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Xbox controller sync trick is perfect for Xbox Game Pass power users

Great news if you play often on mobile or PC

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A studio portrait of the Xbox Core Controller in Robot White. It’s tasteful drop shadow looks totally artificial. Image: Microsoft
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Microsoft’s Xbox Series X arrived in November, and reviewers and consumers alike have been busy putting the new console through its paces. One feature that wasn’t advertised concerns the Series X’s new controller, which has the hidden (and helpful) ability to quickly switch between two devices.

The tip comes courtesy of Microsoft employee Timo Wolf, who dropped the knowledge in a tweet Monday morning. As Wolf notes, it’s a feature that could be immensely helpful for Xbox Game Pass subscribers who play games across mobile, Windows PC, and Xbox.

The new Xbox Wireless Controller has a sync button on the front, just like the old one. You can still use it to pair a new controller with an existing console by holding it down for a long press. Same goes if you’d like to pair the controller with a Windows 10 PC or an Android device. You can also use a shorter press of the sync button to quickly switch the controller back to the last previously connected device.

If the written description is a bit hard to get your head around, there’s also a handy video demonstrating the feature. Wolf shows how the new controller can recall the last device that it was attached to. Just hold down the sync button, wait for the light on the controller to blink twice, and then double-tap the sync button to switch to that previous device.

The feature only works with the Xbox’s proprietary wireless connection and Bluetooth devices. You won’t be able to take advantage of it if you use the Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows 10. iOS devices are also excluded — at least for now.

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