You should try connecting a keyboard and mouse to your Xbox

When you buy an Xbox Series X or an Xbox Series S, the obvious move is to use the wireless controller that comes in the box. But if need them, these Microsoft consoles can also work with a keyboard and mouse—just like any Windows computer.

Hooking up extra peripherals to your console can make typing and navigating menus much easier, and if you want, you can also use them to play compatible games.

What to know before connecting a mouse and keyboard to your Xbox

The vast majority of wired keyboards and mice should work fine on your Xbox Series X/S. The only major restriction is that the console doesn’t support Bluetooth devices, so wired or dongle peripherals are your only options.

We couldn’t find any reports of any keyboards or mice that didn’t work with Microsoft’s gaming machine, perhaps because the underlying architecture is similar to Windows. So if you can plug the gadget into a USB-A port, you should be okay.

[Related: Xbox Series X vs. PS5: How to pick between the two biggest new game consoles]

Input devices with their own wireless USB dongles should also work well, but it’s more of a hit or miss. If you’re using a piece of hardware you already own, just give it a try to see if it’s a good match. But if you’re buying new, take a minute to look at the specs and make sure there’s a mention of Xbox compatibility. 

A keyboard and mouse setup allows for a lot more precision and fluidity in games, as you’ll know if you regularly game on PCs and consoles. However, while your keyboard and mouse will work everywhere in the Xbox menus, you won’t be able to use them in every game you play. And that’s not least because it would give you an unfair advantage over other players online using standard controllers.

If you need to know whether a specific title supports a keyboard and mouse, a quick web search is the easiest way to find out. Various sites maintain updated lists you can check out, but at the time of writing, some of the popular Xbox Series X/S games that support peripherals other than controllers include The Sims 4, Halo, Sea of Thieves, and Minecraft. Keep in mind that some games only offer limited support, so you might be able to use the keyboard for in-game chat but not for gameplay, for example.

Connecting a keyboard and mouse to your Xbox console

Connecting a mouse and keyboard to your Xbox is simple. All you need to do is plug your keyboard or mouse into a spare USB port on the Xbox Series X/S and you’re up and running. You’ve got three ports to choose from: two around the back of the console and one on the front. It makes no difference which ones you use.

If you’re these ports are already taken by other accessories such as a gamepad controller or external storage, you can connect a USB hub. This takes up one port on your console but adds a few extras for whatever you want. There’s no definitive list of compatible hubs to refer to, but most devices out there should work seamlessly. If you’re buying a new one, we’d recommend making sure that it specifically mentions Xbox Series X/S support, just to be on the safe side.

Note that the Xbox Series X/S consoles use USB Type-A ports, not the smaller USB Type-C, so pick your keyboard, mouse, or hub accordingly. If you already have your peripheral but it connects via USB-C, a simple and inexpensive adapter should easily do the trick: they’re about $10 and available from most electronics stores.

If you’re using a keyboard or mouse with a wireless USB dongle, follow the instructions that came with your device. Most of the time, connecting them to your Xbox is just a matter of plugging the dongle in and waiting a few seconds—it’ll automatically find the devices and get them working with the console they’re plugged into.

Configuring a keyboard or mouse on your Xbox Series X/S

Once your keyboard is connected to your Xbox Series X/S, it’s time to test it. Try navigating around the main Xbox interface, using the arrow keys to move, the Enter key to select, and the Esc key to go back. If you try running a search using the box in the top left corner of the screen, you should be able to type out your search using the keyboard.

The Xbox Series X/S have their own keyboard shortcuts as well. Tap Y to run a search, for example, Tab to go forward through items on the screen (or Shift+Tab to go backward), or Win+I to open up the main Settings panel. And if you can’t momentarily reach your keyboard, you can always keep using your standard controller, as one doesn’t replace the other.

[Related: The best Xbox One controllers of 2023]

Unfortunately, testing a mouse isn’t quite as easy. The peripheral won’t work on the main Xbox interface and menus, so you’ll need to open a compatible game or app to see if everything is working fine. You can refer to one of the online lists we mentioned earlier, but you can also try Microsoft Edge, which comes pre-installed in your console.

If you want to personalize your experience, there aren’t many configuration options you need to know about. There are none for a connected keyboard, but when it comes to the mouse, you can select the cog in the top right corner of the interface to get to the Settings screen. There, pick Devices & connections and then Mouse—you’ll able to change the pointer speed and swap the functions of the primary and secondary (left and right) mouse buttons.