Now that Stadia is dead and gone, Google is offering a self-service tool that enables Bluetooth functionality on Stadia controllers. But this self-service tool will disappear after December 31st, 2023. If you want to save your Stadia controller from a landfill, you should enable Bluetooth mode today.
According to Google, the Stadia controller’s Bluetooth mode has been tested on Windows 10 and 11, macOS 13, ChromeOS, and Android. Other platforms may not work with this controller, and unless you’re using Steam, you may need to manually remap some of the controller’s buttons. (By default, the Assistant and Capture buttons do nothing in Bluetooth mode, but they can be mapped.)
I should also note that the Stadia controller uses Bluetooth Low Energy, which limits some of its functionality. You cannot use audio pass-through in Bluetooth mode, for example (although it still works in wired mode). Old computers may not support the Bluetooth Low Energy protocol—in this case, your best option is to buy a Bluetooth USB adapter or simply use the controller in wired mode.
To enable Bluetooth mode on your Stadia controller, simply plug it into your computer and visit Google’s Stadia Controller Update page (using a Chromium browser, such as Chrome or Edge). Click the big button that says “Switch to Bluetooth Mode” and follow Google’s instructions. An update will install on your controller. If you own multiple controllers, you need to update them one at a time.
Google suggests charging your controller for half an hour before updating. If the update doesn’t work, try using a different USB cable—a data transfer cable is required.
Once Bluetooth mode is enabled on your controller, press and hold the “Y + Stadia” buttons for two seconds. The status light will blink orange, indicating that you are now in pairing mode. This light turns a solid white once you pair your Staida controller with a computer, phone, tablet, or whatever.
Note that you can use this controller in wired mode without any updates. But Google’s self-service tool will disappear after December 31st, 2023. So, if you want to make your Stadia controller a little less useless, I suggest updating today.