Your old Xbox One controller is about to get a lot more useful

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(Image credit: Microsoft)

Got a few unloved Xbox One controllers sitting alongside your Xbox Series X generation gamepads? Don’t look too harshly upon that workhorse of old – it’s about to get some very useful upgrades.

Microsoft is preparing a new firmware update, currently rolling out to those on the Xbox Insiders program that will bring the Xbox One pads more closely in line with the functionality you’d expect from the newer controllers.

From a gaming perspective, the most important update is the addition of  Dynamic Latency Input (DLI), precisely keeping your controller’s input timing in sync with that of the console to improve latency response. This update will come to Xbox One controllers with Bluetooth support, the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, and Xbox Adaptive Controllers.

This update will come with a secondary useful addition, taking advantage of the controller’s Bluetooth Low Energy standard. You’ll be able to pair the controllers with an Xbox console and, with a quick double tap of the pairing button, speedily switch to one other previously-assigned Bluetooth device, be that a Windows 10 PC, Android or iOS gadget.

Finally, those on the Alpha Skip-Ahead tier of the Insiders program will get access to an update taking advantage of the Xbox’s CEC HDMI support. They will be able to use their TV remotes to control the Xbox dashboard, with a single press of the Xbox controller button switching back and forth from TV to Xbox interface.

These, alongside some other smaller tweaks and improvements, will go into testing for those on the insider program before a wider roll out to all players.

Analysis: Long term support

The new features are much welcome, and again reinforce Microsoft’s commitment to supporting its legacy platforms this generation.

Keeping in mind that Xbox One pads are forwards-compatible with the Xbox Series X console, it’s now smartly made them more easily adjustable for its other big play – cloud gaming. Being able to quickly switch a pad from connecting to a phone playing on the Xbox Game Pass streaming app to a console again when back at home helps Microsoft to double down on its “Play Anywhere” mantra seamlessly.

And while being able to control a console with a TV remote is no new thing (CEC-compatible consoles have done it for years), it at least sees Microsoft listening to its audience when it comes to the return of this much-used feature.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.