The PlayStation 5Sony’s DualSense controller is Sony’s best in a long time. It’s comfortable, good for large and medium-sized hands, textured and has clicky, responsive buttons. On the PS5, it even offers detailed haptic feedback and a trigger with resistance that can adjust based on the game you’re playing.
Just because you play on a computer doesn’t mean you have to use a keyboard and mouse. Some games make more sense with a controller, or maybe you just want to kick back on the couch with your computer connected to a TV. And you can connect a PS5 controller to your computer.
Microsoft and PlayStation may be rivals in the gaming space, but ultimately, the PS5 controller connects via Bluetooth, so it’s pretty easy to connect it to your PC for gaming. With this tutorial, we’ll get you connected and help you set up your PS5 controller for use on a PC.
Here’s how to connect a PS5 controller to a computer:
Connect PS5 Controller to PC via Bluetooth or Wire
There are two ways to connect your PS5 controller to a computer. The first way is use the wire that came with it. Insert the USB Type-C end into the DualSens as you will charge it, but put the USB Type-A end into one of your computer’s USB ports. Boom — your controller is connected in wired mode. By PlayStation’s definition, this is how you get official support.
The biggest advantage of connecting to a PC this way is that some PC games can use the haptics of the PS5 controller, but they usually require a cable connection.
That said, it’s more comfortable to play wirelessly. For that, you have to use Bluetooth. To connect a PS5 controller to a computer via Bluetooth:
1. Go to Settings > Bluetooth & Devices in Windows.
2. Click “Add device”.
3. Select “Bluetooth”.
4. Hold the PS and Share buttons on your PS5 controller until the lighting around the touchpad turns blue and flashes rapidly. The share button is the one just to the left of the touch.
5. Select “Wireless Controller” from the list of Bluetooth devices.
The PS5 controller will connect to your computer, and you will receive a confirmation message indicating that you are ready to go. Some games will recognize the PlayStation’s DirectInput drivers and even allow key remapping. But many require a little extra work.
On a Mac? Go to Settings > Bluetooth and press the same buttons on the PS5 controller. macOS Ventura immediately recognizes it as a DualSense controller, rather than something generic.
Set up the PS5 Controller in Steam
On Windows, the best way to set up a PS5 controller is to use Steam, specifically its “Big Picture Mode”.
1. Enter Big Picture Mode by going to View > Big Picture or by clicking the icon for it in the upper right corner of the Steam Window.
2. From here, you will be able to move with the PS5 controller. Go to Settings > Controller Settings.
3. Check “PlayStation Setup Support.” This is especially important because it will allow you to customize your PS5 controls for Steam games and big screen mode back in the main settings menu.
From here, you can also click “preferences” to give your controller a name, change noise levels, and change its light color. (I like to turn the brightness all the way down to save battery life.)
There is also a “calibrate” option, although you shouldn’t touch that unless you have problems with the joysticks or gyros.
Using the PS5 Controller Outside of Steam
Not every game is on Steam, but you can still use Steam’s excellent DualSense support for games from other launchers, such as the Epic Games Store. From Steam, go to Games > Add Non-Steam Game to My Library…” and search for titles you want to use with the Steam Overlay.
Alternatively, you can try other programs. A favorite I’ve tried is DS4Windows, which takes the inputs from your gamepad and maps them onto a “virtual” supported in Windows. This route is one to try if you don’t want to add games through Steam, or maybe if you play copied games.
Some games with button apps may not have support for PlayStation 5 controller buttons. Sometimes, community mods can handle this, but in other cases it might be more helpful to memorize which PS5 buttons correspond to which Xbox controller buttons.
What to Do If You Have Sound Problems
If your sound stops working while using a PS5 controller on a PC, check your sound settings. The PS5 controller has a built-in speaker that sometimes plays sounds during games. It doesn’t play well as a Windows speaker though, even though your computer can recognize it as such. Be sure to turn your speakers, headphones, or monitors back on if this happens.
I’ve only ever had it happen while the PS5 controller is connected via USB cable.