A new tool can unlock Bluetooth Low Energy support on the Stadia Controller, but you only have until December 31st to update controllers.
Google’s Stadia Controller Bluetooth support tool is now live, allowing all Stadia controllers to connect to PCs and other devices with Bluetooth Low Energy. Google’s tool to update Stadia controllers works over the web using Chrome, so it should work for both Windows and macOS users without the need to download an app.
The tool itself will disable the proprietary Wi-Fi connectivity on the Stadia Controller and replace it with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) instead. That means if you want to use Stadia for one final time today or tomorrow, you’ll need to wait to run the update, as it’ll disable the controller’s connectivity with Google’s servers.
Disabling the Wi-Fi connectivity also means that many workarounds will no longer function. Some Stadia players had been connecting wirelessly to an Android device, largely in an effort to save the controller from e-waste before Google’s surprise Bluetooth announcement last week.
Wired headphones won’t work if you plug them into the Stadia Controller after applying the Bluetooth update, either, so you’ll need to connect headphones directly to a device that’s paired with the controller instead. The Google Assistant and Capture buttons won’t work after the update either, but you’ll likely be able to map them in supported games and apps.
Once Bluetooth is enabled, you’ll be able to pair a Stadia Controller by holding the Stadia button and the Y button for two seconds until the status light starts flashing orange.
Strangely, Google says Stadia Controller owners will only have until December 31st to update their controllers and get the Bluetooth mode enabled. So if you happen to buy a secondhand Stadia Controller next year, you might miss the opportunity to apply the update. Google may well extend that date in the future, but if you have a Stadia Controller, it’s well worth applying the update once Google’s servers shut down at 11:59PM PT tomorrow.