Watching the world transition to wireless has been exciting over the last few decades. For a long time, the convenience of wireless electronics was outweighed by the inconvenience of a handful of factors. Issues such as latency and battery life plagued many of the early iterations of wireless tech.
But, electronics have evolved. And gaming has evolved too. Nowadays, anyone can pick up a cheap pair of bluetooth headphones and start consuming media at an unimaginable rate.
Syncing up your favorite Bluetooth headset to your Xbox One might prove to be a little more challenging, however. Compatibility is a big issue and there’s a handful of hoops you need to jump through before you’re up and running.
This article will guide you through each step individually to ensure you don’t encounter any issues.
Can You Connect Bluetooth Headphones to Xbox One?
Whilst the Xbox does support wireless headphone pairing, Microsoft decided to take a slightly different route than the traditional Bluetooth approach. Compatible headsets operate in a different frequency band to conventional Bluetooth.
But don’t worry. That doesn’t mean you can only connect with a compatible headset.
If you’ve already scooped up a conventional pair of Bluetooth headphones, there’s still hope! Further down in our guide we’ll explain how to pair non-compatible headphones.
Xbox Wireless – A Breakdown
If you’re as old as me, you might remember the latency related nightmare associated with the early wireless PlayStation 2 controllers. Hundreds of milliseconds of latency meant that you were unable to play any video game that might be time sensitive (see: Tekken).
Keen on learning from their competitors’ early mistakes, Microsoft opted to use a higher RF alternative to Bluetooth and infrared. One that eliminates game-ruining latency outright. This is called “Xbox Wireless”.
Because of this, the most straightforward way to connect is by using compatible headphones.
How to Connect COMPATIBLE Xbox One Wireless Headsets
Purchased a compatible gaming headset? You’ll be happy to know that the process for connecting these headphones to your Xbox is fairly straightforward.
However, it’s not immediately obvious for first time users how you go about doing this.
To ensure it’s as easy as possible, we’ve outlined each step individually below.
Step 1 – Ensure Your Console Is Powered On
Press the power button to the right hand side of the console and ensure it’s glowing white. This might seem obvious but your console will switch itself to standby mode if you leave it idle for long enough.
Step 2 – Locate The Pairing Button On Your Headphones
How you enable pairing mode is dependent on your headphones. Some may have an individual pairing button, whilst others can be set to pairing mode by simply holding down the multifunctional power button.
If you’re using one of the official xbox wireless headsets, the pairing/power button is green.
An LED indicator will make it clear when this mode is enabled.
Step 3 – Locate The Pairing Button On Your Xbox
There are only two possible locations for this button, depending on your Xbox model.
Original Xbox One
On the original Xbox one model, the pairing button can be found on the front most section of the left-hand side. A few millimeters to the left of the disc drive. It may be silver or black, but the dead giveaway is the three bars indicating Xbox Wireless.
Xbox One S/X
The later generation of xbox one has the pairing button in a more accessible place. It’s located on the bottom right of the front panel. It’s a small, circular button to the left of the USB port. It’s almost directly below the power button.
Step 4 – Enable Pairing
Once you’ve found the button, simply hold it down until the indicator/power light blinks to indicate that pairing mode has been enabled.
Step 5 – Sync Up Your Headphones
Double check your headphones and Xbox One are in pairing mode, the indicator lights should be flashing on both. After a few moments your console should play a noise to indicate that your headphones have been assigned. Ideally your headphones will also notify you with a noise and you can begin listening to your in-game audio.
How to Connect NON-COMPATIBLE Bluetooth Headphones to Xbox One
You might’ve been annoyed to discover that conventional Bluetooth headsets aren’t immediately compatible with an Xbox One. This can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you don’t have the cash to pick up a compatible pair.
Luckily, there’s a handful of workarounds for this issue. So you don’t need to feel like you’ve just wasted your money on an otherwise quality pair of Bluetooth headphones.
Some of the workarounds you’ll encounter in this guide include:
- Workaround 1 – Utilizing a Bluetooth transmitter (For In-game Audio)
- Workaround 2- Utilizing The Xbox App (For Party Chat)
- Workaround 3 – Utilizing Your TV As An Audio Source
- Workaround 4 – Utilizing Your PC As A Media Source
Workaround 1 – Use A Bluetooth Transmitter
If you only intend on using your headset for in-game audio and don’t intend to use a mic, a Bluetooth transmitter is a great choice.
You can purchase a Bluetooth transmitter online that attaches to the 3.5mm jack at the base of your Xbox One controller.
Step 1 – Power On The Transmitter
Your transmitter may have an independent battery as the audio jack isn’t really primed to deliver the power necessary for transmitting. Press down the power button and wait for a light to indicate the device is on.
Step 2 – Plug The Transmitter In
Plug the audio jack into the 3.5mm opening at the base of your Xbox controller. It’s located roughly in between the left and right thumbstick.
Step 3 – Power On Your Headphones And Pair
Ensure your headphones are actually powered on and put them in pairing mode by pressing the necessary button.
Step 4 – Enter Pairing Mode On Your Transmitter
Your Bluetooth transmitter will likely have a multifunctional power button. Holding it down for a few seconds should allow it to enter pairing mode.
If it doesn’t have a multifunctional power button, it might have a standalone button for pairing – press that instead.
Step 5 – Wait & Play
Simply wait for your devices to pair. Holding them closer together might allow them to pair a little bit faster, but this difference is normally fairly miniscule. Once the Bluetooth transmitter has successfully synced your headphones to your Xbox it should become immediately obvious. Namely because you’ll begin receiving in-game audio immediately.
Workaround 2 – Use The Xbox App
You might be more interested in using your Bluetooth headsets to make use of the Xbox Live “party chat” feature. This is fair enough, as the social aspect of gaming can often be more fun than the actual gameplay at times.
The trade-off here is that unfortunately, you won’t also be able to stream in-game audio alongside your party chat.
To take this approach, you’ll need a smartphone with the xbox live app installed.
Step 1 – Pair Your Bluetooth Headset With Your Smartphone
This is fairly simple. Boot up your phone and search for Bluetooth. If your Bluetooth headphones are powered on they should appear in the available devices section. If they’re already paired they should appear in the paired devices section.
Step 2 – Access The Xbox One App
If you already have the Xbox One app installed, you’ll need to log in to your Microsoft account for the first time. Once you’re in, navigate to the parties tab. It’s indicated by the outline of three people to the left of your messages tab.
Step 3 – Configure Your Party
Once you’re in the parties tab, you’ll want to select “start party”.
After this you’ll want to select “party controls” and change your audio device to “bluetooth device”.
From this point onwards, you’ll be able to communicate over your Bluetooth headphones to anyone within this party chat.
Workaround 3 – Use Your TV As An Audio Source
If you’re looking to be able to listen to in-game audio as well as party chat, this is a good option. Just bear in mind you won’t be able to transmit microphone data to your party – only receive.
Step 1 – Assess Your TV
TVs are getting kitted out with increasingly more impressive gear every year. There’s a chance that your TV already has native Bluetooth support. If This is the case you won’t need to purchase a transmitter. If your TV lacks native support you can easily scoop up a transmitter for cheap.
Step 2 – Ensure You’re Connected VIA HDMI
Double check your Xbox One is connected to your TV via an HDMI. Statistically speaking, it’s very unlikely that this will not be the case. If it isn’t, grab an HDMI cable and plug it in from the HDMI out at the rear end of your Xbox into the first available HDMI port on your TV. This is vital as HDMI will be sending the vital audio information we need for our gaming headset.
Step 3 – Connect Your Headphones To Your TV
Whether you utilize a native function on your TV, or plug a transmitter into the audio jack, the end result will be the same.
Your audio port will normally be indicated by text denoting “audio out”. Alternatively a headphone symbol may be used.
HD quality audio will be streaming to your headset instantly. Enjoy!
Workaround 4 – Stream To Your PC
Another awesome feature of the Xbox One is its ability to stream gameplay to home PCs that run a windows 10 operating system (or ab0ve). This will allow you to play with a mouse and keyboard in some instances, or your wireless controller.
It’ll also transmit sound over whatever your native audio device is on your PC. If that just so happens to be your Bluetooth headphones, then that’s fine. But you could theoretically rig it up to a guitar amp with a 3.5mm jack convertor or literally any other audio device.
Before you try this, you might want to double check your Xbox’s device streaming settings.
Navigate to device connections in your Xbox settings and ensure “allow play to streaming” and “allow game streaming to other devices” is enabled.
Step 1 – Search “Xbox One” On Your Windows 10 PC
This should bring up a couple of options. The one you’re looking for is “Xbox console companion.”. Boot this app up and log in.
Step 2 – Select “Connections”
Once you’re in the Xbox One app. Navigate to “connection” in the options menu on your left-hand side.
Step 3 – Connect To Your Xbox One
Look for the “connect to your xbox one” option. Once you’ve selected that you should see a button that says “+Add A Device”.
Step 4 – Select Your Console
The app will proceed to search your local network for your Xbox. Once it appears you need only click the “connect” button to the right of your console name.
If you’re having connection difficulties, you may be able to use an ethernet cable.
If this doesn’t work, you can also try typing in your console’s Local IP Address. “192.168.0.x” with x denoting a number, normally between 1-10 depending on the number of devices on your network.
Step 5 – Start Streaming Your Games
Now you’re all set, you can navigate through your games on your PC and begin playing immediately. There’s no need for a headset adapter here. Any device you can use natively with your pc will begin receiving and streaming audio as if it was directly from your Xbox.