PS4 DualShock Controller with Nintendo Switch

Sure, the Joy-Cons are pretty amazing with their impressive haptic feedback and sweet motion controls. But, there are only a handful of games that really take advantage of all the special technology that Switch offers. That's where a fancy gaming controller comes in. If you don't want to invest in the $70 for a Pro Controller, and you already have a PS4 DualShock controller (Or a Bluetooth PS3 controller, Wii Mote, Wii U Pro, or an Xbox One S/X controller), you can get the best gaming experience around!

What you need

Using PS4 DualShock Controller with Nintendo Switch

Obviously, you'll need a Bluetooth controller. I'm specifically using the DualShock Controller for PS4, but if you have a Bluetooth controller, like the Bluetooth PS3 controller, Wii Mote, Wii U Pro, Xbox One S/X controller, or one of 8BitDo's retro controllers, you can use one of those, too.

You'll also need a wireless Bluetooth adapter that connects to your Switch's Dock. It has to be a USB-A dongle. You don't want an audio adapter.

I'm using 8BitDo's Wireless USB Adapter because it's specially designed to work with Nintendo Switch, and even supports motion controls and vibration when paired with the PS4 DualShock controller.

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There are other options available, but I'll be using 8BitDo's Wireless USB Adapter.

How to set up your wireless Bluetooth adapter

Using PS4 DualShock Controller with Nintendo Switch

Your wireless adapter for Bluetooth controllers will look a lot like a USB flash drive. You'll need to connect it to your Nintendo Switch Dock.

First, make sure your Switch is docked properly. Then, plug the wireless adapter into the Switch's USB port. There are two on the left side of the Dock and one on the back.

The USB port on the back side is squished in between the power cable and the HDMI cable and is more difficult to reach. I can't even fit the 8BitDo Wireless USB Adapter in that port. I recommend using one of the two ports on the left side of the dock.

Wireless adapters only work while the Switch is connected to the Dock or with a USB-C adapter.

Make sure that the Dock is powered up. While in the Dock, wake up your Switch. You'll see a green LED indicator light on the Dock near the USB ports. This lets you know that the Dock is powered up.

How to pair your Bluetooth controller to your Nintendo Switch

Using PS4 DualShock Controller with Nintendo Switch

Before you try to pair your Controller, there's one important step: enabling Pro Controller Wired Communication. No Bluetooth controller will work without this enabled.

  1. Select System Settings on your Nintendo Switch.
  2. Scroll down and select Controllers and Sensors from the menu.
  3. Select Pro Controller Wired Communications to turn it on.

Once you've enabled Pro Controller Wired Communications, you can pair your Switch with your Bluetooth controller.

Using PS4 DualShock Controller with Nintendo Switch

Make sure the Switch is in the Dock and awake.

Press the Pairing button on your wireless Bluetooth adapter. On 8BitDo's adapter, it's the button at the end (the only button on the dongle). Most LED status lights for pairing will blink rapidly, but consult your adapter's instructions if you're unsure.

Begin pairing your Bluetooth controller.

On the PS4 DualShock Controller, hold down the PS button and Share button at the same time. The indicator light will blink white to show it's in pairing mode.

PS4 DualShock Controller

If the blinking white light doesn't turn blue, I suggest pressing one of the buttons. This seems to work for me every time.

Once the white blinking on the PS4 DualShock controller turns solid blue, it should be paired. If it's not, follow the steps again.

Troubleshooting pairing the PS4 DualShock controller to Nintendo Switch

Using PS4 DualShock Controller with Nintendo Switch

I noted a couple of issues pairing and using the PS4 DualShock controller with my Switch using the 8BitDo Wireless USB Adapter.

  • The controller goes to sleep while in use - This is an annoying issue that can really mess up a game. If this happens, hold down the PS button until the LED status light blinks rapidly and then let go. Then, press the PS button again. The status button should blink white for a few seconds and then turn blue.

  • The controller doesn't pair with the Switch - If the DualShock controller doesn't seem to want to start talking to your Switch, try removing the wireless adapter from the Dock and plugging it back in. If that doesn't work, restart your Switch and try again. Don't forget to make sure you've turned on Pro Controller Wired Communication.

Wireless Bluetooth adapter options

Using PS4 DualShock Controller with Nintendo Switch

There are some other wireless Bluetooth adapters that might be more to your liking. These are the most popular ones (other than 8BitDo's Wireless USB Adapter)

Your experience?

Have you been using your favorite Bluetooth controller with your Nintendo Switch? Which adapter do you use and what controller?

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