How to fix a flashing white PS4 controller

Dualshock 4 Hero Closeup
(Image credit: Jennifer Locke / Android Central)

When your PlayStation or peripherals do things you've never seen before, it's understandable to get worried. For instance, the DualShock controller light doesn't usually flash white. There are two main reasons you might see the flashing white light on your DualShock controller: either the battery is dying, or the controller failed to connect to your PlayStation console. Luckily, both of these things are fixable. 

Before shelling out for a brand new controller, you can troubleshoot the problems yourself so you can get back to enjoying your games with the best PS4 controllers available. Here's how to get started.

How to fix a flashing white PS4 controller

You can use a few different methods to fix this problem, stemming from swapping out the USB cable you're using to resetting the console itself. It's all a fairly easy process, but we'll run you through each measure you can take to try and get your DualShock 4 working properly again. 

Check your USB cable

USB cables can be fragile. One of the most straightforward fixes is replacing your old USB charging cord and replacing it with shiny new ones. Just some basic USB charging cables work well with the DualShock controller and are worth picking up to make sure your cable isn't stopping your controller from charging.

  1. Once the replacements have arrived, plug the USB into the PlayStation 4.
  2. Plug your USB into the DualShock controller.
  3. If the light changes to blue or orange, the issue was the cable.

Reset your console

The old "turn it off and back on again" trick works more times than you think! Sometimes, all that's needed is a simple restart on the PlayStation 4.

1. Power off your PlayStation by holding down the power button for 10 seconds.
2. Remove the power cord from the back of the PlayStation 4.
3. Wait about three minutes.
4. Plug your power cable back in. 

(Image credit: Jennifer Locke / Android Central)

5. Power on the PlayStation 4.
6. Plug your USB charging cable into the PlayStation 4.
7. Plug your USB charging cable into the DualShock controller.

(Image credit: Jennifer Locke / Android Central)

8. Press the PlayStation button on the DualShock controller to turn it on.

Reset the controller

Your controller has its own software, and when that software gets updated, things can get corrupted. Fortunately, you can reset your DualShock controller back to factory default.

1. Turn your controller over to find the reset button on the back by the top right screw.

(Image credit: Source: PlayStation)

2. Using an unfolded paperclip, or a sim card opener from your phone push the button inside of the hole.

3. Hold the button down for five seconds.

4. Use steps 6, 7, and 8 in the previous guide above to reconnect your DualShock controller to the PS4.

Start in safe mode

It may be that your PS4 is to blame and not the controller. You can do more troubleshooting in safe mode, including rebuilding your database. Sometimes, going into safe mode to connect your DualShock controller will bypass any issue.

Note: Do not attempt to launch your PS4 in safe mode if your USB ports are not working. After you start your console in safe mode, you need to sync your controller through a USB port. If your USB ports aren't working, you will need to fix them before attempting this step.

1. Turn off your PS4.

2. Press and hold the power button until you hear two beeps: one when you first press and another seven seconds later. 

PlayStation safe mode press and hold power

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

3. Connect your DualShock 4 controller with the USB cable

(Image credit: Jennifer Locke / Android Central)

4. Press the PS button on the center of the controller. 

Using a DualShock 4 on PS5

Dualsense Dualshock Play Has No Limits

(Image credit: Jennifer Locke / Android Central)

DualShock 4 controllers are compatible with PS5. For the easiest way to connect your controller, simply plug it in via the USB charging cable. Keep in mind that while the DualShock 4 will work on PS5, it's only compatible with PS4 games through backward compatibility. You cannot play PS5 games with a DualShock 4 controller.

That's all it takes

If none of the steps above work, you may have a faulty controller. It happens, especially if your controllers aren't handled with care. Children like to use controllers as a hammer sometimes, and I'm sure that's not good for it. If that's the case, then you may need to return it to the store you bought it from or pick up a new one.

Jennifer Locke
Games Editor - PlayStation, Android, VR

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.

With contributions from