Over the last few weeks, I’ve found myself plagued with DualShock 4 connection issues. There’s been input lag. There have been stuck inputs. There’s even been complete unresponsiveness and random disconnections that power off the DualShock 4 when the battery life is still full. I tried to run my situation through the gamut of troubleshooting options that we posted here on PlayStation LifeStyle. Nothing fully worked. My PS4 has been in the same spot for years and worked just fine. Moving laptops and phones helped a bit, but the controller was still disconnecting unusually when it previously wouldn’t, and the issue was affecting all of my controllers. I’ve seen a few people recently on reddit even blaming the latest PS4 firmware update for their newly discovered DualShock 4 problems.
It turns out that there was one environmental factor that I had actually changed within the last few weeks, and it was the source of all my problems. I had added an external PS4 hard drive to free up some space on my main console drive. The drive I have uses a USB 3.0 connection, and that particular connection creates a noise in its cabling and device that can interfere with the specific frequency that Bluetooth devices use.
The problem between Bluetooth and USB 3.0 is actually so common, there is an entire website dedicated to the issue, why it happens, and how to resolve it. As soon as I realized this might be the issue, I untethered my external hard drive and tested for any further DualShock 4 connection issues. The problems disappeared and I had found the source of my connection interruptions.
To fix it, I do a few things. First, I leave my external hard drive disconnected when not in use. I’ve moved all of my PSVR titles over the the external hard drive, so that if it does need to be connected, I am sitting a little bit closer to the console anyway, which helps eliminate some of those issues. If I do need to have the HDD connected for any reason, I will move it so that it it not between the DualShock 4 and the PS4. If possible, get a longer cable and route the external HDD away from anywhere that might create a barrier.
Finally, if you are using an external hard drive and have no option of disconnecting it, maybe it’s time to upgrade the internal hard drive on your PS4. Consider using our simple guide to make that switch so that you don’t even need to use an external hard drive at all. No external drive means no Bluetooth interference. No Bluetooth interference means no–or at least significantly reduced–DualShock 4 connection issues.
Have you run into any DualShock 4 connection issues? Did disconnecting or moving your PS4 external hard drive help to solve the issue? Let us know your experience in the comments below.