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How to Update the PS5 Controller: Fresh Firmware for Your DualSense

If you’re one of the lucky eight million people that managed to purchase Sony’s PlayStation 5 console, first and foremost – can we play together? And second, congratulations! You’ve got yourself a fantastic piece of tech that’s sure to last you for years.

The PS5 is impressive enough by itself, but the real star of the show is the newly updated DualSense controller. It’s quite remarkable what Sony has managed to cram into this little device. Quite simply, it is easily one of the best game controllers around. Naturally, such tech has to be kept up to date, especially if you plan to make money playing video games. But, how to update the PS5 controller? Do you even have to do anything, or does the console do everything by itself while sitting in standby mode? We’ll answer all those questions and provide you with a quick how-to on manual updates for your brand new controller.

Why are Controller Updates Important

Just like your console, the PS5 controller also needs regular updates. Sony has packed a lot of tech into this little gadget, including a microphone, speaker, haptic feedback, and a bunch of indicator lights. With so many bells and whistles, something can go awry, and the firmware will need fixing through PS5 controller updates. For example, in early June, a bug caused the controller to keep reporting its battery is empty even after hours of charging. Earlier in 2021, an update was issued to improve the rumble feature on PS4 games.

So, keeping your PS5 controller up to date is as important as system updates to your console. But, how do the controller updates work and can you install them manually? We’ll cover that in the next section.

How to Automatically Update Your PS5 Controller

PS5 owners usually don’t have to worry about updating the DualSense controller, at least when it comes to checking for and downloading the updates manually. If you’ve set your console into sleep mode and haven’t disabled its Internet connection, it will automatically check for updates from time to time. Once a PS5 system update or a controller update is out, the console will download it in the background. Even with automated downloads, the console still requires the user’s input to complete every update. It will notify you whenever a firmware update is available for the DualSense controller or any other accessory connected to the PS5.

Here’s how to update the PS5 controller following the official procedure:

  • Wake the PS5 console from sleep.
  • If the console downloaded an update, you will get notified with a fullscreen alert, offering to start the update process right away or postpone the notification for 24 hours.
  • Connect the DualSense controller through a USB-C cable to your PS5 console. The update cannot be started in wireless mode even if the controller’s battery is fully charged.
  • Highlight the “Update Now” button on the menu, press X on the controller, and wait until the update is complete. Avoid using your console during the automatic update procedure.

How to Update the PS5 Controller Manually

When your PS5 console pops that notification about a fresh new firmware, you do have an option to postpone the update by 24 hours. Whether you clicked it on purpose or by accident, you’ll notice that you can’t just manually start the controller update. Likewise, Sony hasn’t yet offered an option to update the controller while offline, say, via a USB stick. As long as your console was online after Sony released an update to controller firmware, it’s safe to assume the update is waiting for you on the next reboot.

But, how to update PlayStation 5 controller without waiting those 24 hours? It’s fairly simple and involves just a few changes made in the console’s settings menu.

First and foremost, you’ll need to check whether you actually need to update your controller. Head on to Settings from the home menu, then click on Accessories and scroll down to the Controllers tab. You’ll see the number of the currently installed firmware. If you have any issues with your controller, head to the official PlayStation website for quick fixes to the most common problems.

update ps5 manually

Afterwards, you’ll need to pull a bit of trickery on your console, so it immediately allows you to update the PS5 controller. Head back to the top menu in Settings and scroll all the way up to Network. In that submenu, select Settings and uncheck the “Connect to Internet” option from the list. This will put your PS5 in offline mode and prepare your console for the next step.

With your console in offline mode, go back to the main Settings page. Choose System, and from the Date and Time menu, choose Set Date and Time and press X. This is how we’ll be tricking the console into starting that PS5 controller update right away. On this screen, you want to move the system clock by 24 hours by hitting the Set Manually button and changing the date by precisely one full day.

set date

With everything set, press the PlayStation logo on your controller to open the control centre menu. Scroll to the right submenu with the power button and select Restart Console. Once the system boots up, you should be seeing the controller update prompt again, letting you update it manually. Of course, be sure to plug in the controller before starting the update and make sure to change the system time back once the update’s complete.

Further reading

FAQ

How do you update a PlayStation controller?

Like every PlayStation system update, the controller updates are automated. The console will occasionally search for and download updates, notifying you when new firmware is available. On the user side, the only thing you need to do is confirm the update on the notification screen and plug the controller into the USB port. 

How do I check for updates on my PS5?

Open up the Settings menu from the console’s dashboard, then go to System, System Software, and select System Software Update and Settings. If a newer version of software exists, an “Update Available” notification will appear. As for how to update the DualSense controller, that’s a fully automated process, and the console will notify you on the next boot if there’s an update available.

How do I manually update my PS5 games?

On the home screen, highlight the game you wish to update and press the Options button on the controller. From the pop-up menu, choose the Check for Update option. If an update is available for the game, the console will start downloading it. Alternatively, you can try starting the game and, if an update is available, the console will notify you automatically.

How long is the PS5 update?

Whether you’re looking into system updates or advice on how to update your PS5 controller, be prepared to do some waiting. The system updates can be up to 1 GB in size, so if you don’t have high-speed Internet, the process may take a while. There’s also the installation procedure, which always includes one or more console reboots. Luckily, the PS5 is equipped with a super-fast SSD, so updates should be lightning-quick.

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