How to reset your Google Stadia controller into a Bluetooth gamepad

Google Stadia shut down for good on Jan. 18, but that doesn’t mean the wireless Stadia controller — which came in Stadia’s premium bundles at its 2019 launch — is now useless. Of course it can still be used as a wired USB gamepad, but there’s also a process by which it can be switched to a Bluetooth controller that works with PCs and mobile devices.

There are a few catches: The first is this process must be done by Dec. 31. The second is that it’s a fairly involved process, presumably because the controller normally played Stadia games over a Wi-Fi connection to a computer. The third is that this switch is permanent, but that shouldn’t be much of an issue, because Stadia is now ker-plunk.

Here’s how to make the change.

Open Stadia’s controller update tool

The tool is a browser-based application. Your Stadia gamepad must be plugged into the computer with a USB data cable — this is not the cable that came with your controller — and charged for 30 minutes.

Open the Google Stadia controller update page in a Chrome browser. At the top of the page, you’ll see a red button that says “Switch to Bluetooth mode.” Click that, and you’ll be taken to a second page that asks you what you want to do. Click the blue “Start” button on the left in the “Switch to Bluetooth mode” box, then accept Google’s terms of service to proceed.

Verify the controller

On the next page, click Allow Chrome to verify, which will open a drop-down window at the upper left of your browser window. It’ll say that stadia.google.com wants to connect, and your Stadia controller should be listed under that. Click “Connect.”

Unlock the controller’s firmware

You’ll need to input some button commands on the Stadia controller now to unlock its firmware. Here is the process in order:

  1. Unplug the controller and power it off. It should power off as soon as you unplug it. If it stays on, or powers up again, shut it down by holding the Stadia button (with the logo, between the thumbsticks at bottom) for four seconds.
  2. Hold down the Options button while plugging the controller back in. The Options button is the one that looks like an ellipsis (…) at the upper left. The controller’s status light (underneath the Stadia button) should remain unlit; if it comes back on, start this process over.
  3. Press these four buttons all at the same time. (You’ll probably need to set the controller down on a table and use both hands for this.) The buttons to press are Options, Google Assistant (the one just beneath it; it has four different-size circles), Y, and A. There won’t be any controller feedback when you do this, so don’t expect any rumble or a light.

Download the Bluetooth mode update

Go to the next step; the browser will connect to the gamepad the same way it did when it was verified. Click “Allow Chrome to download,” and another drop-down menu will appear. The device may not have the same name as it did before. It could be Stadia Controller, USB Composite Device, or SP Blank RT Family; this is still your controller. Now, click on Connect.

Install the Bluetooth mode update

The next step is simple. On the next page, select the controller (again, under any of the names it used on the previous step), and confirm the installation. The controller is now a Bluetooth-compatible controller; it also works by wired connection.

How to pair the Stadia Bluetooth controller

Pairing Mode on the Stadia gamepad is activated by holding the Stadia button and the Y button together for two seconds. The Stadia button’s status light will glow orange, confirming it is in pairing mode. Go to the device you want to pair it in and use its Bluetooth control panel to pair the device as normal. When you turn on the Stadia gamepad later, it will automatically connect to the last device it was paired with.