If you have a good Bluetooth-powered headset that you want to use for your Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S console, the good news is there are ways you can do it. The bad news is you’ll have to go through some hoops in order to get around the fact that both the Xbox One and the Xbox Series S lack Bluetooth capability.
Why is connecting Bluetooth Headphones so complicated?
The short answer is that, unlike all the other console manufacturers, Microsoft has decided to go a different route with Xbox One and with the next-gen versions (Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S).
To put it simply, Xbox one doesn’t support Bluetooth connections as it uses a proprietary protocol of connecting wirelessly – This technology is called Xbox Wireless.
Unlike Bluetooth which uses the broad 2.4GHz Radiofrequency, Xbox Wireless uses a higher radiofrequency. While this facilitates an improved audio experience (in theory) and a reduced latency, it also means that consumers are encouraged to get a peripheral launched (or backed) by Microsoft in order to get the best experience.
As of now, there are two only types of headsets that are compatible with Xbox One:
- Headsets with a wireless dongle – These will require you to plug in the headset dongle into your Xbox console to connect the headphones.
- Headsets that will connect natively without requiring a dongle – These headsets will automatically connect to the console. This technology is typically reserved for premium headsets. You pay more for the convenience of getting rid of the pesky dongle.
There’s also a third category of headsets that are BT only, and if you own one of these, you’ll, unfortunately, need to jump through some hoops in order to use it with your Xbox console.
How to Connect Any Headset to Xbox One and Xbox Series X / S
Regardless if you own a headset that Microsoft deems compatible or not, we’re going to show you how you can connect it to your Xbox console. Just keep in mind that you fall in the latter category, there are some limitations (as you’ll see below).
1. How to Connect an Xbox Wireless-Compatible Headset to Xbox Consoles
If you own a headset that is capable of leveraging Microsoft’s exclusive technology (Microsoft Wireless), connecting your headset shouldn’t give you much trouble if you know what to do.
We’ve outlined the steps below, but keep in mind that some things might be different depending on the headset that you’re using.
1.1 How to Connect an Xbox Wireless-Compatible Headset with Dongle
If your headset comes with a wireless dongle, things couldn’t be any easier for you. Just plug in the dongle into the USB port of your dongle and turn on your headset. That’s it.
After a couple of seconds, you should see your headset being recognized and you’re ready to play.
1.2 How to Connect an Xbox Wireless-Compatible Headset without Dongle
If you have a premium headset that is capable of connecting to your Xbox console, the process of connecting it to your Xbox One or Xbox Series X / S console is a little different.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Start by turning your headphones on and make sure they’re not in low-power mode (they have plenty of battery life).
- Next, you’ll need to put them into ‘pairing mode’. This is different from manufacturer to manufacturer, but in most cases, all you need to do is hold down on the power button until you see the headset’s Bluetooth LED is on or flashing intermittently. Once you see this behavior occurring, your headset is ready for pairing.
Note: Some headsets won’t have a LED tailing you that they’ve now entered pairing mode. Instead, they’ll play a sound, so be on the lookout for that.
- Next, turn on your Xbox One or Xbox Series X console and locate the pairing button.
Note: The pairing button on Xbox One S and Xbox One X is located at the right lower portion of the front panel of the console. If you own the next-gen version of Xbox (Xbox Series X), the pairing button is located in the bottom-right corner of your device.
- Next, press the pairing button on your console until you see the LED associated with it blinking. This will indicate the console is ready to accept new Xbox Wireless connections.
- Now that you’ve made sure that your paring will get accepted, return to your wireless headset and press the Connect Button. Press and hold it until you see that the LED starts flashing rapidly since this is the signal that it’s ready to pair.
Note: You can typically identify the connect button via the blue Bluetooth icon.
- Once the pairing is established, you should see both icons (the icon on the headset and the icon on your console) steadying as they stop flashing intermittently. This is the signal that the two devices have been paired successfully. The majority of headphones will also play a tone once the connection is complete.
Important: The instructions above will be different from manufacturer to manufacturer. If you tried following the instructions below with no success, consult the user manual for the specific procedure of your model.
In case you just realized that your headset is not really compatible with Xbox Wireless, move down to the next guide below.
2. How to Connect an Incompatible (BT Only) Headset to Xbox Consoles
If you thought the instructions above were a little complicated, wait until we go through the process of connecting non-compatible headphones to your Xbox One or Xbox Series console.
Since Xbox doesn’t support the use of Bluetooth headphones, you’ll have to rely on ingenuity and a few additional tools to connect Bluetooth devices to your Xbox console.
Depending on your particular scenario and the tools and devices at your disposal, there are 4 main ways to connect an incompatible Bluetooth Headset to Xbox:
- Connect the headset using a Windows PC – This is doable via the Xbox Console Companion app. The only condition is that both devices (your PC and Xbox console) need to be on the same network. For the best results, you will need an ethernet connection)
- Connect the headset through a TV – If your TV supports Bluetooth connections, you’re in luck. You can easily connect your headset to your TV and use it when playing games on your Xbox. However, this method has its limitations as you’ll see below.
- Connect the headset via the Xbox App – In case you only care about using your headset to communicate with your mates on the party chat. This method will not allow you to hear game audio via your wireless headphones.
- Connect the headset by using a Bluetooth Transmitter – If you have some cash on the side, investing in a Bluetooth transmitter is probably the best way of ensuring the best audio experience. The drawback is that you won’t be able to use your headphone microphone.
2.1 Connect Bluetooth Headset via PC
Since Xbox consoles and Windows PCs share the same infrastructure, you can use any Windows desktop or laptop to facilitate audio playback from a Bluetooth-powered headset.
However, there are two conditions that need to be met in order to connect your Xbox One or Xbox Series console to Windows PC (so you can facilitate audio playback from BT headsets):
- Both your PC and your Xbox console need to be connected to the same network.
- Your PC needs to have installed the Xbox Console Companion app (should be already installed on your PC by default unless you got rid of it).
- Your PC needs to have Bluetooth capabilities. It needs to either be equipped with Bluetooth natively or you need to plug in a Bluetooth dongle.
Follow the instructions below to connect your Xbox console to a Windows PC and utilize an incompatible Bluetooth headset on your console:
- On your PC, access the Xbox Console companion app by pressing the Windows key and searching for ‘Xbox Console’.
Note: If the app is not installed, download it for free from Microsoft Store. Navigate to this page, click Get, then click on Open Microsoft Store, click on Free and wait until it’s installed on your Windows computer.
- Once you’re inside the first screen of Xbox Console Companion, click on Sign In and insert the credentials associated with the Microsoft account that you use on your console.
Note: If you also game from your PC, you’re most likely already signed in, so you’ll see the main interface of the Xbox Console Companion app directly.
- Once you’re inside the main menu of the Xbox Console Companion app, click on the Connection icon from the vertical menu on the left.
- Next, wait until the console is detected. If this doesn’t automatically happen, click on the Add a device icon in the top-right corner.
Note: Keep in mind that both your PC and your console need to be on the same network in order to detect each other. Additionally, if the console is not visible despite the fact that it’s connected to the same network, insert the IP address directly and see if you get a hit.
- Once the console is detected, click on the Connect button and wait until the pairing is complete.
Important: If the connection attempt ultimately fails with an error, pick up your Xbox controller and go to Settings > Device & Streaming > Device Connections. Once you’re inside the correct menu, ensure that Other devices are set to Only from profiles sign on this Xbox and that both boxes under This Xbox are checked.
- Once the connection is established, all you need to do is connect the headset to your PC, then you can start using them on your console directly as your PC and Xbox console are already linked.
If you have a TV with Bluetooth capabilities, move down to the next guide below.
2.2 Connect Bluetooth Headset via TV
If you have a TV with Bluetooth capabilities, it can be used as a gap-bridger between your incompatible headset and your Xbox console. In what follows, we’ll show you how to connect your Xbox to the TV first, then connect the Bluetooth headphones to your TV set so you can facilitate audio playback.
Note: The main drawback of this method is that you will not be able to use your headset’s microphone to communicate via party chat. This method will only allow you to play game audio on your Bluetooth headsets. If you only want to connect your headset to use for the chat party, use the next method below.
In case you have a TV that is Bluetooth-compatible and you don’t care about communicating with friends via the Party chat functionality, follow the instructions below to connect your incompatible headset via your BT-ready TV:
- First things first, ensure that your console is connected to the BT-Ready TV.
- Once the connection is established, use your TV remote to select the correct Input source. Confirm the connection by starting your Xbox console and checking if the console signal is displayed on your TV.
- Next, go ahead and connect your Bluetooth headphones to your TV. To do this, start by accessing your TV settings and ensuring that Bluetooth is Enabled.
- Put your headphones in pairing mode, then trigger a search for available BT devices on your TV, select the correct headset and wait until the pairing is complete.
- Once the connection is established, simply change the Input Display to the HDMI port that your Xbox Console uses and start playing. You won’t be able to communicate via party chat, but at least you’ll get the best audio in-game audio experience from your incompatible headsets.
If you don’t have a TV with Bluetooth capabilities or you’re looking for a connection method that will allow you to communicate via party chat, move down to the next method below.
2.3 Connect Bluetooth Headset via Xbox App (Android / iOS)
If none of the workarounds above seem convenient to you as you’re mostly looking to use your Bluetooth headset for Party Chat purposes, using the Xbox app from an Android or iOS device is probably the best course of action for you.
However, keep in mind that going this route will also mean that you won’t be able to hear any in-game audio on your Bluetooth headphones. The middle ground solution is to output the in-game audio to your TV and the party chat audio to your headphones.
Follow the instructions below to connect your Bluetooth headset to your mobile phone:
- First things first, connect your Bluetooth headset to your Android or iOS device. It’s a matter of enabling Bluetooth on your mobile device, putting your headset in pairing mode, and triggering a scan on your mobile devices.
- Once the Bluetooth headset is successfully paired with your mobile phone, the next step is to download the Xbox App on your Android or iOS device. Download the correct version from Google Play or App Store.
- After the app is successfully downloaded, open it and access the Social menu from the horizontal menu at the bottom of the screen.
- Once you’re inside the Social tab of the Xbox app, tap on the Headset icon (top-right corner of the screen.
- If this is the first time you’re using the app, you’ll be asked to give the required audio permissions. When this happens, select While using the app from the available options.
- Once the right permissions are given, you will be redirected to the Party chat interface. At this point, you can start joining or creating new parties and start playing games on your Xbox while communicating with your teammates via the Xbox app.
Note: Because you’re relying on the companion app from Xbox, you can expect a bigger latency than if you were using the native party chat functionality directly on your Xbox console. Expect a bigger delay when speaking or receiving party chat audio.
If this method doesn’t serve your purposes, move down to the final workaround below.
2.4 Connect Bluetooth Headset via Bluetooth Transmitter
This is the final workaround that will allow you to slide around Microsoft’s pesky Bluetooth restrictions on Xbox consoles. A Bluetooth transmitter will allow you to connect your Bluetooth headphones to the Xbox console, but there’s a catch…
You will be able to hear in-game audio and party-chat audio through your headphones, but your teammates won’t hear you back. This happens because none of these transmitters know how to use your headphone microphone.
If you are prepared for this compromise and you have a compatible Bluetooth Transmitter laying around (or you’re ready to purchase one), follow the instructions below for steps on connecting it to your Xbox One or Xbox Series X console:
- First things first, start the transmission by long-pressing the power button.
Note: Most BT transmitters will require you to press the power button for 3 seconds or more before the LED starts flashing. This is meant to signal that it’s ready to pair with your controller.
- Next, plug the BT transmitter into the 3.5 mm port of your Xbox controller.
Note: Most BT transmitters’ LEDs will stop flashing after the connection is established, but this depends from manufacturer to manufacturer.
- Once the Bluetooth Transmitter is successfully connected, turn on your headset and put it into pairing mode. The exact instructions of doing this will differ from one model to another, but in most cases, it’s just a matter of long pressing the power button.
- Now, as a final step, long press the function button on your BT transmitter to pair it with your headphones that are also in pairing mode and waiting for a connection.
Note: If you don’t get it right the first time, try bringing your headphones closer to the BT transmitter. Since you have no option of selecting between Bluetooth connections, the device will automatically pair with the strongest signal.
- Once the connection is established, you should be ready to go.
If you’re in the market for a BT transmitter, here are a few reliable picks that you could go for:
- Microsoft Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter
- Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter
- HYCARUS Bluetooth 5.0 Audio Transmitter Adapter