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Microsoft’s new Xbox controller firmware lets you quickly switch between paired devices

Microsoft’s new Xbox controller firmware lets you quickly switch between paired devices


A new Xbox controller update is coming soon

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Existing Xbox One controllers.
Existing Xbox One controllers.
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

Microsoft is starting to test a new firmware update for existing Xbox One, Xbox Elite 2, and Xbox Adaptive Controllers today that will bring some important improvements to existing hardware. The biggest addition is the ability to quickly switch between paired devices on an Xbox controller, and Microsoft is also adding Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) to improve input latency on older controllers.

This new firmware update includes Bluetooth Low Energy support for compatible controllers. Most of Microsoft’s existing Xbox One controllers include Bluetooth support for use on smartphones or PCs, but the controllers connect to Xbox consoles through the Xbox Wireless protocol. This new firmware will now make it easier to switch between the two, allowing the controllers to remember your Bluetooth phone and an Xbox console and quickly switch between connected devices by double-tapping the pair button.

DLI support is coming to Xbox One controllers

Microsoft’s other main addition is DLI, which reduces the input latency on controllers connected to Xbox Series X / S consoles to make gameplay more responsive. The addition of DLI means any older Xbox One controller will have reduced latency with an Xbox Series S or X console, just like the latest controllers that ship with these consoles.

Both are new features that the latest Xbox Series X / S controllers already support, but it’s good to see Microsoft extend this to older hardware. “We believe it’s important to maintain backward compatibility with Xbox accessories people already have in their collection and to ensure we deliver the best gaming experience no matter how you choose to play,” says Daniel Ruiz, a product marketing manager for Xbox accessories.

Microsoft is starting to test this new controller firmware with Alpha Skip-Ahead and Alpha Xbox Insiders today, and it should arrive for all Xbox owners in the coming months.