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How to Use a Keyboard and Mouse on Xbox One Without an Adapter in Easy Steps, With Photos

Key Points

Using a keyboard and mouse on Xbox One can enhance your gaming experience by providing better aim and reaction time.

Wired USB hardware can be connected directly to the Xbox One console without the need for an adapter.

Bluetooth-enabled keyboards and mice are not compatible with Xbox One consoles.

Using a keyboard and mouse on your Xbox One console can provide you with a competitive edge over other players. The inherent accuracy and precision of these devices can enhance your aim and reaction time in various games. However, connecting a mouse and keyboard to the Xbox One console isn’t as simple as it might seem. And it seems even less simple to use a keyboard and mouse on Xbox One without an adapter. But is it really that difficult? Do you really need an adapter? The answer is “No.”

In this guide, we‘ll provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to use a keyboard and mouse on Xbox One without having to rely on adapters.

Here‘s what you need to know:

Despite implementing Bluetooth support in their Wireless Xbox Controllers (models 1708 and above), Xbox consoles don‘t have native Bluetooth support.

Xbox One and its successors, the Xbox Series X|S, still rely on the Xbox Wireless Protocol. This protocol is used to achieve and maintain the connection between the console and the Designed for Xbox peripherals.

You can always use a wired USB keyboard and mouse with your console.

Some wireless models may still work, but they mostly rely on the USB dongle.

Method 1: Use Wired Hardware

The gaming equipment, such as controllers, used a wired connection for the better part of gaming history. However, the introduction of wireless technologies has made wires a massive hindrance. But, if you‘re really adamant about using a keyboard and mouse on Xbox One, wired USB hardware might be your best option.

All you need to do is ensure that you have an available USB slot for each device. Then, you need to connect each device to your Xbox, and you‘re ready to go. You‘ll find a detailed explanation below:

Important note: In the images, we‘re using a Logitech MX Keys keyboard and MX Master 3 mouse, which, despite Logitech‘s marketing, doesn‘t actually support a wired connection mode. The USB cable provided with both devices is actually for charging only. Thus, the pictures provided for this method are for illustrative purposes only. Make sure the mouse and keyboard you choose supports wired connection mode or try Method 2.

Step 1: Plug and Play

To use the USB mouse and keyboard with your Xbox One console, you just need to connect them to the appropriate USB slots. However, all Xbox One versions, including the original and the X|S variants, only have one USB port accessible from the front. The rest of the USB ports are located at the back of the console.

It doesn’t really matter which USB slot on the console you use to connect each device. However, the input device’s cable length plays a role in port selection. For convenience, connect the device with a longer USB cable to the port located at the back of the console.

Plug your wired Keyboard and Mouse into the Xbox's USB ports

Plug your wired Keyboard and Mouse into the Xbox‘s USB ports (1 at the front and more (number depends on Xbox version) at the back of the Xbox).

Step 2: Set Everything Up

Your wired USB mouse and keyboard should be instantly recognized — even if they‘re coming from a generic, white-label manufacturer. And while your keyboard is instantly ready for use, your mouse might need additional setup.

To set up your mouse, press the Xbox button on your controller to open the guide overlay. Once the overlay pops up, select Settings to open the Settings menu. On the left-hand pane, select Devices & Connections. This will switch you to the right-hand pane, where you should select Mouse to open the Mouse settings.

In the Mouse settings, you can adjust the pointer speed per your personal preferences. Please note that you‘ll need to use your controller to configure your mouse. The Settings app doesn‘t support mouse interaction. And that‘s it; your wired USB keyboard and mouse are ready for use.

You will have to use your Xbox controller to configure your keyboard and mouse

You will have to use your Xbox controller to configure your keyboard and mouse.

Things to Keep in Mind

Some guides online suggest that you install the Xbox Insider Hub since your mouse and keyboard won‘t work without it. This is only true if you haven‘t updated your Xbox One console since the beginning of 2018. In 2018, Microsoft introduced support for USB mice and keyboards on all Xbox One console variants. All you need to do is connect a compatible USB mouse and keyboard. They should work without you having to join the Xbox Insider Hub.

You can navigate the Dashboard using your keyboard. However, while you can use the mouse and keyboard in most games — some games don‘t support it — the mouse won‘t work within the Xbox UI while navigating the Dashboard. Microsoft Edge will work fine with the mouse, but only as an on-screen cursor.

Method 2: Use Wireless Hardware

Despite introducing Bluetooth support for Xbox Wireless controllers, Xbox consoles still lack native Bluetooth support. This means that Bluetooth-enabled keyboards and mice won’t connect to your console. Fortunately, most wireless keyboards and mice, such as our MX Keys and MX Master 3, use a USB dongle to function. This isn’t the same as an adapter. For now, let‘s just connect the wireless keyboard and mouse to the Xbox One console.

Step 1: Plug the USB Dongle

Plug the tiny dongle that was included with your wireless keyboard and mouse into the USB port at the back of your Xbox

Plug the tiny dongle that was included with your wireless keyboard and mouse into the USB port at the back of your Xbox.

The first step towards using a wireless keyboard and mouse on Xbox One is to plug in the USB receiver dongle. These dongles are usually small and unobtrusive, but we still suggest plugging them into a USB port at the back of the console. The console should instantly recognize the dongle.

However, depending on the OS version of your console, you might have to power it down first. Some Xbox One consoles need to boot with the USB dongle previously connected to recognize it. To do so, unplug the console from power, wait three minutes, plug in the wireless USB dongle, plug the console back into power, and power it on. The dongle should work now.

Important note: The original Xbox One uses an external power supply. It’s recommended that you unplug the console from the power outlet before disconnecting the power supply for the console. Also, it’s a good rule of thumb to always have a visual of the physical connection you‘re making between the ports and connectors.

Step 2: Connect the Keyboard and Mouse

Some keyboards and mice have to be paired with their USB dongles. If that‘s the case, please refer to each device‘s user manual for further instructions. Once everything‘s set up, you should be able to use your keyboard and mouse as described in Method 1.

Enjoy your new, precision Xbox gaming experience with full keyboard and mouse control.

Things to Keep in Mind

Most people recommend using Logitech keyboards and mice since the company uses an HID-compliant (Human Interface Device-compliant) wireless protocol. The Logitech MX Keys Keyboard and MX Master 3 mouse used in our test performed flawlessly. With that said, any other device that uses an HID-compliant wireless protocol should suffice. However, some compatibility issues may occur with more affordable hardware. This is why we strongly recommend using Designed for Xbox keyboards and mice with your Xbox One. These products, such as the Razer Turret Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard & Mouse Combo, are specifically designed for use on Xbox consoles.

As stated above, Bluetooth-enabled-only keyboards and mice won’t connect to the console. Please exercise caution when making a purchase to ensure that you‘re buying a compatible device for your Xbox One console.

Why Game on a Keyboard and Mouse

Since the dawn of gaming, games have been played using a controller. However, roughly around the third and fourth generation of consoles (the NES and SNES era), PC gaming really started to gain traction. And as the popularity of the PC grew, gamers leaned more toward the mouse and keyboard.

In truth, the mouse and keyboard make control much easier, as it relies on more muscles of the body. This allows for more precise and accurate control over the mouse, which affects aiming. For context, mouse control activates nine major muscles and several minor ones, which allows for a better controlled, faster, and more precise movement of the arm and hand. However, aiming using a thumb stick on a controller activates only six muscles of the hand and arm. That’s why the majority of console gamers rely on Aim Assist to level the playing field in cross-platform play.

Why Can‘t You Use Bluetooth-Enabled Hardware

When Microsoft first introduced the iconic Xbox 360 Wireless Controller, it implemented the Xbox Wireless protocol. It’s the company’s proprietary wireless protocol that relies on Bluetooth to carry input data. It provides a secure, low-latency connection between the console and the controllers.

This protocol differs from the Classic Bluetooth HID profile, which prevents the Xbox Controller from connecting to standard Bluetooth. Interestingly enough, the first Xbox Wireless Controller was actually made for the original Xbox. Logitech manufactured it under the Microsoft license, and it connected via RF (radio frequency) signal.

Despite implementing Bluetooth support into newer Wireless controllers, the devices still rely on the Xbox Wireless Protocol to connect to the consoles. That’s why you can’t connect Bluetooth-enabled-only keyboards and mice. The console isn’t equipped with the hardware to make and maintain Classic Bluetooth connections. The reason Xbox Wireless Controllers have Bluetooth support is to connect to mobile devices (Android, iOS) and PCs. In fact, Microsoft has been trying to gain a foothold in the mobile gaming market for years; and it aims to achieve just that with the Activision Blizzard purchase.

Xboxes, Adapters, and Dongles

Xbox consoles have always relied on the USB standard for certain physical connections. The proprietary connector on the original Xbox relied on the USB 1.1 standard, despite the lack of Type-A ports.

The Xbox 360 was the first Xbox console to have typical USB Type-A ports, which could easily connect a keyboard and mouse. However, Microsoft and other console manufacturers haven’t really invested that much into cross-platform play before the eighth generation of consoles. Thus, there was no need to equip the Xbox 360 with an adequate software driver to support keyboard and mouse use.

The Xbox One console didn’t natively support mouse and keyboard hardware at launch. Gamers had to rely on adapters (not to be confused with dongles) to use a keyboard and mouse on their Xbox One consoles. These devices trick the Xbox console into thinking they‘re a wired controller. Adapters work by taking the keyboard and mouse input and converting it to a controller signal for the console to interpret. They’re quite a costly solution, and they’re only viable if the game you’re interested in playing doesn’t support a keyboard and mouse.

However, after the 2018 Xbox One update, Microsoft began implementing keyboard and mouse support into Xbox consoles. Fortunately, developers followed, and the number of Xbox games that support the keyboard and mouse continues to grow. This also eliminated the need for adapters across a variety of gaming titles.

On the other hand, don’t confuse wireless USB dongles with adapters, at least in the context of Xbox consoles. Most wireless keyboards and mice rely on USB dongles, which use proprietary wireless protocols to connect the devices. So, while they basically perform the same function, the wireless USB dongles and adapters are fundamentally different devices.

How to Use a Keyboard and Mouse on Xbox One Without an Adapter: Must-Know Facts

Here are the five must-know facts about keyboards, mice, and Xbox consoles:

  • The proprietary connector on the original Xbox relied on the USB 1.1 standard. Hackers took advantage of that, switched the proprietary connector with the USB Type-A, and coded drivers, which ultimately enabled the Xbox controller use on the PC.
  • Wireless keyboards rely on 2.4GHz wireless protocols for connectivity. Bluetooth and other communication technologies can also operate in the 2.4GHz range, but the difference in protocols prevents interference.
  • Regardless of the physical presence of USB ports, the Xbox 360 and Xbox One didn’t include native keyboard and mouse support. However, in 2018, Microsoft implemented USB support across all Xbox One models.
  • Successor consoles, the Xbox Series X|S, have USB keyboard and mouse support built-in by default.
  • Despite keyboard and mouse implementations, the support by developers still isn’t as widespread.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are a couple of ways you can use keyboards and mice on Xbox One without an adapter. Following the 2018 update, the adapters which convert the mouse and keyboard input into the controller input have become obsolete.

If you need any other help with your Xbox console or PC, check out some of our guides on How to Connect Xbox Controller to PC: 3 Methods, With Photos and How to Find Wi-Fi Password on Windows 10.