Skip to Content

What The Yellow Light On Your PS4 Controller Means

The PS4 is a wildly popular gaming console that packs in a handful of new features and improvements. Even the familiar DualSense controllers now feature an indicator light that flashes all sorts of colors. When it turns yellow, it can be a sign of something gone wrong.

While a yellow light on your PS4 can signify a few different things, it usually means you’re having issues with charging. For some games, it may signal in-game mechanics. If you suspect a charging issue, start troubleshooting by seeing if you can charge the controller and clear the light.

So, what do you need to know to fix your controller? What other issues might a yellow light indicate? We’ll take a look closer at this info below, but do note that if you’re playing a game that uses the controller light to give you information, that’s the most likely reason this yellow light will be on!

How a PS4 Controller Operates (And How if Fails)

Senior man hands playing game with joystick

What good is a game console without the controller? While some major manufacturers have tried their hands at creating a controller-free experience, controllers still play an essential role in gaming.

For some users, controllers provide the best control over in-game settings. Even PC users favor the controller over a keyboard and mouse in some situations.

While there are many different controller choices on the market, the PS4 controller (on Amazon) is quite popular. But how do these controllers even work?

A PS4 controller works by wirelessly connecting, via Bluetooth, to your console. Through a system of buttons and joysticks, users can navigate in-game mechanics.

The PS4 controller is also battery-operated, so you’ll need to charge it often.

That’s a pretty basic overview of what a PS4 controller does. In most cases, it does the same exact job as any other controller you’ve seen.

What you don’t see is the intricate engineering happening behind the plastic. The PS4 controller, for instance, uses technology like DualShock and even gyroscopes to give you a world-class gaming experience.

In a perfect world, your controller would last forever. But that’s not the world we live in! So here are some potential issues to look out for:

  • Shoddy connection
  • Not charging
  • Odd flashing indicator lights
  • Buttons not working
  • Unresponsive

If you’re experiencing any of these issues, it means your controller isn’t working as it should. The colored lights can help you figure it out.

What Do the Different Colored Lights Mean?

The lights on the indicator portion of your controller sure look cool, but they also play a practical role. Although the first thing that may come to mind is that lights indicate a problem, that’s certainly not the only thing they are used for.

In fact, Sony has made it a point to add some unique and custom features for their indicator lights. But before we get into that, let’s talk about what lights you might see.

Lights on the PS4 controller might be red, green, blue, pink, orange, yellow, or white. These light features can mean all kinds of things, depending on what you’re doing. For instance, the main function of these lights is to help identify different players.

If you’re playing with friends, it’s easy to get the controllers mixed up. That’s why the default setting for these lights is to identify players.

Next, each game developer has a chance to add a little extra layer of immersion by messing with the indicator lights.

For instance, if you’re playing GTA 5, each playable character in the game has a different color. One of them is yellow! Speaking of yellow, if you’re seeing a yellow light, it could be a sign of an issue.

How to Troubleshoot a PS4 Controller

PS4 controllers may seem like simple devices, but there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. This means there are quite a few chances for failure.

While signs of problems like unresponsive buttons and dead controllers are easy to identify, others are a bit trickier. In most cases though, there are some easy ways to troubleshoot the issue.

First, you might try to see if your controller is charging properly:

  1. Find your USB charging cable.
  2. Plug in your controller.
  3. Observe the lights and the reaction.
  4. Now, try to use a different USB cable that you have tested on another device like a phone or tablet.
  5. If your indicator light turns blue or white, it means that your other cable isn’t working.

If that doesn’t produce some promising results, you can try to disconnect all the controllers from your PS4 for a reset. To do that, you’ll need the PS4 Remote Play app for a phone or tablet since you’ll be disconnecting your controllers. Once you have the app installed, here is what you need to do:

  1. Sign in to your Playstation account in the app. Make sure it’s the same account as the one on your PS4.
  2. You should see a start button. You’ll want to click it and wait for it to connect to your console.
  3. Next, use the virtual D-pad to navigate the screen.
  4. Find settings, then devices, and finally Bluetooth devices.
  5. You should see your controller listed. Find the one in question and click ‘forget device.’
  6. Now, press the PS button and the Share button on your controller.
  7. You should see a flashing blue light; this means you can now proceed to re-pairing the controller.

If you’re still experiencing problems, it’s time for a reset. First, try the controller:

  1. On the backside of the controller, you should see a reset button. It’s located near the L2 shoulder button.
  2. Use a SIM card ejector pin or another small thin object to click the button. Make sure to hold it for a few seconds.
  3. After resetting your controller, plug it back into your console to charge.
  4. Press the PS button to turn the controller back on.

Last but not least is resetting your console itself:

  1. Turn off your PS4.
  2. Remove the power cord and leave it unplugged for at least 5 minutes to let the energy discharge from the system.
  3. Plug the cable back in.
  4. Hold the power button for 10 seconds and wait for it to beep twice.
  5. Plug in a USB cable into the PS4 and the other end into the controller.
  6. Next, find and select initialize PS4.

Signs Your PS4 Controller Isn’t Charging Properly

Boy hands playing game with gamepad

Signs of a bad controller are pretty obvious. If charging is your problem, you’ll probably figure it out. First, your controller may have trouble even connecting and charging in the first place.

Next, you might not be getting the same life out of your controller as you once did. The battery degrades over time and starts showing signs of wear after a set number of cycles.

Any of these signs can be a clear signal it’s time for a replacement. But, before you get a new controller, there are a few simple tricks to follow that might help:

  • Clean your controller: Dirt builds up in the charging port. Make sure it’s nice and clean, and ready for operation.
  • Switch out the charging cable: As we mentioned earlier, if you have a bad cable, that could be the source of your frustrations.

If these two simple fixes don’t help, it’s either a software or a hardware issue. For software issues, a simple reset might do the trick. If you’ve got a hardware problem, it might be time to consider replacing your device.

When Is It Time to Replace Your PS4 Controller?

Hardware fails — that’s the truth about any electronic device. While some seem to last quite a while, these devices do have a lifespan.

In most controller cases, the lifespan reflects how many cycles the battery inside has left.

With regular use, you can expect at least five years of play from your controller. After that, you’ll see some performance issues.

But the battery is only one part of the equation. While its true battery life is the main reason you might need to replace your controller, it’s not the only one.

We talked briefly about all the components on the inside of your controller, and each of these could have an issue. When a component breaks, you can’t simply reset the controller.

When buttons break, you’ll need to go inside and do some soldering to fix the issue. For many of us, this is a bridge too far. If that’s the case, then you might consider replacing your controller or taking it to a professional for repair.