also use a USB-C to USB-C lead.

If you do use your PS5 DualSense controller on PC, it’s important to remember that the adaptive triggers won’t be utilized when playing the vast majority of PC games. However, Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition recently received an update that added full support for the DualSense controller's adaptive triggers and haptic feedback, as well as Assassin's Creed Valhalla. This suggests that we could see more games take advantage of the DualSense controller's unique features in the future, which is exciting for PC owners who prefer using Sony's new pad. 

Steam has recently received a small update that allows players to customize the DualSense controller's LED light, which adds some extra functionality. You can either enable, disable, or only illuminate it when multiple controllers are connected.  We're still waiting to see if the controller's haptics and adaptive triggers will eventually be supported, though.

Note that the controller's 3.5mm audio jack isn't currently supported on PC, so you’ll have to plug your headphones directly into your computer or use a pair of wireless headphones instead. Still, if you're interested in using Sony's pad, here’s how to use the PS5 DualSense controller on a PC.

1. How to use the PS5 DualSense controller with Steam 

The most popular storefront and game launcher on PC, Steam lets you use the PS5 DualSense controller on your PC when running the application, and it’s a great choice when using Steam’s TV-friendly ‘Big Picture Mode’. 

First, open up Steam and navigate to the top left. Click Steam > Settings > Controller > General Controller Settings. Connect your DualSense using either a wired or wireless connection (see how to connect via Bluetooth below). Once connected, Steam will show that you have a generic controller plugged in, and may even prompt you to configure it. If not, click on the device and select ‘Define Layout’.

From here, you can map the buttons to however you see fit. The touchpad, for instance, can be mapped as a button, but make sure that the triggers (R2 and L2 buttons) are mapped as an analog input, not as a button. 

PS5 DualSense controller Steam

(Image credit: Resetera)

When you’ve finished tweaking things to your preference, save and name the device (it’s probably easiest if you just call it DualSense). Also, make sure you select that it’s a PlayStation 4 controller, as this will enable PlayStation button prompts in supported titles.

Finally, on the Controller Settings menu, enable Generic Gamepad Configuration Support and PlayStation Configuration Support. You should see a tick next to the relevant box. 

Your DualSense PS5 controller should now work in all your Steam games, but make sure it loads the Steam overlay otherwise it might not be recognized. 

2. Connect the PS5 DualSense controller to your PC via USB

DualSense

(Image credit: Sony)

You'll need to use a USB-C to USB-A cable, as the DualSense uses USB type C port instead of micro USB like the DualShock 4. 

Simply plug the cable into both the controller and your PC, an Windows should automatically detect it. If your PC is equipped with dedicated USB-C port, you could also use a USB-C to USB-C cable. 

3. Connect the PS5 DualSense controller to your PC via Bluetooth

DualSense PS button

(Image credit: Sony)

The DualSense can connect to your PC via Bluetooth, if you’d like to be free of wires. You’ll need to make sure that your PC or laptop has a Bluetooth receiver built in, but if it doesn’t, you can pick up a variety of cheap Bluetooth USB dongles, like the Tiny USB 2.0 Bluetooth Mini Wireless Adapter

To connect the PS5 DualSense controller via Bluetooth, press and hold the central PS Button and the Create button for three seconds until the lightbar in the middle of the controller begins to flash.

Next, you’ll need to open up the Bluetooth settings on your PC. In Windows 10, click on the speech bubble icon in the Taskbar located at the bottom-right corner of your screen. This will open up the Action Center, so from there click ‘Bluetooth’ and then select ‘Wireless Controller’. 

If you’re asked to enter a pair code, type in 0000. The PS5 DualSense controller should now be connected via Bluetooth to your PC. No more wires!

Adam Vjestica

Adam is a Senior Gaming Writer at TechRadar. A law graduate with an exceptional track record in content creation and online engagement, Adam has penned scintillating copy for various technology sites, and also established his very own award-nominated video games website. He’s previously worked at Nintendo of Europe as a Content Marketing Editor and once played Halo 5: Guardians for over 51 hours for charity. (He’s still recovering to this day.)