Can you play with a joy-con on a PC. Nintendo switch joy con pc

Can you play with a joy-con on a PC?

Do you want to play games on your computer, but don´t like to use the keyboard? Do you also don´t want to buy a new controller? If you have a Nintendo Switch, you already have a pair of, admittedly unconventional, controllers.

Can you use the Joy-cons to play on your computer?

Yes, you can. Albeit with a bit of setup beforehand.

How to make your computer detect a Joy-con

Before doing anything else with them, you need to let your computer pair up with the Joy-con, to let it know that they exist. To do so, you need to use Bluetooth. If your desktop computer doesn´t have Bluetooth, you´ll need to buy a small adapter like this one.

The first step is to turn on Bluetooth on your PC. Go to Start, Settings, Devices, and then Bluetooth (or you can try typing Bluetooth in the search bar for a shortcut). If the toggle is switched off, turn it on. Your computer will scan the area for any compatible Bluetooth devices.

Next, click on Add Bluetooth device. Now, take your Joy-Cons and make sure that they don´t have the rail-handle thing on them. In the middle of the side of your joy-con, you will find a small button. Press and hold it until the lights start blinking. The controller will have entered pairing mode.

Back to your computer, the Joy-con should now appear on the list of available Bluetooth devices. Click on it to pair it with your computer. That´s it, your PC should now be able to detect the Joy-con and register its commands. You can put back the handle thing to play with it more comfortably.

Keep in mind that if you want to use the plus and minus joy-cons together, you will have to repeat the process with the other corresponding joy-con.

Your joy-con is now connected to the computer, but you still can´t use it to play games. You will need to install a driver for them beforehand, There are two ways to do so.

The easy way, play with your joy-cons using Steam

As we mentioned in our other guide about connecting a Pro Controller to a PC. one of the big advantages Steam has, is that it comes with drivers for pretty much every controller from all modern gaming consoles. The joy-con was the exception, until now.

Valve has added a driver for the joy-con and updated their software for all other compatible Nintendo controllers in their last Steam update. This lets Steam detect and set up the controller automatically when you play any games on their platform.

Granted, it´s still in Beta. If you want access to it, you need to go to your Steam settings and opt-in for Beta participation. You will need to restart Steam, but once it boots up again, you´ll be ready to go.

The joy-cons should be working as intended. If they aren´t, go to the Controller menu in the Steam settings and enable Joy-con support. You can also tweak the controllers a bit while on this menu. For example, you can choose if you want to play with two joy-cons paired up or just use one as a gamepad.

Next time you launch a Steam game, you should be able to use the joy-cons to play it as if they were a regular controller. If the game you want to play isn´t on Steam, remember that you can still launch it from Valve´s platform. Go to the Games tab, and in the menu choose the option to add a “Non Steam Game”, then simply choose the game you want to play.

Afterward, you should be able to launch that game from Steam. This workaround should make the game compatible with the Steam joy-con driver without having to resort to.

The harder way, installing a Joy-con driver manually

If you don´t want to use Steam or want to use the controllers for an emulator, then you will have to install their driver manually. As you can imagine, Nintendo hasn´t released any sort of official driver for PC for their joy-con, so you will have to find a third-party alternative as we did in our guide to connect them to a phone.

BetterJoy is one such driver that you can use to connect the joy-cons to your PC. It was originally programmed for the CEMU emulator but it now works on “normal” games as well. Joy-Con Driver is another more generic alternative but it hasn´t been updated in years and requires more setup.

BetterJoy has instructions on how to install and run it on their Github page, but to recap, download, run, and install the files on your computer. After the installation is done, restart the PC. Run BetterJoy as an administrator and pair up your Joy-cons using Bluetooth as we explained in the first part of the post.

Select your joy-con and the software should take care of the rest. This should be enough to use your joy-cons to play any non-steam game, but if you want to use it for an emulator, there is a bit more setup to do depending on which one you are using.

And that´s it, now you should be able to use your joy-con on your PC. If you want to learn something useful for a Mac instead, check out our article on how to optimize your storage space here.

How to Connect Joy-Con to PC

Your Joy-Cons can connect to the Switch with Bluetooth. You can use the same type of pairing to connect it to your computer, as long as it is Bluetooth-enabled. However, they don’t work as well as some controllers just because they’re connected. You need to install specific software to have more functionality and customization options.

Why Use Joy-Cons on the Computer?

Some people just prefer the feel of Joy-Cons to other options, like different controllers or keyboard and mouse. They might also be the only controllers a person has lying around for a multiplayer game where more than the usual number is needed.

Also, once you’ve gotten used to playing Fortnite on the Switch, you might be more comfortable using the Joy-Con buttons even if you want to play on the computer.

People try to use plenty of new and old controllers on all kinds of devices – and in this case, it’s both possible and useful for certain purposes.

How to Connect Joy-Cons to PC

Before you connect the Joy-Cons to your PC, you should properly disconnect them from the Switch. Consider removing the Bluetooth pairing so that it doesn’t interfere with the connection between the Joy-Cons and the PC. You want to delete the Bluetooth pairing before removing the Joy-Cons.

  • Navigate to the Home menu on the Switch.
  • Press System Settings.
  • Choose Controllers and Sensors.
  • Click Disconnect Controllers.

Next, you can remove the Joy-Cons from the Switch. You won’t be able to use them with the Switch until you plug them back in or restore the Bluetooth connection.

  • Press down the release button on the top back of the Joy-Con.
  • Slide the Joy-Con up until it is released from the console.

It’s effortless to take them on and off the console itself. It’s essential to go slow and not force it on or off if it feels stuck or hesitant. Once they’re detached, you can connect them to your PC.

Connecting Joy-Cons to a Windows PC is a fast process as long as you have a Bluetooth module on your computer.

  • Press Windows key X.
  • Choose Settings.
  • Click Devices.
  • Toggle Bluetooth to On.
  • Press the sync button on both controllers. It’s on the slim outer edge of each Joy-Con in the center.
  • Wait for the LED lights to start flashing on each Joy-Con.
  • Click “Add Bluetooth or Other Device” on the PC.

    Click the Joy-Con L entry and wait for it to pair.

  • Click Done and return to the Bluetooth menu.
  • Click “Add Bluetooth or Other Device” again.
  • Click the Joy-Con R entry and wait for it to pair.
  • The Joy-Cons should be available for you to use with compatible apps.

    Next, you want to attach straps to the Joy-Cons. They’re much safer to use with the attached straps because they won’t fly out of your hands easily. than one person has lost a television or monitor to a rogue Joy-Con.

      Slide the strap lock into the unlock position.

    Match up the plus on the right strap with the plus on the right Joy-Con.

  • Match up the minus on the left strap with the minus on the left Joy-Con.
  • Slide the rail down the side of the Joy-Con until it clicks into place. Repeat the process on the other Joy-Con.
  • Make sure to tighten the strap around your wrist so that it’s tight enough to not fly off your hand. Of course, if you aren’t ready to play immediately, you can set them aside and put them on later when you’re ready.

    What if I Only Want to Pair One Joy-Con?

    Your computer sees each Joy-Con as a separate device. You only have to use one and pair one if you choose.

    You can also pair both, but they won’t work as a single unit automatically. It will be like you have two different controllers paired to your computer.

    If you want to use both Joy-Cons as a single unit, you require third-party software. One of the more straightforward and more popular programs is called BetterJoy. It lets you switch between single Joy-Cons and use them as a unit.

    play, joy-con, nintendo, switch

      DownloadBetterJoy. Click on the latest release’s ZIP file. You don’t need the source code.

    play, joy-con, nintendo, switch

  • Right-click on the downloaded file.
  • Click Extract All.
  • Choose a location to save the files.
  • play, joy-con, nintendo, switch

  • Click Extract.
  • Open the extracted folder.
  • Double-click on the Drivers folder.
  • Right-click on ViGEmBusSetup. You can choose x64 or x86, depending on your system.
  • Choose Install.
  • Click Next.
  • Accept the License Agreement.
  • Click Install.
  • Now the software is on your computer. You should pair the Joy-Con controllers and run the software from the installation location.

    • Right-click on BetterJoyForCemu.exe.
    • Choose Run as Administrator.

    play, joy-con, nintendo, switch

  • Click Yes.
  • Click a Joy-Con icon to change to a horizontal image if you want to use a single one.
  • play, joy-con, nintendo, switch

    Click it again to make it a vertical image again to use them as one controller.

    You can also use BetterJoy to map your buttons.

    What About the Pro Controller?

    The Pro Controller can connect to your PC the same way the Joy-Con controllers do. You press the pairing button on the top rather than the side. Of course, it also appears in the menu as the Pro Controller and not as a Joy-Con.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What Is the Sync Button on the Joy-Con?

    The sync button is a circular black button on the rail side of the controller. When you press it to scan for available Bluetooth connections, you need to hold it down for about five seconds.

    Why Won’t My Joy-Con Connect to the PC?

    Make sure your controllers are both charged. If they’re low on battery, slide them back into the docking station and leave them for a few hours before trying again. You should also try restarting your computer and ensuring that your Bluetooth is active.

    How Can I Charge My Joy-Cons Without a Switch?

    You can get a grip controller designed for the Joy-Cons. It includes a USB-C port that will charge the Joy-Cons when inserted into the controller.

    I’m a computer enthusiast who enjoys building new systems, troubleshooting software for my friends, and playing everything from Apex Legends to Golf with Friends. I used to work as a social media manager and love finding new ways to connect with people.

    How to connect Nintendo Switch controllers to PC [Guida]

    play, joy-con, nintendo, switch

    If you are looking for a new controller for your PC and you also own a Nintendo Switch with an official Joy-Con or Pro Controller, we have good news for you: you can use one of these devices as a PC controller! It turns out indeed You can connect the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con and Pro Controller to your PCfixed or portable, by performing some procedures via bluetooth, USB cable and even making them compatible for Steam, let’s see how!


    Connect the Switch controller to PC via USB cable

    This is the easiest method to connect the peripheral to the PC, just have any USB-C / USB-A cable with you. These are the steps to follow:

    • Insert the USB-C end of the cable into the controller, the hole is placed on dorsal part of the peripheral;
    • Insert the USB-A end of the cable into a working USB port on your PC;
    • At this point Windows should recognize the inserted device after a few seconds. If it doesn’t, try unplugging and plugging the cable back into the same port, or alternatively try another available port.

    Connect the Joy-Con and Switch controller to PC via Bluetooth

    To be able to connect the Joy-Con or gamepad of Nintendo Switch without any cables your PC must support Bluetooth connectivity and that the devices are sufficiently charged. Here are all the steps to follow with the Pro controllers

    • Open the Settings of your PC (you can find them by searching for the word “Settings“ in the Windows search bar);
    • Click on the menu Bluetooth and other devices (Bluetooth and devices on Windows 11);
    • Check that the Bluetooth is active and select Add Bluetooth or other devices;
    • To select Bluetooth from the next menu;
    • Long press the small button of the synchronization on the back of the controller, next to the USB-C port, until the light on the bottom of the case starts to flash;
    • Among the various possible various devices found by Windows, the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller as PC Input. Once selected it will automatically pair with your PC.

    These are the steps to follow with i Joy-Con.

    • Open the Settings of your PC (you can find them by searching for the word “Settings“ in the Windows search bar);
    • Click on the menu Bluetooth and other devices (Bluetooth and devices on Windows 11);
    • Check that the Bluetooth is active and select Add Bluetooth or other devices;
    • To select Bluetooth from the next menu;
    • Long press the small button of the synchronization on the side of the controller, the one that usually slides into the hinges of the Nintendo console; the button is in place between the SL and SR keysuntil the light next to it starts to flash;
    • Repeat the last step with the other Joy-Con as well if you want to match the whole pair.
    • Among the various possible various devices found by Windows, the Joy-Conas PC input. Once selected they will be automatically paired with your PC.

    How to set up Joy-Con and Nintendo Switch controller with PC games?

    Having connected the Joy-Con or the Nintendo Switch controller to your PC does not mean you have immediate compatibility with the games you would like to play. Surely you may have problems with some inputs, or you would like to configure the keys to your liking. Or maybe there’s a slight drift of the analogical ones that you would like to contain without disassembling any peripheral. The problem is that both the Joy-Con and the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller use DirectInput as a method of entering commands, obsolete compared to the more common and widespread Xinput. This problem can be solved by using programs such as the Steam digital platform or like the x360ce emulation tools. We explain the process for both software below.

    Switch controller setup via Steam

    Steam is mainly used by gamers for buying and selling video games, and is in fact the most widely used digital platform for playing video games on PCs. The advantage of Steam is that allows you to configure controllers to make the most of the games in your personal library. The operation can be performed whether the devices are connected to the PC via cable, or whether they are connected wirelessly with Bluetooth.

    Steam is able to automatically recognize the Nintendo Switch controller and Joy-Con connected to the PC, but you must first enable them so that they can work with the library. Here are the steps to access the Steam controller settings.

    play, joy-con, nintendo, switch

    • Press the button at the top left Steam;
    • Press up Settings from the drop-down menu;
    • In the new window, click on Controllers in the menu on the left, and then click on General Settings in the screen;
    • If you use the Pro Controllers check the item too Support Switch Configuration; if instead you use i Joy-Con tick the item Connect pair of Joy-Con;
    • Optional: depending on your habits with gamepads, you may also check the item Use the Nintendo button layout if you prefer a configuration similar to the keys you use on Nintendo Switch, otherwise leave the box free to have a configuration similar to the controls for Xbox.

    Set up the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller via x360ce

    If the PC games on which you would like to use the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller are not present on Steam or are not compatible with the digital platform, it is advisable to download x360ce, a controller emulator of the Xbox 360 which is commonly used to play on PC through the gamepads of other consoles such as Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4 and Playstation 5. The x360ce software goes individually configured for each game you want to use it on, make sure you follow these steps carefully every time you try to connect the Nintendo Switch controller to a PC game.

    play, joy-con, nintendo, switch

    Official site image of x360ce

    • Download the version of x360ce you need;
    • Locate the folder where the game’s.exe file is located;
    • Connect the Switch controller to PC;
    • Copy the archive and paste it into the game’s.exe file folder;
    • Extract the copied archive and check that a file with a controller icon has been created;
    • Open the file and click on Create for create a new dll file. If Windows gives errors or does not create any file, repeat this step but right clicking on the file and selecting Run as administrator from the drop-down menu;
    • x360ce will inform that it has found a new device, tick the option Search automatically for settings and the box Search the Internet to allow the software to automatically search for the settings you need on the internetthen click on Next.
    • Check that the settings found by x360ce match the controller connected to your PC, and click Finish when the installation is completed.
    • In the new screen you can configure the gamepad controls automatically by clicking on Caror you can customize them according to your preferences by personally intervening on each individual input.
    • When you’re done, click on Save.

    The best PC supported Nintendo Switch controllers

    play, joy-con, nintendo, switch

    Ultimately, although the Pro Controllers and Joy-Cons are recognized immediately by the PC, there are still plenty of alternative controllers for the Nintendo Switch that are compatible. You can take a look at the best offers of controllers (also alternatives) for Nintendo Switch and the best alternatives to Joy-Con, bearing in mind however that some connection processes may vary according to the models and designs.

    How to Connect the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con or Pro Controllers to Your PC

      Chris Hoffman

    play, joy-con, nintendo, switch

    The Joy-Con and Pro Controllers for the Nintendo Switch work just like modern Xbox One and Playstation 4 controllers. They support Bluetooth, so you can pair them with your PC without any special hardware.

    There’s one catch here: The two Joy-Cons are seen as separate controllers by your PC. You can use them as separate controllers, but you can’t combine them and use them as a full controller at the moment.

    Connecting the Controller to Your PC

    First, ensure Bluetooth is enabled on your PC and open the Bluetooth interface. On Windows 10, head to Settings Devices Bluetooth Add Bluetooth or other device Bluetooth. On Windows 7, head to Control Panel Hardware and Sound Add a device.

    Next, get your controller. If you’re using Joy-Con controllers, disconnect them from the Switch or the Joy-Con grip first. Long-press the “Sync” button, which you’ll find located between the SL and SR buttons on the Joy-Con. The lights next to the Sync button will begin to blink.

    If you’re using a Pro Controller, you’ll find the “Sync” button at the top of the controller, to the left of the USB-C charging plug. Long-press it.

    The controller will be in pairing mode after you long-press the Sync button. You’ll see the Joy-Con or Pro Controller appear in your computer’s Bluetooth menu. Select it in the menu to connect it to your PC.

    play, joy-con, nintendo, switch

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    Oddly enough, the lights on a Joy-Con will continue to blink even after it’s connected to your PC. However, you can clearly see that a Joy-Con is connected to your PC from the Bluetooth window, as it’s displayed in the list of connected devices.

    Repeat this process if you want to pair more than one controller—for example, if you want to pair both Joy-Cons. You’ll see each controller appear in the Add a device screen when you long-press its Sync button.

    This trick also works on Macs and Android devices. Just open the Bluetooth interface and long-press the Sync button on the controller to pair it like any other device.

    Configuring Your Controller

    You’ll be stuck using the Joy Con controllers as separate small controllers, just as you use them in two-player mode in various games on the Nintendo Switch. An enterprising geek may one day make a program that can combine them and allow you to use them as a single controller, but sadly, right now we’re stuck waiting.

    The Pro Controller will work better in many PC games and emulators, as it has all the standard buttons a typical full controller would have, including two analog sticks and an D-pad.

    Whichever type of controller you use, you can configure it to function in many games or emulators. Go into the program’s input menu and configure the controller however you like.

    Whether you use a Joy-Con or Pro Controller, one problem you’ll find is that the controller uses the older DirectInput method instead of the newer Xinput input method, which is used by Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers. Many modern games only support Xinput, while others may just have better support for Xinput than DirectInput. That’s why Xbox controllers are the most widely supported option for PC gaming.

    You can fix this by using a program like x360ce, which you can set up to convert input presses on your Switch controller to Xinput button events. This effectively allows you to emulate an Xbox 360 controller, giving your Nintendo Switch Controllers the ability to function in games that only support Xbox controllers. You have to do something similar when setting up a Playstation 4 DualShock controller for maximum compatibility with PC games.

    Pairing Your Controller With Your Switch

    When you’re done, you can easily pair your Joy-Con controllers with your Nintendo Switch once again. Just physically connect the Joy-Cons to the sides of your Switch. They’ll automatically pair with your Nintendo Switch.

    If this doesn’t work for some reason—or if you want to pair your Pro Controller with the Switch console once again—you can use the Switch’s normal controller-pairing process. Select Controllers Pair New Controllers on your Switch’s home screen to get started. Follow the instructions on your screen. You’ll be prompted to press the Sync button on your controller to continue.

    When you want to use your controllers with your PC again, you’ll have to return to the Bluetooth menu and pair them using the Sync button once again. But, once you know where to look, the pairing process is fast.

    Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader’s Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times-and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read Full Bio »

    Play games on Windows 10 with Nintendo Switch Controller.

    Aaditya Sharma

    play, joy-con, nintendo, switch

    Nintendo Switch Controller can be connected to your PC and used for playing your favorite games on Windows 10. Not all controllers are compatible with Windows 10 out of the box, but Nintendo appears to have added plug-and-play support for Switch’s Controller.

    Both the Joy-con and Pro controllers are compatible with Windows 10 and can be used for playing games on your PC. They can either be connected directly via a wire or wirelessly through Bluetooth but if you are having issues connecting these controllers to your PC, we are going to show you exactly how to fix that.

    If the Joy-con doesn’t seem to work after you have connected it to your PC using a wire, here are a few things you can do to troubleshoot it.

    Restart Nintendo Switch Controller if Not Working Correctly on Windows 10

    If your inputs aren’t being registered, a simple reboot of the controller might put things back in place. These are the steps for restarting your Nintendo Switch Controller:

    Unplug your controller from the USB port.

    Locate the sync button and press it once for the ‘reset’ module to be activated.

    Plug your Joy-con back to a different USB port on your PC and provided that your controller and PC are communicating correctly, it should now work.

    Is Your Nintendo Switch Controller Firmware Up to Date?

    Don’t have the latest firmware updates running on your Nintendo Switch Controller? You may encounter compatibility issues if you are connecting a controller with outdated firmware. Just to make sure, you should connect your controller back to the Switch console and download the firmware update.

    Follow these steps to update the driver software on your Joy-con/Pro controllers from Nintendo Switch:

    play, joy-con, nintendo, switch

    • Head to the ‘System Settings’ section from Home Screen.
    • Locate the ‘Controllers and Sensors’ section.
    • Under this tab, select the ‘Update Controllers’ option situated on the right side. A message will pop up when the update process is complete, and you just need to click on ‘OK’.

    Once the latest drivers are downloaded to your Nintendo Switch Controller, they should be fully compatible with Windows 10.

    Update Gaming Services, DirectX Runtime Library, and C Redistributable Packages for Better Compatibility

    If you have fresh installed Windows 10, you will have to download all the updates in Microsoft Store and from Settings to ensure proper compatibility with every plug-and-play compatible device you connect to the system.

    Prefer playing games with a controller? You should check out ‘iOS 13 : Connect Your Xbox or PlayStation 4 Controller To iPhone or iPad‘.

    Check the Wires

    Connected your Nintendo Switch Controller to the PC via one of the USB ports? Check to make sure that the wire has been properly plugged in. Nintendo Switch Pro Controller can be connected to the PC via USB C too. After connecting the Joy-con, you will have to install a third-party application (whose job will be to map the inputs and feed it to your PC) for it to work.

    Connect Your Nintendo Switch Controller Via Bluetooth if Wired Connection Not Possible

    Can’t get the wired setup to work correctly? You should try connecting Nintendo Switch Controllers to Windows 10 via Bluetooth. A common saying that goes around in the gaming community is that connecting a controller via Bluetooth may lead to input lag so opting for wireless connectivity should be your last resort.

    If you are a Nintendo fan, this one’s for you! 4 Best Super Nintendo ROMs for Android devices

    These are the steps for hooking up your Nintendo Switch Controller with Windows 10 via Bluetooth:

    • Launch the Settings app and click on the ‘Devices’ tab.
    • Select the option that says ‘Add Bluetooth or other devices’. Select the last option in the new window that pops up.
    • Press and hold the Sync button on your Joy-con. When the light starts flashing, the controller has gotten into pairing mode.
    • Select your Joy-con in the list of available devices. The pairing process should take a few seconds and the light will stop flashing when the pairing is complete.

    You can now use the Joy-con to play games on Windows 10. The Joy-con can also be set up to work with games that you downloaded off Steam. on that in a separate guide!

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