Your PlayStation 3 controller, also known as “DualShock 3,” is capable of connecting to more than just your PlayStation 3; in fact, because of its versatility, you can use it as a controller for other devices such as a computer.

This is due to the way a PS3 controller is designed. Because it’s considered a Bluetooth device, it’s capable of making a connection with a Windows PC or MacOS. However, there’s an unfortunate limitation to the device itself.

If you want to connect your PS3 controller without a USB to, say, your PS3, you couldn’t do it unless a connection was established beforehand.

Connecting a PS3 Controller to a PS3

Unfortunately, a DualShock 3 controller CANNOT connect to a PlayStation 3 without a USB to micro-usb cable, regardless of the fact that it’s a Bluetooth device. It isn’t until after you’ve synced the PS3 controller with the console itself can you connect your controller to the console without a USB cable.

With that being said, any USB to micro-USB cable will work. Once it’s been synced, it will be connected to that specific console. You’ll be able to power on your PS3, shut it down and connect it whenever you want without the cable.

1. Power on your PS3 through the use of the Power button, located in the front.

2. Plug the larger end of the USB into the console. A USB port should be on the front facing panel.

3. Now plus the smaller end, the micro-USB, into the controller itself.

4. Once the two are successfully connected, press and hold the PlayStation button in the middle of the controller, between the two joysticks. Hold it in until the PS3 registers the connection. In doing so, your controller and console are now synced.

Having Trouble Syncing?

If you’re having problems, you can reset your sync settings, provided you have a USB to micro-USB cable to re-establish the connection.

1. Flip your PS3 controller over. Located near the L2 trigger is a very small hole. That’s the Reset button.

2. With a paperclip or toothpick, gently press the Reset button and hold it in for about 2-3 seconds. In doing so, your sync settings will be deleted. The controller is now disconnected from your PlayStation 3. Any attempt to reconnect will require a USB to micro-USB cable.

3. Reestablish a connection with the steps under “Connecting a PS3 Controller to a PS3.”

Connecting a PS3 Controller to a Computer

As mentioned before, a PS3 controller is fully capable of being used with your computer. Most games come with controller support, providing an alternative way of playing should you feel more comfortable with a controller in your hand.

This is largely done in the same way on both Windows and MacOS. The one exception is the installation of SCP Toolkit on Windows PCs. SCP Toolkit is a program that will make it possible to use a PS3 controller on a Windows PC.

1. Start by powering down any PS3 consoles you own and unplugging them. This is to ensure you don’t connect to them by mistake.

2. Flip your PS3 controller over. Located near the L2 trigger is a very small hole. That’s the Reset button.

3. With a paperclip or toothpick, gently press the Reset button and hold it in for about 2-3 seconds. In doing so, your sync settings will be deleted. The controller is now disconnected from your PlayStation 3. Any attempt to reconnect will require a USB to micro-USB cable.

4. Press the PS button in the middle, the button between the Select and Start button.

Note: A hiccup in Windows requires the controller to be turned on before you make the connection.

5. Plug a USB to micro-USB into your computer and to the controller.

6. [WINDOWS ONLY] Download and install SCP Toolkit and follow through with the setup.exe.

7. Ensure that Bluetooth has been enabled.

8. Press the PS button once again to establish a connection.

9. Connect with the PS3 controller in your Bluetooth settings.

10. Enjoy your games.

Bottom Line

Unfortunately, in all aspects of connecting a PS3 controller for the first time, a USB cable is needed. The good news is that once a connection has been established, even if it was connected to your computer, you won’t need the USB cable. Simply press the PS button in the middle and you’re good to go.