[Update: Fixed in Android 12] Many Android 11 users are having trouble getting games to recognize their controllers
Ever since Android 11 rolled out, users have been facing issues while trying to connect a gaming controller with their smartphones. According to the reports, phones running Android 11 are either not able to recognize controllers as input devices or they don’t let users map their keys properly.
As per a thread regarding the bug on the official Android Issue Tracker, several Pixel users and beta testers are facing the issue and they’re not able to use Bluetooth game controllers like the Xbox One controller, Sony’s DualShock 4, and even Google’s own Stadia controller with their devices. While a vast majority of the reports are from Pixel 2, Pixel 3, Pixel 3a, Pixel 4, and Pixel 4a owners, a few Samsung and OnePlus users running Android 11 builds have also reported similar behavior.
As of now, there is no confirmation as to what exactly is causing the issue. But it’s worth noting that Google had already acknowledged the issue back in August 2020, right when the initial Android 11 builds started reaching users. Currently, it seems that the development team is still trying to figure out the underlying cause and is working to bring a solid solution.
While Google hasn’t figured out a solution yet, some users have shared temporary workarounds. According to a few reports, the issue can be fixed by turning off certain accessibility options. For instance, a user suggests, “Can confirm, there’s a certain accessibility service that, if I disable it, controller immediately starts working, no reboot or anything. I can actually task switch back and forth from Stadia back to Settings, disable that one service on Accessibility, back to Stadia, and controller works; switch back to Settings, enable, back to Stadia, it’s suddenly dead just like before. That’s with no rebooting, no pairing or conn/disconnecting controllers, nothing.”
In case you’re facing the issue, you can try the workaround mentioned above. Until then, all we can do is wait for Google to address the issue and release a fix in a future update.
Update 1: Fixed in Android 12
Section by Mishaal Rahman
In a comment on the Google Issue Tracker, a Googler states that this issue has been fixed in Android 12. The fix was first made available in Android 12 Beta 4. The root cause of this bug has yet to be disclosed, but it’s likely related to how Android handles Accessibility services. Many users report that disabling one or more Accessibility services in Settings fixes the problem, but your mileage may vary.
Thanks to XDA Member Some_Random_Username for the tip!