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How to fix Joy-Con drift

Gamer experiencing Nintendo Joy-Con drift

Who doesn't love their Nintendo Switch®? The latest gaming device from Nintendo™ combines all the amazing things about portable gaming and a home console. However, there's one downside that seems to be common amongst users: Joy-Con® drift. But no worries, we can help you fix the issue so you can get your head—and controller—back in the game.

Here at Asurion, we help millions of people troubleshoot, fix, and maximize their tech—whether you have a Nintendo Switch that won't charge or want to speed up your phone. Here's our guide to helping you understand what causes Joy-Con drift and how to fix it, plus other ways to keep your Nintendo Switch controller performing at its best.

What is Joy-Con drift?

Have you ever set your Switch down to go grab a quick drink only to come back and find your character on the wrong side of the map, wandering around aimlessly? That's Joy-Con drift. Simply put, it's when a Nintendo Switch controller seemingly moves around without the player touching the thumb sticks. Besides characters moving around on their own, it can also lead to the camera randomly panning in different directions.

What causes Joy-Con drift?

Joy-Con drift can often be attributed to one of two major factors: software/hardware issues or buildup of dirt and grime under or around the thumb sticks.

How can I fix Joy-Con drift myself?

Whether it's a software issue or just dirt, try these easy fixes to solve Nintendo Joy-Con drift issues.

Update your controllers

Sometimes controller drift can be due to a minor software issue. Thankfully, this can be addressed through a simple update. On your Switch, go to the Home menu. Then select System Settings > Controllers and Sensors > Update Controllers.

Recalibrate the Joy-Con thumb sticks

Another way to correct Joy-Con drift is to recalibrate the thumb sticks themselves. NOTE: In order to calibrate motion controls, the controller must be detached from the Switch console.

  1. On your Switch, go to the Home menu.
  2. Select System Settings > Controller and Sensors > Calibrate Control Sticks.
  3. Follow the onscreen prompts to verify thumb stick functionality.

Clean your Joy-Con controllers

The drift in your Joy-Con could be due to natural buildup of dirt and grime inside the thumb sticks. To clean your controller, we recommend using a can of compressed air. Move the thumb sticks around while spraying compressed air at different angles to loosen any buildup, then use a microfiber cloth to gently wipe them clean. We do not recommend trying to take your controller apart to clean it—that's a job best left to a game console repair expert.

Can Joy-Con drift be fixed for free?

If you've followed the steps outlined above and ruled out minor software problems or dirt and grime as the cause of your Joy-Con drift, then you may be dealing with a hardware issue instead. If so, you can send in your Joy-Con controllers to Nintendo to be considered for a free repair. To learn more about the Nintendo Joy-Con Repair program, visit https://joyconrepair.nintendo.com/ .

How long does a Joy-Con repair take?

The general consensus indicates that Joy-Con repairs by Nintendo can take anywhere from 3 days to a month.

If it turns out your Joy-Con issues aren't covered by Nintendo or you need it faster, we can help. Schedule a repair at the nearest uBreakiFix® by Asurion or Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions™ store and our certified experts can get your device back up and running as soon as the same day.

Don't let a glitched controller mean game over

The Asurion Home+ protection plan offers peace of mind for all of your eligible home tech, including your favorite gaming systems, for less than $1 per day. From graphical glitches to faulty drives, we cover your video game console and original controller from the unexpected breakdown—no matter where or when you purchased it. Learn more at asurion.com/homeplus.


*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

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