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How To Fix Joy-Con Drift On Nintendo Switch?

If you're a Nintendo Switch owner, you've probably encountered the frustrating issue of Joy-Con drift. Joy-Con drift refers to the problem where the analog sticks on the Joy-Con controllers register movement even when they're not being physically touched. This can severely impact your gaming experience and lead to a lot of frustration. However, there are several methods on how to fix Joy-Con drift before considering a replacement or professional repair.

Sep 11, 202331.1K Shares501.6K ViewsWritten By: Alastair MartinReviewed By: James Smith
Jump to
  1. What Is Joy-Con Drift?
  2. What Causes Joy-Con Drift?
  3. 7 Ways To Fix Joy-Con Drift On Your Nintendo Switch
  4. Can Joy-Con Drift Be Fixed For Free? FAQ
  5. How Long Does A Joy-Con Repair Take? FAQ
  6. People Also Ask
  7. Conclusion

The Nintendo Switch has revolutionized the gaminglandscape with its versatile design and innovative Joy-Con controllers. However, an issue that has plagued many Switch users is the notorious "Joy-Con drift." In this guide, we'll delve into a range of solutions on how tofix Joy-Con driftthat can help you regain control over your gaming experience.

This vexing problem occurs when the Joy-Con analog sticks register movement even when left untouched. While Joy-Con drift can be incredibly frustrating, the good news is that there are steps you can take to address and potentially rectify this issue without resorting to costly replacements or repairs.

What Is Joy-Con Drift?

Blue and red Joy-Con Switch
Blue and red Joy-Con Switch

Joy-Con drift is a term used to describe a prevalent issue that affects the Nintendo Switch's Joy-Con controllers. It refers to the problem where the analog sticks on the Joy-Con controllers register movement even when the sticks are not being physically touched or manipulated by the user. In other words, the Joy-Con controllers exhibit unwanted and unintended input, causing in-game characters or cursors to move on their own.

This issue can manifest as slight movements, intermittent drifting, or even constant and significant drifting. Joy-Con drift can severely impact gameplay, making it frustrating or even impossible to control characters or navigate menus accurately. It has been a significant concern for many Nintendo Switch users and has prompted widespread discussions and complaints in the gaming community.

Nintendo has faced criticism and legal action from consumers due to the prevalence of Joy-Con drift and the impact it has on the gaming experience. The company has acknowledged the issue and has taken steps to address it, such as offering free repairs for affected controllers and implementing improvements in later batches of Joy-Con controllers.

What Causes Joy-Con Drift?

Two red Joy-Con Nintendo switches
Two red Joy-Con Nintendo switches

Joy-Con drift is primarily caused by issues related to the analog stick mechanisms within the Joy-Con controllers. There are several factors that contribute to the development of Joy-Con drift:

  • Dust, Dirt, and Debris -The small gaps around the base of the analog sticks on the Joy-Con controllers can allow dust, dirt, and debris to accumulate over time. These particles can interfere with the proper movement of the stick and cause false inputs, leading to drift.
  • Wear and Tear -The analog sticks are mechanical components that undergo constant use during gameplay. Over time, the internal components that make up the analog stick mechanism can wear down, leading to imprecise readings and drift.
  • Poor Quality Control - Some early batches of Joy-Con controllers were reported to have manufacturing flaws or suboptimal quality control, which could contribute to premature wear and drift issues.
  • Moisture and Humidity -Moisture or humidity can affect the internal components of the analog stick mechanism, causing them to degrade or malfunction, resulting in drift.
  • Electronic Interference -In some cases, electromagnetic interference from other devices or sources can interfere with the communication between the Joy-Con controllers and the Nintendo Switch console, leading to erroneous inputs and drift.
  • Software Glitches -Occasionally, software glitches or bugs within the Nintendo Switch's operating system or games could contribute to drift-like behavior. However, most cases of Joy-Con drift are related to hardware issues.
  • Component Design -The design of the analog stick components themselves, including the materials used and the precision of their construction, can play a role in the development of drift issues.

Nintendo has acknowledged Joy-Con drift as a problem and has made efforts to address it, including offering free repairs for affected controllers and releasing updated versions of the Joy-Con with improvements to mitigate drift issues. However, despite these measures, some users may still experience drift over time.

7 Ways To Fix Joy-Con Drift On Your Nintendo Switch

Blue Nintendo switch on a wooden table
Blue Nintendo switch on a wooden table

If you're grappling with the frustrating issue of Joy-Con drift on your Nintendo Switch, don't fret! There are several methods you can try to fix the problem before considering replacement or professional repair. Here are seven effective ways to tackle Joy-Con drift:

Clean The Joy-Con Sticks

  • Materials Needed -Compressed air, soft brush, isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs.
  • Steps -Detach the Joy-Cons, lift the rubber flaps around the analog sticks, use compressed air to remove debris, clean with isopropyl alcohol, and let dry before reattaching.

Recalibrate The Joy-Con Sticks

Steps -Go to the Nintendo Switch system settings, select "Controllers and Sensors," and choose "Calibrate Control Sticks." Follow on-screen instructions to recalibrate the sticks.

Update Firmware

Steps -Access system settings, go to "System" and then "System Update" to check for firmware updates. Sometimes, updates include fixes for input-related issues.

Apply Contact Cleaner

  • Materials Needed -Contact cleaner (electrical component cleaning solution).
  • Steps -Detach the Joy-Cons, apply a small amount of contact cleaner around the base of the analog sticks, move the sticks around, and let them dry before reattaching.

Check For Interference

Steps -Ensure no electronic devices are causing interference with the Joy-Cons. Move away from potential sources of interference, such as wireless routers and other electronic devices.

DIY Repair Kits

  • Materials Needed -DIY repair kit (includes replacement analog sticks and tools).
  • Steps -For more advanced users, follow the instructions provided in the DIY repair kit to replace the analog sticks. Be cautious, as this method involves opening the Joy-Cons.

Contact Nintendo Support

If the above methods don't resolve the issue, consider reaching out to Nintendo's customer support. They may offer solutions or recommend sending in the controllers for repair.

Remember, while these methods can be effective, not all cases of Joy-Con drift can be fixed using these approaches. If you're uncomfortable with DIY repairs or if the issue persists despite your efforts, seeking professional help might be the best option. Additionally, taking preventive measures like keeping your controllers clean and avoiding rough handling can help prevent Joy-Con drift in the future. With determination and a bit of troubleshooting, you can regain control of your gaming experience and bid farewell to the frustrations of Joy-Con drift.

Can Joy-Con Drift Be Fixed For Free? FAQ

Hands holding a yellow Nintendo switch
Hands holding a yellow Nintendo switch

Can I Fix Joy-Con Drift Myself For Free?

Yes, you can attempt to fix Joy-Con drift on your own without spending money. Cleaning the analog sticks, recalibrating, and updating firmware are DIY solutions that can help resolve the issue at no cost.

What If The DIY Methods Don't Work?

If DIY solutions fail, you can contact Nintendo customer support. Depending on the warranty status of your Joy-Con controllers, they might offer free repairs or replacements. Even if your warranty has expired, Nintendo has been known to provide free repairs for Joy-Con drift issues due to their acknowledgment of the problem.

Is There A Time Limit For Free Repairs?

Nintendo's policies may change over time, but historically, they have extended free repair offers for Joy-Con drift even for controllers beyond their warranty period. It's advisable to check Nintendo's official support page or contact their customer servicefor the latest information.

What If I Want To Fix Joy-Con Drift Without Sending In My Controllers?

For users comfortable with DIY repairs, purchasing replacement analog sticks and tools is an option. These kits usually come with instructions to guide you through the process. However, this method involves some risk, especially if you're not experienced in electronics repair.

Can I Prevent Joy-Con Drift From Happening?

While not foolproof, preventive measures can reduce the likelihood of Joy-Con drift. Regularly clean your controllers, store them in a dry and dust-free environment, and handle them gently. Using controller accessories or protective cases can also help minimize wear and tear.

Are Newer Joy-Cons Less Prone To Drift?

Nintendo has made efforts to improve Joy-Con designs in later batches to mitigate drift issues. If you purchase new Joy-Cons, they might have a lower chance of developing drift compared to the early versions. However, the risk cannot be completely eliminated.

What If I've Already Paid For Joy-Con Drift Repairs?

If you've previously paid for Joy-Con drift repairs, you might be eligible for a refund. Nintendo has offered refunds to customers who previously paid for repairs due to the widespread nature of the issue. Contact Nintendo support to inquire about reimbursement.

How Long Does A Joy-Con Repair Take? FAQ

A light green and blue Joy-Con Nintendo switch
A light green and blue Joy-Con Nintendo switch

How Long Does A Joy-Con Repair Usually Take?

The repair duration for Joy-Cons can vary based on factors like the repair center's workload, shipping times, and the complexity of the issue. In general, repairs can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Do I Need To Send In Both Joy-Cons For Repair If Only One Is Drifting?

No, you usually only need to send in the specific Joy-Con that's experiencing drift. However, if you're uncertain about the source of the problem, sending in both controllers can be a precautionary measure.

Can I Get A Replacement Joy-Con While Mine Is Being Repaired?

Some repair services may offer replacement Joy-Cons to use temporarily during the repair process, especially if your Nintendo Switch is still under warranty. It's best to inquire about this option when contacting the repair center.

Will My Saved Data Be Affected During The Repair?

If you're only repairing the Joy-Cons and not the Nintendo Switch itself, your saved data should remain unaffected. However, to be cautious, it's always wise to back up your important game saves before sending in any hardware for repair.

How Do I Check The Repair Status?

Nintendo typically provides a repair tracking system on its support website. You can use your repair order number or tracking number to monitor the progress of your repair.

Can I Expedite The Repair Process?

Some repair centers may offer expedited repair services for an additional fee. This can reduce the repair time, but availability may vary.

What If The Repair Takes Longer Than Expected?

If the repair process takes longer than anticipated, you can contact the repair center's customer support for updates. Sometimes, unforeseen circumstances might cause delays.

Can I Repair Joy-Con Drift Myself To Save Time?

DIY repairs could potentially save time, but they also come with risks if not done correctly. A mistake during DIY repairs might lead to further issues. Consider your comfort level with electronics repair before attempting this route.

Can I Send My Joy-Cons To A Local Repair Shop?

Nintendo recommends using their official repair services to ensure proper repairs and maintain warranties. While local repair shops might be an option, ensure they have experience with Nintendo hardware and use genuine parts.

People Also Ask

Is Joy-Con Drift Covered By Warranty?

It depends. If your Nintendo Switch is still under warranty, Nintendo typically covers Joy-Con drift repairs for free. If your warranty has expired, Nintendo has been known to provide free repairs due to the acknowledged widespread nature of the issue.

Can You Fix Joy-Con Drift Without Sending Them To Nintendo?

Yes, you can attempt to fix Joy-Con drift on your own by cleaning the analog sticks, recalibrating, or using DIY repair kits. However, these solutions might not work for all cases, and if you're uncomfortable with DIY repairs, sending them to Nintendo might be a better option.

Why Does Joy-Con Drift Keep Happening?

Joy-Con drift can happen due to factors like dust accumulation, wear and tear, poor quality control, or component design. Despite efforts by Nintendo to address the issue, it can still occur, especially in older Joy-Con controllers.

How Much Does It Cost To Repair Joy-Con Drift?

If your Nintendo Switch is under warranty, repairs for Joy-Con drift are typically free. For out-of-warranty cases, Nintendo has often provided free repairs due to the acknowledged widespread nature of the problem. If you choose to use a third-party repair service, costs can vary.

Are New Joy-Cons Less Likely To Experience Drift?

Newer batches of Joy-Con controllers are generally less likely to experience drift due to design improvements Nintendo has made. However, it's important to note that the risk of drift cannot be completely eliminated, as the issue can still occur over time.


The convenience and excitement of the Nintendo Switch should never be overshadowed by technical troubles like Joy-Con drift. While it's disappointing that this issue has affected many users, it's reassuring to know that there are practical steps you can take to alleviate and resolve the problem.

Remember, persistence is key - not all methods might work for every case, but by trying these steps systematically, you stand a good chance of restoring your Joy-Con controllers to their optimal functioning. So, say goodbye to those involuntary movements and get ready to fully immerse yourself in the world of gaming once again.

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