ps5 controller not working in game

PS5 controller not working in game? 8 solutions that work

8 proven solutions to get your PS5 controller back in action

What happens when your PS5 controller works perfectly in the menu, but immediately after you start a game, it starts acting up?

We’ll explore the reasons behind this issue and suggest possible solutions to troubleshooting this problem to get you back in the game.

Why is my PS5 controller working in the menu but not in games?

There are some underlying issues responsible for your controller operating in the menu but not in games. Let’s examine each of these factors in further detail below:

  • Stuck L2 or R2 buttons: One primary culprit for your controller working in the menu but not in games is the presence of stuck buttons, particularly the L2 and R2 buttons.
  • Out-of-date firmware or software: Your controller can function flawlessly in the menu yet be inoperable while playing games due to bugs and technical issues caused by out-of-date system software.
  • Dying controller: Over time, controllers experience wear and tear, and most issues with the controller arise from using an old controller or a controller running out of battery life. One such issue is the controller working in the menu but not in games.

How to fix PS5 controller not working in-game?

To address the issue of your PS5 controller not working during games and restore your controller’s functionality in games, follow the steps outlined below: 

1. Check for stuck buttons

Stuck buttons are the most common hardware-related problem that can cause your controller to work in the menu but not in games. Some stuck buttons are quite visible in their depressed states, while others are not, and one way to figure that out is by visiting Gamepad Tester

Open the webpage on your PC, connect your controller, and press the buttons one after the other to test them. The tool will show you the current condition of your controller and alert you to any pressed buttons. If any of the buttons are pressed, you can fix that by applying a significant force to push them outward from the controller.

2. Power cycle the console 

Restarting and power cycling your console is the first step to resolving any issues with the console or the controller connected to it. To do this,

  1. Turn the console off and unplug the power cable from the wall outlet. Leave it for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Plug the power cable back on and turn the console on.

Try the following fixes if this does not work.

3. Reset the controller

A malfunctioning or old controller can cause the issue of the controller working in the menu but not in games, and resetting it can solve the issue. Here’s how to reset your PS5 controller:

  1. Disconnect the controller from the console and turn the console off.
  2. Locate the reset button, a small hole next to the Sony logo, at the back of your controller. 
reset ps5 controller
(Image credit: PlayStation)
  1. Put a small tool like a toothpick or a paperclip into the hole and push the button for 3-5 seconds.
  2. The controller will restart, so reconnect the controller to the PS5 console using the USB-C cable and press the PS button on the dualsense controller.

4. Connect through USB

There are two ways to connect your PS5 controller to your PC or console. The first is through a Bluetooth wireless connection, and the other is through a USB cable. If you’ve connected your controller to your console through Bluetooth, try switching to a wired connection by clicking through a USB cable.

To do this, first of all, turn off the Bluetooth by following the steps below:

  1. Go to the Settings menu.
  2. Select Accessories > General.
  3. Select ‘Turn Off Bluetooth.’

After turning the Bluetooth off, change the communication method on the console.

  1. Go to the Settings menu.
  2. Select Accessories > Controllers > Communication Method.
  3. Select ‘Use Cable’ and connect the controller using the USB-C cable to the console.

Quick note:

By turning off Bluetooth, the auto login feature will be disabled. Not to mention that the controller will need to be connected to your PS5 system through USB at all times.

5. Update the controller

If the above options have proved futile, consider updating the PS5 controller’s firmware. You can do this in two ways: directly on the PS5 console or using a PC.

Method #1 – Updating PS5 controller using the PS5

Usually, the PS5 controller is automatically updated when you update your PS5 system software. But to start an update manually, pair your controller and follow the instructions below:

  1. Go to the Settings menu
  2. Select Accessories > Controllers
  3. Choose Wireless Controller Device Software.
  4. Select ‘Update‘ if an update is available.

Method #2 – Updating PS5 controller using a PC

This can be done only on Windows 10 (64-bit) and Windows 11. To update the PS5 controller using a PC:

  1. Download the DualSense Firmware updater onto your PC.
  2. Install the app and launch it.
  3. Connect your controller to the PC using a USB cable, and start the update by following the on-screen instructions.
  4. Select OK after the update is done.

Quick tip:

Keep your controller connected via USB throughout the update process. Remember, you can only update one controller at a time. You’ll need to update each controller individually if you have multiple controllers.

6. Update the console

Keeping your PS5 system software updated fixes bugs and technical errors that can cause the controller to work in the menu but not in games. This can be done using a flash drive or the settings menu.

Updating PS5 using a flash drive

Here’s how to update your PS5 console through a USB flash drive:

  1. Turn off your PS5 console.
  2. Format your USB flash drive in FAT32 or exFAT format on a Mac or PC.

Note:

The storage capacity of your USB drive must be about 1.5 GB. Back up any important information on the USB drive before formatting.

  1. Create a folder on the drive for the update and save it as PS5. Create another folder within the PS5 folder and save it as UPDATE.
  2. Download the PS5 console update file and save it in the folder created as PS5UPDATE.PUP.
  3. Unplug the USB drive from the computer and plug it into your PS5 console.
  4. Boot your console in Safe Mode.
  5. Press and hold the power button, releasing it after you hear the second beep.
  6. Select Update System Software > Update from USB Storage Device > OK.

Updating PS5 from PS settings

To update your PS5 console through the Settings menu

  1. Go to the Settings menu.
  2. Select System > System Software > System Software Update and Settings.
  3. Choose ‘Update System Software’ to update.

7. Rebuild the database

Rebuilding the database can clear all corrupt data, errors, or bugs on the console that cause the controller not to work in games. To do this:

  1. Turn the console off and boot it safely.
  2. Connect the controller to the console using the USB cable and press the PS button.
  3. Select ‘Clear Cache and Rebuild Database.’
  4. Then select ‘Rebuild Database.’
  5. Allow the process to complete. Your PS5 will restart afterward.

8. Contact PlayStation support

If the above fixes don’t fix the issue, you can contact PlayStation Support for customer support.

The support team will offer personalized assistance, provide additional troubleshooting steps specific to your problem, or facilitate a repair or replacement if deemed necessary.

Your PS5 controller should be working in games now!

A controller working in the menu but not in games can be very frustrating. However, whether it’s a simple button adjustment or a more involved firmware update, these steps have been provided to help you troubleshoot this problem and get you back in the game with minimal downtime.

We encourage you to try these fixes one after the other, and with the right approach, you’ll be back in control of your virtual adventures on the PS5. Happy gaming!

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