How To Use The Wii U Without The Gamepad

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Are you a proud owner of a Wii U console but find yourself in a predicament where your Gamepad is not available? Don’t worry, because you can still enjoy your favorite games and make the most out of your gaming sessions with the Wii U even without the Gamepad. Whether you’ve misplaced it or it’s running low on battery, there are ways to play your beloved titles without relying on the Gamepad. In this article, we will explore alternative methods to play games on the Wii U, so you can continue your gaming adventures without interruption. Let’s dive in and discover how you can use the Wii U without the Gamepad!

Inside This Article

  1. Using a Pro Controller as a Gamepad Alternative
  2. Syncing a Wii Remote to Control the Wii U Console
  3. Navigating the Wii U Menu Using Buttons on the Console
  4. Using the Wii U Gamepad’s Screen as a Display
  5. Conclusion
  6. FAQs

Using a Pro Controller as a Gamepad Alternative

If you’re looking for an alternative to the Wii U Gamepad, the Pro Controller offers a comfortable and familiar gaming experience. This wireless controller is similar in design to the controllers you’ll find for other gaming consoles, making it a great option for gamers who prefer a more traditional setup.

The Pro Controller features all the necessary buttons and controls to navigate through menus, play games, and interact with the Wii U. It has dual analog sticks, a D-pad, four face buttons, shoulder buttons, and triggers. With its ergonomic design and reliable wireless connectivity, the Pro Controller is a popular choice among Wii U gamers.

To use the Pro Controller as a gamepad alternative, simply sync it with your Wii U console. On the Wii U Gamepad, navigate to the “Controller Settings” option in the System Settings menu. Select “Sync Pro Controller” and follow the on-screen prompts to connect the controller to your console.

Once synced, you can use the Pro Controller to navigate the Wii U’s menu by pressing the appropriate buttons. The home button on the Pro Controller functions the same way as the home button on the Gamepad, bringing up the quick menu for easy access to system settings and other features.

In games that support the Pro Controller, you can use it to play without having to rely on the Gamepad. Many popular Wii U titles, such as “Super Mario 3D World” and “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” are compatible with the Pro Controller, giving you the freedom to choose your preferred controller option.

With its comfortable grip, responsive controls, and versatility, the Pro Controller offers a seamless gaming experience. Whether you’re playing solo or enjoying multiplayer sessions with friends and family, the Pro Controller is a fantastic alternative to the Wii U Gamepad.

Syncing a Wii Remote to Control the Wii U Console

If you want to control your Wii U console without using the Gamepad, you can easily sync a Wii Remote to take control of your gaming experience. Syncing a Wii Remote to the Wii U console allows you to play games, navigate menus, and access various features using this alternative controller.

To sync a Wii Remote with your Wii U console, follow these simple steps:

  1. Make sure the Wii U console is turned on and go to the Wii U Menu.
  2. Open the small cover on the front of the Wii U console and locate the “Sync” button.
  3. Remove the battery cover from the back of the Wii Remote to access the “Sync” button.
  4. Press and hold the “Sync” button on the Wii U console for a few seconds until the sync screen appears.
  5. Press and hold the “Sync” button on the back of the Wii Remote until the player LED lights start flashing.
  6. Wait for a few seconds until the Wii U console recognizes the Wii Remote.
  7. Once the sync is complete, the player LED lights on the Wii Remote will stop flashing and stay lit, indicating a successful connection.

It’s important to note that you can sync up to four Wii Remotes with the Wii U console, allowing multiplayer gaming with friends and family. Each synced Wii Remote will be assigned a player number (player 1, player 2, etc.)

Once your Wii Remote is synced, you can use it to navigate the Wii U Menu and launch games. Some games might require additional attachments such as the Wii Nunchuk or Wii MotionPlus to fully utilize the Wii Remote’s functionalities.

Syncing a Wii Remote to the Wii U console provides a versatile and convenient way to control your gaming experience without relying solely on the Gamepad.

Navigating the Wii U Menu Using Buttons on the Console

If you find yourself without a Wii U Gamepad, don’t worry! You can still navigate through the Wii U menu and enjoy your favorite games using the buttons on the console itself. While the Gamepad offers a convenient touchscreen interface, the console’s buttons provide a reliable alternative for navigating the menu and launching games.

To begin, make sure the Wii U console is turned on and connected to your TV. Look for the power button on the front of the console, typically located in the center. Press the power button to turn on the console.

Once the console is turned on, you will be greeted with the Wii U menu. To navigate through the menu options, you can use several buttons located on the console itself. The most important buttons for navigating the menu are:

  • Directional Buttons: The directional buttons, typically located on the right side of the console, allow you to navigate up, down, left, and right through the menu options. Use these buttons to highlight the desired option.
  • A Button: The A button, usually located in the center of the directional buttons, serves as the select or confirm button. Once you have highlighted the desired option, press the A button to select it.
  • B Button: The B button, located to the right of the A button, serves as the back or cancel button. If you want to go back to the previous menu or cancel an action, press the B button.
  • Home Button: The Home button, located below the directional buttons, allows you to access the Wii U Home Menu. Press this button to return to the Home Menu at any time.

Using these buttons, you can navigate through the Wii U menu, launch games, access settings, and perform other functions. Simply highlight the desired option with the directional buttons and press the A button to select it.

It’s worth noting that while navigating the menu using buttons on the console is possible, it may not provide the same level of convenience and ease as using the Gamepad. Certain features and functions may be inaccessible or require additional steps without the Gamepad’s touchscreen capabilities. However, it’s still a viable option for those who don’t have access to a Gamepad or prefer using traditional buttons.

So, whether your Gamepad is out of battery or you simply prefer using buttons, rest assured that you can navigate the Wii U menu and enjoy your gaming experience using the buttons on the console itself.

Using the Wii U Gamepad’s Screen as a Display

If you’re looking to bring a new level of convenience and flexibility to your gameplay, the Wii U Gamepad offers you the option to use its screen as a display. This feature allows you to play your favorite Wii U games even when the TV is occupied or turned off. Let’s explore how you can make the most of this functionality.

To begin, ensure that your Wii U Gamepad is fully charged and synced with your console. Once you have setup the connection, you can start using the Gamepad’s screen as a display by following these steps:

  1. Power on your Wii U console, and navigate to the Wii U Menu.
  2. On the Wii U Menu, select the game you want to play.
  3. Before launching the game, press the “TV” button located on the left side of the Gamepad. This will switch the display from the TV to the Gamepad’s screen.
  4. Once the game is running, you’ll be able to view the gameplay and interact with the game using the Gamepad’s screen and controls.

Using the Gamepad’s screen as a display offers a range of benefits. First and foremost, it provides you with the flexibility to continue playing your favorite games even if the TV is in use. This can be particularly useful in households with multiple gamers or when you want to play in different rooms.

Additionally, the Gamepad’s screen allows for more immersive gameplay experiences. With the screen right in your hands, you can enjoy a more personal and up-close gaming experience. Whether you’re exploring a virtual world or engaging in intense multiplayer battles, the Gamepad’s screen can enhance your gameplay in unique ways.

Moreover, the Gamepad’s screen can also be used for off-TV play. Certain games are specifically designed to take advantage of this feature, allowing you to play the game solely on the Gamepad’s screen without the need for a TV. This is particularly handy when you want to play games on the go or in situations where a TV may not be readily available.

However, it’s important to note that not all Wii U games support the Gamepad’s screen as a display. While most games provide this feature, there may be a few exceptions. Before playing a game, it’s always a good idea to check the game’s compatibility with the Gamepad’s screen display feature.


Using the Wii U without the GamePad is not only possible but also opens up new possibilities for enjoying the console. Whether you’ve misplaced your GamePad, it’s broken, or you simply prefer a different controller, there are alternative options available. By utilizing the Pro Controller or a compatible Wii Remote, you can still access and play a wide range of games. Additionally, the Virtual Console allows you to relive retro gaming moments without the need for a GamePad. With the flexibility to choose your preferred controller, you can fully immerse yourself in the world of gaming without any limitations.


1. Can the Wii U be used without the Gamepad?
Yes, it is possible to use the Wii U without the Gamepad. While the Gamepad is the primary controller for the Wii U console, there are alternative controllers that can be used to play games and navigate the system.

2. What are the alternative controllers for the Wii U?
The Wii U is compatible with a variety of controllers, including the Wii Remote, Wii U Pro Controller, and the Wii Classic Controller. These controllers can be used as substitutes for the Gamepad, depending on the game being played and personal preference.

3. How do I set up alternative controllers for the Wii U?
To set up an alternative controller for the Wii U, simply sync the controller to the console. For the Wii Remote, press the sync button on both the remote and the console. For the Wii U Pro Controller and Wii Classic Controller, connect them to the console using the USB ports or sync them wirelessly, following the instructions provided with the controller.

4. Are all Wii U games compatible with alternative controllers?
While many Wii U games can be played with alternative controllers, some games may require specific features or functionality of the Gamepad. It is recommended to check the game’s packaging or consult the game’s manual to determine the supported controllers.

5. Can I use the Gamepad’s touchscreen functionality with alternative controllers?
No, the touchscreen functionality of the Gamepad is exclusive to the Gamepad itself and cannot be replicated with alternative controllers. Games that heavily rely on the touchscreen may not be fully playable without the Gamepad, as certain actions or functionalities may be restricted.