Use Phone Link to Play Stadia on a TV With Most Controllers

For me, one of the best features of Google Stadia is the ability to play AAA quality games on pretty much any device you own without the need for a console or a high specced PC. Another great feature is that, for the most part, you don’t actually need to use a Stadia controller. Any modern controller will work fine. Connect a PS4 or Xbox controller to your phone/tablet/computer via Bluetooth or wired, boot up Stadia and you’re good to go. Stadia will even change the iconography to match the controller you are using! Magic. However, if you wanted to play Stadia on your big 4K HDR TV, you did need to use the Stadia controller with a CCU or Android/Google TV. Well, until recently… Now that’s now changed!

A while back, the Stadia team released an update to the platform called “Phone Link”. When you fire up Stadia on your TV you can either use your phone as a touchpad OR you can use your phone as a “bridge” and plug a controller into it. With this feature you can play Stadia on your TV with a wide range of controllers. Obviously, this is great if you don’t have a Stadia controller or prefer to play with your Xbox controller on your TV; with minimal outlay, now you can.

Using the bridge mode is relatively straight forward. It is slightly different for a TV with the app built in (Android TV, Samsung or LG) then with a ChromeCast Ultra, however.

For TVs with the Stadia app, start by launching Stadia on your TV. Then, on your mobile phone or tablet, open the Stadia app and tap the controller prompt and enter the code shown on the TV. Your device is now connected via wifi to Stadia. Then plug in any controller to your device and you are good to go!

Note: If you miss the prompt, tap Controller icon > Phone touch gamepad > Play on TV.

For the ChromeCast Ultra, On your TV, switch to the input for CCU. Find the linking code on your Chromecast’s ambient mode screen. (If you can’t find the linking code, turn it in on your ambient mode settings.) On your mobile device, open the Stadia app, Tap the Controller icon > Phone touch gamepad > Play on TV. Tap the directional pad and face button icons to enter the linking code displayed on your TV. Again, connect a controller to your phone and you’re good to go.

Gif showing how to use Stadia Bridge Mode

What controllers can I use?

Officially, you can use any of the controllers on this list: Stadia Supported Controllers. But, if the controller can connect to your phone or tablet via USB then it should work. Now, not every single controller will work, or work properly but this option gives you a wide range of potential controllers to choose from.

This feature is still in its infancy so there are a few issues. Whilst you are using your phone as a bridge the phone screen needs to stay on the Stadia screen. This means opening another app or checking that last message will cause the controller to disconnect. Stadia will automatically pause the game if this happens. But it is a minor inconvenience. Of course, the other downside to having your screen on all the time is the issue of battery life. Luckily it is a dark screen so that should mitigate the battery loss some what, but each phone will be different.

Let us know how this new Stadia bridge mode works for you in the comments.



A tabletop gaming nerd who has recently rediscovered video game thanks to Stadia (RiP). He is a huge believer in Cloud Gaming and the accessibility it brings. He Loves playing Dungeons & Dragons and a slew of modern board games as well as creating custom leather goods and photography.

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