There are plenty of good reasons to hook up a keyboard and mouse to your next-gen console. Not only do peripherals give you greater precision and flexibility while gaming, they also make entering text and using other apps much less of a chore. It opens up ways of using your games box — to browse the web, for example — that you might never have thought of before.
Even if you don’t do your gaming with a keyboard and mouse, it’s worth setting this up solely so that you never have to type in another password or search query with your console’s controller ever again. Here’s how it’s done.
Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S
Both the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S consoles come with three USB-A ports supporting USB 3.1 — two on the back and one on the front. To start using a keyboard or mouse with either of the consoles, simply plug the peripheral into one of these ports, and after a few seconds you should be ready to go.
You don’t need both a keyboard and a mouse at the same time for this to work — if you’d rather, you can just use one or the other, and the Xbox wireless controller will continue to function normally even with other peripherals plugged in.
Keyboard and mice with bespoke wireless USB dongles should work fine, though it’s always wise to double-check. Connecting them should be as simple as plugging the dongle into your Xbox console and then waiting a few moments for the input device pairing to happen.
As far as the Xbox operating system goes, only the keyboard will work — you can use the arrow keys to navigate the home screen, for example. The mouse won’t respond until you open up a game or app that’s been coded to work with a mouse, though the mouse does get its own configuration screen. From Settings pick Devices & connections then Mouse to change the pointer speed and button setup.
Apps and games with keyboard and mouse support should need no further configuration, though keyboard support seems far more common. Apps such as Microsoft Edge and Netflix let you use the keyboard, for instance, but don’t respond to the mouse.
It’s worth knowing a few keyboard shortcuts for the Xbox. The Windows key opens up the guide (just like the Xbox button on the controller), you can use Tab (and Shift+Tab) to jump between sections in an app, Space can be used to make a selection, and Esc will take you back in a lot of scenarios.
A quick web search will reveal the Xbox titles that work with a keyboard and mouse. Some of the most popular games that support the input devices include Fortnite, Minecraft, Sea of Thieves, The Sims, and the Call of Duty series. Note that online first-person shooters will usually pair you with PC players if you’ve got a keyboard and mouse attached to your Xbox.
Getting a keyboard and mouse set up on the PlayStation 5 is just as straightforward as it is on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, though again these peripherals will only work on apps and games that have been developed with specific support for them.
The PS5 has two USB-A ports on the back, supporting USB 3.0, plus one USB-A port (with USB 2.0 speeds) and one USB-C port (with USB 3.0 speeds) on the front. You can plug a keyboard or a mouse into any one of these four ports, and it should be picked up by the console in a second or two.
You can use just the keyboard or just the mouse. Whether you use one or the other or both, the PS5 DualSense controller will continue to work, so you can use them all together if you need to. Keyboards and mice that use a wireless USB adaptor should work too, without any extra configuration. Bluetooth is another option — go to General and Bluetooth Accessories in Settings to do the pairing.
In terms of the main PlayStation 5 interface, the keyboard is going to be of most use. You can’t actually use a mouse on the PS5 home screen and menus, but you can use a keyboard. Use the arrow keys to move around and Enter to make selections, and tap the Esc key if you need to go back.
Any time you need to do any typing, whether it’s searching for a particular game or entering your login details for an app, the keyboard comes in handy. It’s certainly much easier than trying to type out text with the DualSense controller.
From Settings, head to Accessories to find the Keyboard and Mouse menus, which include some very basic options: layout, key delay and key repeat rate for the keyboard, and button layout and pointer speed for the mouse.
To use these peripherals in apps and games, they’ll need to be coded to support a mouse and keyboard — and some titles will pair you up with PC players during multiplayer because you have a keyboard and mouse plugged in. Well-known games with keyboard and mouse support include Overwatch, DayZ, War Thunder, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and Call of Duty: Warzone.