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Fixing Joy-Con Drift

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

What is Joy-Con drift?

In short, it means that the analog stick in the Joy-Con moves on its own. Without player input, the stick might "drift" towards a random direction unless you actively push it where you want to go.

Needless to say, this is extremely frustrating. You have to constantly fight your own controller.

How likely is it to happen?

Not every Joy-Con experiences drifting. Some never encounter this problem, while more unlucky players suffer it in all their controllers.

The probability of this phenomenon happening seems to increase with the age and tear of the Joy-Con. But, there also have been cases were people who barely played with their Switch began experiencing this issue.

Usually, only the left Joycon is affected, as it´s the one that´s responsible for movement and therefore the one that has the most use.

The drift is supposedly caused by dirt and other waste getting stuck under the stick. Theoretically, the best way to prevent drifting is to keep your Joy-Cons clean and playing with clean hands.

How to fix Joy-Con Drift?

A vase full of Q tips.
Qtips can be used to clean under the bottom of the Joy-Con´s analog stick.

The most sure-fire way to fix drifting is to contact Nintendo and have them repair the controller. A leaked memo shows that Nintendo has instructed its customer service division to fix the problem for free.

Now, if you can´t contact Nintendo Support for some reason, like if you live in a country that doesn’t have their support, there are other ways to try and fix the controller.

Do note that these alternatives are not guaranteed to work, as they are improvised and might fail to tackle the specific problem that caused your Joy-Con to drift.

The first alternative is simple. Turn on your Switch and go to the system menu. Scroll down to controllers and sensors and select “Calibrate control sticks”. The console should calibrate your Joy-Con and, with luck, they will be working properly again.

If that doesn’t work, the other alternatives are more complex. The problem may be caused by compressed air, dirt or other trash caught under the rubble flap of the stick. To fix the issue, you should clean it.

Lift the flap and either blow into it or gently scrub it with an alcohol tipped Q.tip or similar object. To go into more detail on how you can clean your joy-con, read our article here.

If you are good at arming and disarming machines, then swapping the analog stick is another option you can try, but that is truly a last-ditch effort. You can buy replacement thumbsticks here.

If neither of those solutions fixed the problem, then you might not have another choice but to buy a new pair of Joy-Con. We have a list of the Joy-Cons on sale for the Nintendo Switch on this page.

Hopefully, this article has been helpful to you. Have you experienced drift? Were you able to fix it? Let me know in the comments.


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