Activate Bluetooth on your Stadia Controller

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Google has shut down its Stadia cloud game streaming service, but is giving the wireless Stadia controller a second chance as a Bluetooth controller that can connect to PCs, Macs, phones, and presumably other devices as well. The change does not happen automatically; it is a manual process that cannot be undone. Plus, you only have until December 31, 2023 to make the switch to enable Bluetooth wirelessly. After that date, any unconverted Stadia controller will still function as a wired USB gamepad, but will no longer be able to play wireless games.

I’m going to walk you through the process of converting your Stadia controller using Google’s browser-based tool.

Charge your controller, plug it in and open the tool

  • Make sure your controller is charged above the 10 percent level. (You can’t continue until it has enough charge.)
  • Open Google’s Stadia Controller Update tool in Chrome or Microsoft Edge. (Signing in to your Google account is not necessary or even possible to complete this process.)
  • Click on the start button in the Switch to Bluetooth mode section. You will be asked to agree to the Google Terms of Service. (Agreeing is the only option that allows you to proceed.)
A screenshot showing how to put your Google Stadia controller into Bluetooth mode

The first step is to select “start” to switch the controller to Bluetooth mode.

Let the browser authenticate the controller

  • Next, you need to allow your browser to authenticate the controller. Click the Allow Chrome to authenticate knob.
  • This will cause a small drop-down menu to appear in the top left corner of your browser. Your Stadia Controller should be visible. Choose the Connect option.
A screenshot showing how to put your Google Stadia controller into Bluetooth mode

A drop-down in your browser looks like this and shows your controller.

Follow the on-screen prompts to unlock your controller’s firmware

At this point, the tool will show you a series of button commands that you need to press to enable the conversion from Wi-Fi to Bluetooth. Here are the button prompts in order:

  • First, unplug your controller. In the instructions, Google notes that if it turns back on, you’ll need to hold the Stadia button for four seconds to force it off.
  • Hold down the option button (it looks like an ellipse with three horizontal dots) while plugging in the controller. The instructions say that the status light under the main Stadia button should not be lit and that you should retry the process if it turns on.
  • Finally, press the same options button, plus the Google Assistant button (with four differently sized circles) just below it, along with A and Y. That’s four buttons in all. (The instructions say there will be no rumbling or any kind of feedback from the controller.)
A screenshot showing how to put your Google Stadia controller into Bluetooth mode

You need a series of button combinations to unlock your Stadia Controller.

Let the browser download the Bluetooth mode update

To install the update, you’ll need to select your controller again, following a similar process as before.

  • Touch Allow Chrome to download.
  • Select Connect in the drop-down menu in your browser. This time it can be listed as SP Blank RT family, Stadia controlleror USB COMPOUND DEVICE.
A screenshot showing how to put your Google Stadia controller into Bluetooth mode

At this point in the process, your controller may have a different name, so keep that in mind.

Let your browser install Bluetooth mode

Again, the next step is for you to allow the browser to install the update. Select the controller (it may have one of the names listed in the previous step) for the last step that will enable Bluetooth.

A screenshot showing how to put your Google Stadia controller into Bluetooth mode

Hold Y and the Stadia button to link the controller to devices, as this figure illustrates.

Connect to devices via Bluetooth

To wirelessly connect your Stadia Controller to devices via Bluetooth, press and hold the Y and Stadia buttons at the same time for two seconds. The status light flashes orange to indicate that the controller is in pairing mode. Google notes that once paired with a device, it automatically connects to the last paired device when powered on.

Correction January 17, 4:42 PM ET: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Stadia controllers missing the December 31, 2023 update window will be useless. However, they still work as wired USB controllers.

Updated January 18 at 8:30am ET: Slightly modified to indicate that the Stadia service has been shut down.

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