Will the Xbox Series X/S controller work on Xbox One?


A friend of mine, who lives in a shared house, asked me the other day if it was possible to use his new Xbox Series X controller on his friend’s older Xbox One. 

He explained to me that his friend has a number of digitally bought multiplayer games like Call of Duty, and they wanted to play Split screen.  

I knew the old Xbox One controller was forward compatible and worked on the new Xbox Series X and S. 

But was the new Xbox Series X and S controller backward compatible? Would it work on an older Xbox One? 

So I said to him in my thick Welsh accent, “give me 20 minutes fella, and I’ll text you back an answer”. 

I pulled out my old Xbox One, brick that it is, wired it up, plugged it in, and ignited it into action with a press of the power button. And with the Xbox Series X controller in hand, I found my answer… 

So, will the Xbox Series X/S controller work on the Xbox One? Yes, the Xbox Series X/S controller will work on Xbox One. You can connect the new Xbox Series X/S controller to an Xbox One, One S, and One X wirelessly and with a cable just as you would an Xbox One controller. The only difference is, if connecting with a cable, you’ll need a USB-C to USB-A cable instead of a Micro USB to USB-A cable. 

Ok, now that you know the Xbox Series X/S controller can be connected to an Xbox One, let’s take a look at how to connect it in more detail. Plus, we’ll look at the differences between controllers and what each new feature offers. 

How do you connect the Xbox Series X controller to an Xbox One? 

Now you know the new Xbox Series X/S controller can be used with an Xbox One. But how exactly do you connect it to Microsoft’s older console? 

Fortunately, connecting the new controller is essentially exactly the same as connecting the old Xbox One controller. You can connect both wirelessly and with a USB cable. 

Let’s take a look at both. 

Wirelessly 

What you’ll need:

  • Xbox Series X/S controller 
  • Xbox One / One X / One S

Here’s the method:

1: On the front of your Xbox One, press the “Pair Button”. The Xbox Logo should start Flashing. 

  • The Pair button is found in different places depending on which Xbox One you are using
  • Xbox One – Pair button is found around the corner on the side near the disk tray
  • Xbox One S – The pair button is below the power button 
  • Xbox One X – The pair button is also found below the power button. 

2: Next, press the pair button on the Xbox Series X/S Controller. The Xbox Logo should start flashing. 

3: Once the Xbox controller logo stops flashing, and is continuously lit, the controller has established a connection to the console and is ready to use. 

Wired

What you’ll need:

  • a USB-C type to USB-A type cable
  • Xbox Series X/S controller 
  • Xbox One / Xbox One S / Xbox One X

Note: The Micro USB cables your Xbox One controllers use will not work. You’ll need a USB-C to USB-A cable similar to the one that comes with the Xbox Series X console. If you need a longer USB-C to USB-A cable, I recommend an Anker Powerline 10ft USB-C to USB-A cable as they are high quality and it gives you enough length to sit back comfortably on a sofa while playing. 

Here’s the method: 

1: Take the USB-C – USB-A cable and plug the USB-C end into the controller. 

2: Plug the USB-A end into the console. You can do this either on the front or the back of the console. It makes no difference. 

3: The controller’s Logo should light up and it’s ready to play with. 

Is the Xbox Series X controller any different from the Xbox One controller? 

Now you know that the new Xbox Series X/S controller can be used with the old consoles. 

But I think it’s worth keeping in mind that the two controllers are different. Microsoft made some very minor changes to the newer controller to increase its ease of use. 

The reason they were kept minor was to ensure backward and forward compatibility between all devices. 

So what exactly are the changes? Let’s take a look.

Smaller controller

The controllers is slightly smaller and lighter.

The series X controller was designed to fit snugly into the hands of an average 8-year-old. Therefore the controller has been made ever so slightly smaller. And It’s trimmed a few grams of fat so it’s lighter too.

However, if you do have big hands, don’t worry. The controller still has the same ergonomic layout and in hand feels exactly the same. 

Textured A, B, X, and Y buttons

The face buttons have lost their glossy appearance and now have a mat textured finish to give your fingers more grip. 

Grippy Triggers

Tactile dots have been added to the triggers to increase grip levels. Your fingers should now stay more firmly fixed to the triggers when you squeeze them instead of sliding up and down like on the Xbox One Controller.

Shiny New D-Pad

A redesigned D-pad makes it easier to input diagonal directions. This is great for menu navigation and Street Fighter purists. 

However, the new controller can give players a slight advantage in games that use d-pads for movement, such as fighting games. 

USB-C Charging

The Xbox Series X controller uses USB-C for charging. However, to charge via this USB-C, you need to buy the official Xbox Series X controller charge and play kit, which I do not recommend. Instead, you should buy a set of rechargeable AA batteries. Find out why rechargeable AA batteries are the best option for your Xbox Series X or Xbox One controller here

Dynamic Latency input

The new controller makes use of Dynamic Latency input. This means the input from the controller syncs up to the game’s current frame rate to reduce the latency between button press and on-screen action. 

Xbox Series X controller has a share button 

The Xbox Series X/S controller now comes with a share button, just like its PS4 counterpart, the DualShock 4. 

How it works is identical on both the Xbox Series X/S and the Xbox one. To take a screenshot you press and release the share button. To grab a video, you press and hold the share button. 

Conclusion

Right then. It’s that time in the article where I give you a lovely summary of everything we’ve talked about: 

  • The Xbox Series X/S controller can be used on the Xbox One, One S, and One X
  • The controller can be connected wirelessly or with a cable
    • See above how to connect it wirelessly or with a wire 
    • Remember, you’ll need a USB-C to USB-A cable to plug the new Xbox Series S/X controller into the Xbox One. 
    • I recommended the Anker Powerline 10ft USB-C to USB-A if you want to play with the controller plugged in
  • The Xbox Series X does have some new features compared to the older Xbox One controller
    • Textures triggers and buttons 
    • Share button 
    • The new controller is smaller and slightly more ergonomic 
    • USB-Charging 
    • Redesigned D-pad 
    • Makes use of Dynamic Latency input
  • Players using an Xbox Series X/S controllers have no advantage over players using an Xbox One controller in 99% of games. 
  • However, in fighting games that often make use of the d-pad, the Xbox Series X controller does have a slight advantage due to the redesigned d-pad.   

What Next? 

How do I charge the Xbox Series X/S controller? The Xbox Series X/S controller can be charged using, among other ways, power packs, standard AA batteries, and rechargeable AA batteries. I recommend rechargeable AA batteries as they provide the best performance per dollar spent. I wrote an in-depth article about the advantages of using rechargeable AA batteries in an Xbox One / Series X/S controller here

What is the Xbox Series X/s power cable length? The power cable length is roughly 1.5 meters of 5ft. Take a look at my article here if you’re looking for a longer power cable. 

Can Xbox Series X/S players play online with Xbox One players? Yes, Xbox Series X/S players can play online with Xbox One players. Take a look at my article here to see how it’s done.  

Thank you

Thanks for taking the time to read this article. I hope you get as much use out of it as I got joy from writing it. 

If you want to, please feel free to leave a comment. I’ve gotten rid of the pesky little need for you to input your email. So fire away with your questions, criticisms, witticisms. 

Also, though I hate to ask, if you have a spare $3 dollars rattling around in your bank – I know, who does these days right? – I’d really appreciate a coffee to help go towards running this website. I run on coffee, decaf Costas to be exact, and if the coffee dries up, the website may follow. Plus, it’ll help me move towards writing books and courses on how to make money from gaming, which is what this website is really all about. 

Anyway, thanks again for your support. I honestly couldn’t do this without you. Bye for now. Nick.

Nick Sinclair

Having played games since the golden age of the Commodore 64, Nick finally took the plunge and studied Creative Game Design in university. After 3 years of "Study", Nick co-founded a games company where he soon discovered his true calling: writing about games. 11 years later Nick writes about a tower of topics, but gaming is always stacked neatly at the top.

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