PS4 Controller Is Not Working In RetroArch: 7 Ways to Fix It

PS4 controllers are a dream but a nightmare when not working

by Claire Moraa
Claire Moraa
Claire Moraa
Claire likes to think she's got a knack for solving problems and improving the quality of life for those around her. Driven by the forces of rationality, curiosity,... read more
Reviewed by Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Passionate about technology, Windows, and everything that has a power button, he spent most of his time developing new skills and learning more about the tech world. Coming... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • If you're a fan of retro games, then you know how important it is to have the right controller to maximize your experience. 
  • But sometimes, even if you have the best controller in the world, that doesn't mean it will work properly with RetroArch.
  • Luckily, there are a few tweaks that can help you get your controller working again as you shall see in this article.

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The PlayStation 4 controller is a great input device for retro gaming. It has a lot of buttons, it works well with most emulators, and it feels comfortable in your hand. However, sometimes it can happen that your PS4 controller will not work in RetroArch.

If you are a gamer and love to play retro games on your PS4, then you must have downloaded RetroArch or any other front-end emulator.

RetroArch is a very popular all-in-one emulator that can run on a wide variety of systems, including Linux, Windows, MacOSX, and Android, and lets you play old games on your modern gaming system.

Why isn’t my controller working with RetroArch?

There are many reasons why your PS4 controller might not be working with RetroArch. Below are some common reasons:

  • Interference from other devices – If you are using a wireless connection, then it is likely that your controller may not be working properly with RetroArch. The reason behind this problem is due to interference from other wireless devices in your vicinity such as Bluetooth devices, Wi-Fi routers, etc.
  • Outdated firmware – Another common problem with controllers is that they are running outdated firmware which doesn’t support certain functions properly. 
  • Incompatible controller – Ensure that your controller is compatible with RetroArch and able to work with the emulator. You can find out by looking at the controller compatibility list on the RetroArch website.
  • Wrong configuration – On most systems, RetroArch is able to automatically detect and configure the vast majority of controllers. However, there are some cases where you may need to manually configure your controller. If you don’t know how to set up your controller on RetroArch, it may not work well.
  • Outdated OS – If your controller doesn’t work with RetroArch, chances are it’s an issue with your computer. The controller may not be compatible with the OS version you’re using.
  • Faulty controller – Your controller might be broken or damaged. If it won’t work with any other programs or games either, then it’s possible that it’s just broken. 

Now that you know the possible causes of your controller woes, below are some reliable solutions that can help you address the problem with your PS4 controller not working in RetroArch.

What can I do if my PS4 controller is not working in RetroArch?

1. Try another USB port 

This is the first thing you should do when your PS4 controller stops working properly in RetroArch or any other program for that matter. Also, unplug other devices from USB ports (like a keyboard) and try connecting again.

You can try connecting your PS4 controller to different USB ports on your computer if possible or just try plugging it into another computer altogether as it might be a hardware issue with your computer’s USB ports rather than RetroArch itself.

2. Change to a wired connection 

If you’re using RetroArch with a Bluetooth controller and it’s not working, try switching to a wired connection. Sometimes wireless connections tend to be weak due to other device interferences and perform poorly.

If the issue persists even after trying out the above solution, then it could be because of another Bluetooth device that is connected to your computer. To fix this problem, disconnect all other Bluetooth devices from your computer and try connecting your PS4 controller again.

3. Update your drivers 

Oftentimes, outdated or buggy drivers can cause issues with your controller. The latest drivers will have bug fixes and improvements that may help with your problem.

You can find the latest driver updates by updating your OS or downloading them directly from the manufacturer’s website.

4. Update controller firmware 

You might already know that when you buy a controller, it has some default settings and features. These are only limited to basic functions and features but not all of them. 

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However, when you update the firmware of your controller, then it will unlock more features which were not available earlier on your device and also increase its compatibility with RetroArch. 

5. Uninstall other controllers

If you have multiple controllers installed on your system, unplug all of them except for the PS4. You can then plug in the problematic controller and see if it works. If this doesn’t solve the issue, try uninstalling other controllers and reinstalling them one by one until you find the culprit. 

This may help your PS4 controller to be recognized properly by RetroArch. If your controller still isn’t working after uninstalling all other controllers, you’ll need to do a hard reset on it. 

6. Update your OS 

This may sound like an obvious solution, but it’s actually one of the most effective ones out there. You need to update your operating system when new updates are available to keep everything running smoothly. 

check-updates lenovo-ideapad-keyboard-not-working

If you don’t update your system regularly, you may miss out on bug fixes. Then, there will be problems such as these ones when using RetroArch on your PS4.

7. Uninstall and reinstall RetroArch

If you’ve been using RetroArch for a while without getting any sort of controller problems, updating it may be all that’s needed.

If the problems start after updating to a newer version, then it might be causing some issues with your PS4 controller not working properly. It’s possible that something went wrong during the installation process hence the need for a fresh install.

How do I connect my PS4 controller to RetroArch Android?

It’s no secret that Android has an impressive library of games hence why gamers would want to connect their controllers to their Android devices. 

You can easily connect your PS4 controller with your Android device using a Bluetooth connection. Next, you will have to download RetroArch for Android from Google Play Store. You will be prompted to select a core that will act as a console emulator. 

At this stage, you need to consider how powerful your Android device is because lower-end and old devices running on old OS might struggle with compatibility issues and perform poorly.

Alternatively, you can opt for an Android emulator given that Windows 11 now allows Android apps for a smoother transition.

Let us know if you have been able to solve the issue of the PS4 controller not working in RetroArch in the comment section below.

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