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March 31, 2017

How to use Nintendo Switch Joy-Con and Pro controllers on your PC

by John_A


There’s one serious benefit that’s emerged from Nintendo’s choice to use standard Bluetooth technology in the Nintendo Switch: You can easily use the console’s unique, high-quality controllers on PC, in MacOS, and even on Android devices. That includes both the Joy-Con motion controllers, which come with the console, and the Switch Pro Controller, a $70 extra purchase (worth it, though, for the controller’s stellar quality). And all you need to use these controllers on PC is a Bluetooth receiver.

Here’s what you need to know.

More: The most common issues plaguing the Nintendo Switch

How to connect the Joy-Con controllers

You can easily pair Joy-Con controllers with a Windows or Mac computer from directly within the Bluetooth menu. Follow the steps below to do so.

Step 1: Turn on Bluetooth on your PC.

Step 2: Disconnect the Joy-Con from the Switch as you would normally.

Step 3: Hold the “sync” button on the Joy-Con — which is located between the SR and SL buttons — until the LED lights start flashing. Use the image below, if you’re in need of further clarification.

Step 4: Look for the Joy-Con in your computer’s Bluetooth menu, and select the option to pair it with your device. There are some quirks, like the fact that the pairing lights on the Joy-Con won’t stop blinking. You can confirm that the controller is connected, however, by looking at your computer’s Bluetooth settings. If you see the error message below, move the controller around to ensure no other devices are interfering with the signal. Afterward, try again.

Unfortunately, the two Joy-Cons will be treated as separate controllers. That’s great for two-player games, but it makes the Joy-Cons useless for playing anything complex, like a first-person shooter (why are you using a controller to play a PC shooter anyway?).

No doubt the PC homebrew community will eventually come up with a way to pair both Joy-Cons as a single controller, and even to use the controllers’ unique features — like motion controls — on platforms other than the Switch. Until then, however, use the Joy-Cons for simple 2D games or retro games with an emulator, and be thankful Nintendo is letting this happen at all.

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