How To Use an Xbox One without a Controller
You can use an Xbox One without a controller but you won’t necessarily get all of the functionality out of it. You can control elements of your console, chat and share updates with an app, connect a standalone mouse and keyboard or use a third-party adapter to connect a mouse and keyboard.
You won’t be able to play many games and certainly not the faster or twitchier games unless you use that adapter. Neither the app nor mouse and keyboard option is ideal but can work after a fashion. The adapter is the best option but is also expensive. If you don’t have your controller, it breaks and you’re waiting for a replacement to arrive or something else, you can Xbox One without a controller with one of these solutions.
Use the Xbox app
The Xbox app has been around for a few years and is a viable way to control your Xbox One. You can chat with friends, look for groups in games, update your activity feed, watch videos and promos of games, buy games to remotely for your Xbox and use it as a media controller for watching movies or TV.
The app and your Xbox will need to be on the same WiFi network but should find each other without a problem if they are.
Using the app to play games is much more limited. You can play basic games as the app can use the keyboard to control but it takes some getting used to and is nowhere near as exact as an Xbox controller.
The app is available for Android and iPhone and works okay on each. The app does have a tendency to crash and error though so is far from perfect. It works better as an addition to an Xbox controller rather than a replacement for it.
Once you’ve downloaded and signed into the Xbox app on a mobile device, simply click the three bar tab at the bottom. Next, select the Xbox you’re wanting to connect to (be sure that your mobile device and the Xbox on are on the same wifi network otherwise you won’t see your console).
Now, you can select the option to access the Xbox remote.
If done properly your screen will look like this:
While it may take some getting used to, it’s definitely an Xbox controller. You’ll likely have to play around with the functions for a bit to get used to it though.
Use a mouse and keyboard with Xbox One
PC gamers and Xbox One gamers are often prevented from playing the same matches as mouse and keyboard can give PC players an advantage. So what if you could use a mouse and keyboard with an Xbox One? You can after a fashion.
You can use a USB mouse and keyboard to navigate your Xbox One already. There is mouse support built into the console and keyboard shortcuts already configured. Only some games are compatible with this form of control though.
This page on the Xbox One support website tells you exactly what you currently can and cannot do with a mouse and keyboard on Xbox One. The page does not tell you which games currently support mouse and keyboard but I know Fortnite and War Thunder do as I tested them.
Use a third party dongle with Xbox One
There are a couple of good third-party dongles that let you connect and use a mouse and keyboard to an Xbox One. They include the XIM Apex and IOGEAR KeyMander. Both of these dongles translate mouse and keyboard input into the Xbox for use in games. This is the only viable way I know of right now to use an Xbox One without a controller to play games.
They aren’t cheap though. Both adapters are $99.99 and don’t include the mouse or keyboard.
These dongles connect to your Xbox via USB and the mouse and keyboard connect to the dongle. The dongle translates input from the mouse and keyboard into native Xbox language so it can be used for all of the control schemes you would typically use in a game. You can also create specific profiles so you can use your favorite shortcut keys or mouse buttons for specific commands within a game.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I join Xbox parties without a controller?
Yes. You can use the smartphone app to chat with others. Launch the app and tap on the chat icon located at the bottom of the app. Select the headphone icon in the upper right-hand corner and you will automatically join or start a party.
Can I connect my Xbox 360 controller to the Xbox One?
No. Unfortunately based on our most recent tests even the wired Xbox 360 controller has no functionality when plugged into an Xbox One. However, rumors are currently circulating that the Xbox One S will have full compatibility with older controllers.
Although that doesn’t help you today, there is hope that we may one day reach the point where we can finally use those old accessories again.