Does the PS4 controller work with PS3? (Complete guide)

Update: I have added a few new elements to this article to keep it fresh. I’ve added a new “Pros and cons of using a PS4 controller with a PS3” section. I have also added two new videos to the article. Thanks again for taking the time to read the article. Every second you spend on CareerGamers is massively appreciated. All the very best. Nick.

The other day my cousin asked me to go over to her house to have a game. However, when I got there, I was shocked to find her good old “George Foreman” PS3 sitting on the floor, wires snaking out to the TV. She wanted to play a couple of old COD games. But there was a problem: she only had 1 PS3 controller. And I’d brought my PS4 controller with me by mistake.

So, we both assumed that our afternoon of gaming was out the window…

But, that got me thinking…

Does the Playstation 4 Controller actually work on a PS3? After all, both consoles use USB cables and Bluetooth.

After drawing my trusty iPhone from my pocket, and filtering through a few forums, I was pleasantly surprised by my answer…

Yes, the Playstation 4 Controller does work with the PlayStation 3. The PS4 Controller can connect to a PS3 by using a wired USB cable connection, or you can pair the PS4 controller wirelessly with your PS3 using Bluetooth. 

So now you know that your PS4 controller is going to work with a PS3, now you need to know how to connect them and what issues you might have along the way! 

How do I connect a PS4 controller to a PS3 with a cable?

Connecting a PS4 controller to a PS3 is really easy when you do it with a cable! 

In fact, it was the only way of connecting a PS4 controller to a PS3 until recently! But sometimes the old ways work best! 

Here are the steps you need to follow:

Step 1: Locate your Micro USB cable and plug the USB end into your PS3. If you don’t have a long enough Micro USB cable, I’d recommend this 3-meter (10-foot) micro-USB lead (This is an Amazon Affiliate link. Your purchases literally help me keep the money-men from Dreamhost (Server provider for CG) off my back. So thanks for any and all support you can give me 🙂 ).

Step 2: Plug the other end of this cable into your DualShock 4

Step 3: Turn on the PS3

Step 4: When the PS3 is on, press the PS button on the PS4 controller

Step 5: Make sure you assign the controller to ‘Controller 1’

Step 6: Enjoy gaming on your PS3! 

Your Dualshock 4 will now be compatible with the PS3. You’ll be able to play most games and you will be able to play with other players. 

How do I connect a PS4 controller to a PS3 wirelessly?

Wireless seems to be the in-thing at the moment, and rightly so. Who wants loads of cables all over the place? They’re just a tripping hazard! 

Evidently Sony thought the same, so they made the PS4 controller wirelessly compatible with a PS3! 

A few years ago a new update was sent out to improve the PS3’s firmware. This so-called 4.60 update allowed for wireless connections between PS4 controllers and PS3 consoles! There was also a new update to the PS4 controller itself too – the 1.72 update. 

A win for all! 

Anyway, back to business. Here’s how you connect your DualShock 4 wirelessly to a PS3:

Step 1: Plug in your PS4 controller to your PS3 using the USB cable and switch on your PS3 

Step 2: Go to ‘Accessory Settings’ and select this option

Step 3: Select ‘Manage Bluetooth Devices’

Step 4: Press ‘Register a New Device’

Step 5: Now the PS3 will start to scan for possible devices – disconnect USB cable now

Step 6: As the PS3 scans for new devices hold down the ‘PS’ and ‘Share’ buttons on the PS4 controller

Step 7: When the light bar on the PS4 starts to flash the PS3 and PS4 controller have synced – plug the USB cable back in

Step 8: Select ‘Wireless Controller’ and unplug the USB cable. The process is complete

Okay, so the wireless route may seem a little bit more fiddly but in the end, you’ll get a wireless controller to play with! You really don’t need to spend more than 10 minutes tops doing this too. 

Issues to consider with both methods

There are always minor setbacks within the tech world. But, the issues I’m about to mention next really shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance to you and your gameplay! 

When you’ve connected the PS4 controller via a cable to your PS3, there aren’t too many issues normally. 

However, one small problem that is mentioned quite often by gamers is, when you connect an additional PS3 controller to your PS3 after you’ve connected a DualShock 4, sometimes games automatically pick the PS3 controller as the ‘main’ controller. 

A way to stop a PS3 controller from becoming the ‘main’ controller is to assign the PS3 controller to ‘Controller 2’.

The wireless route has a few more issues in comparison.

A biggy with the wireless method is that the PS4 is seen as a ‘generic controller’. What I mean by this is, the PS3 doesn’t see that it has a new generation controller plugged in. Meaning all the fabulous features on a DualShock 4 won’t work.,

Features you won’t see are: the touchpad won’t work properly, if at all. Plus, haptic feedback isn’t going to be on point, either!   

But, if you’re okay with not having haptics and a touchpad these problems aren’t going to be that big of a problem for you! 

Another minor issue, and I’m not even sure it’s an issue to be fair, is that you must re-pair your PS4 controller with your PS4 when you go back to playing on this gen console. It’s all pretty basic stuff and it won’t take you long to do either! 

Pros and Cons of Using a PS4 Controller on a PS3

In the gaming universe, it’s not uncommon for players to want to mix and match their gear. After all, who doesn’t love a good power-up? Using a PS4 controller on a PS3 console is one such combo move, and it comes with its own set of power-ups and pitfalls. Let’s dive into the digital realm and explore the pros and cons of this controller crossover.


1. Familiarity: If you’ve upgraded from a PS3 to a PS4, you’ve probably spent countless hours mastering the DualShock 4’s layout. Using the PS4 controller on your PS3 can feel like bringing a trusted sidekick into an old gaming battle. The familiarity can enhance your gameplay, making those quick-time events a breeze.

2. Enhanced Ergonomics: The PS4 controller is a step up from its predecessor in terms of design and comfort. It’s like swapping your old leather armor for a shiny new set of chainmail. The improved triggers and analog sticks can make those long gaming sessions less taxing on your hands.

3. Touchpad Functionality: While the touchpad doesn’t fully function with all PS3 games, it does work as a button in most cases. It’s like having an extra power-up in your inventory that you didn’t know about!


1. Limited Functionality: Unfortunately, using a PS4 controller on a PS3 feels a bit like playing a game with a few missing pixels. Some features of the DualShock 4, such as the touchpad and the headphone jack, don’t work fully or at all on the PS3. It’s like trying to use a magic spell that your character hasn’t fully learned yet.

2. Syncing Issues: Sometimes, the PS3 might recognize the PS4 controller as a generic controller, leading to potential syncing issues. It’s a bit like when your character doesn’t quite respond to your commands, causing you to miss that crucial jump.

3. Re-pairing Requirement: After using your PS4 controller with your PS3, you’ll need to re-pair it with your PS4. While this isn’t a major boss battle, it’s an extra step that can feel like a minor inconvenience in your gaming journey.

In the grand quest of gaming, using a PS4 controller on a PS3 can be a unique adventure with its own set of challenges and rewards. Like any good game, it’s all about understanding the mechanics, adapting to the situation, and enjoying the experience. Happy gaming!


A PS4 controller can be used with a PS3 console! Yay!

There are 2 ways you can connect the PS4 controller to the PS3 and both ways are good. There’s no real difference between the 2 ways, other than a cable or no cable.

Games will still play and run as they should, and you can connect other controllers when the PS4 controller is connected. Just make sure you assign the controllers to the order you want them to be in.

So, there are some issues, but really in the grand scale of things the problems above are minuscule. In a nutshell, the fact that a newer device can be paired with an older console is good enough. What’s a few haptics between friends?! 


Does a PS4 controller work on a PC? The simple answer is, yes! Techradar has all the details for you, check out what they had to say here

Does a PS4 controller work on switch? Yes, it does! Here’s an article that’ll be able to help you out. Check out what Gamerevolution has to say here

Does a PS4 controller work on Steam? You guessed it, yes it does. See what PCGamesn had to say about this here


Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5

Nick Sinclair

Nick Sinclair, a gaming aficionado since the Commodore 64 era, studied Creative Computer Games Design in university before founding his own gaming company. Discovering a passion for content creation, Nick now helps gamers squeeze every drop of fun out of their favorite gaming hardware

Recent Posts