How to Fix Joy-Con Drift on Your Nintendo Switch: A Comprehensive Guide

Nintendo switch playing game

Are you a Nintendo Switch owner who has noticed your Joy-Con seemingly moving on its own? If so, you’ve encountered the frustrating phenomenon known as Joy-Con drift. This issue, notorious amongst gamers, has troubled numerous users since the console’s inception. But there’s no need to fret! We’re here to guide you on how to fix Fix Joy-Con Drift on Your Nintendo Switch and reclaim your seamless gaming experience.

The term ‘Joy-Con drift’ refers to an unintended movement that your controller’s thumbstick registers without any user intervention. This issue can disrupt your gameplay and transform a serene digital exploration into a constant struggle with your character or camera. This problem is not unique to Joy-Cons but appears to be particularly widespread with them, even leading to multiple class-action lawsuits. The main cause is the design where steel brushes against carbon, resulting in increased wear and tear and, ultimately, the dreaded drift. However, fret not there are still ways to fix the Joy-Con Drift.

Understanding Joy-Con Drift

Before we delve into solutions, let’s understand what Joy-Con drift actually is. In simple terms, Joy-Con drift occurs when your controller thumbstick registers movement without any physical input. This can turn a peaceful virtual stroll into a tug-of-war with your in-game camera or character.

Despite being a common problem across many controller types, the issue is particularly rampant with Joy-Cons. This issue has even led to several class-action lawsuits since 2019, all of which remain in court proceedings as of now. The culprit? A design that involves steel brushing against carbon, accelerating wear and tear, and eventually leading to the infamous drift.

How to Fix Joy-Con Drift

Now that we know what we’re dealing with, it’s time to arm ourselves with solutions. Here are a few simple, non-technical steps you can take to fix Joy-Con drift.

Fix Joy-Con Drift

Update Your System Software

First things first, ensure that both your Nintendo Switch system and Joy-Con firmware are up-to-date.

  1. Navigate to System Settings

    Turn on your Nintendo Switch. From the Switch home screen, navigate to ‘System Settings‘.

  2. Update System Software

    Inside ‘System Settings‘, scroll down to ‘System‘. Select ‘System Update’ and allow your Switch to automatically search for new updates. If updates are found, confirm and download them. Wait for the updates to install, following any on-screen instructions.

  3. Return to System Settings Menu

    Once the system updates are complete, return to the ‘System Settings‘ menu.

  4. Access Controllers and Sensors

    Inside ‘System Settings‘, select ‘Controllers and Sensors‘.

  5. Update Joy-Con Controllers

    Ensure your problematic Joy-Con is connected to the Switch. Choose ‘Update Controllers‘. Allow your Switch to detect the Joy-Con and attempt to update it. Follow any on-screen instructions to complete the process.

  6. Verify Update

    Check to confirm that the update was successful. If necessary, repeat steps 4 and 5 for any other Joy-Con controllers that may need updating.

Calibrate the Thumbstick

If the drift is minor or intermittent, recalibration could be your silver bullet.

  1. Turn on your Nintendo Switch. Navigate to ‘System Settings‘ from the Switch home screen.
  2. Inside ‘System Settings‘, select ‘Controllers and Sensors‘.
  3. Scroll down and select ‘Calibrate Control Sticks‘.
  4. Choose the Joy-Con you want to recalibrate by pressing down the thumbstick. Follow the on-screen instructions to move your thumbstick to each side and move it around in a circle a couple of times.
  5. Confirm the recalibration is complete.
  6. Check to ensure that the recalibration was successful.
  7. If you see a green circle or the marker is still moving without you touching the thumbstick, your Joy-Con may still be drifting.

If the drift persists post-calibration, refer to additional troubleshooting steps or consider other repair options.

Clean Your Joy-Con

Sometimes, the issue could be as simple as a bit of debris lodged under your thumbstick. Detach your Joy-Con and use a can of compressed air and a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to clean around the thumbstick. Remember to be gentle and careful during this process.

When All Else Fails: Replacements and Repairs

If you’ve tried the above and still face Joy-Con drift, it might be time for a replacement or repair. Opening your Joy-Con to replace the thumbstick yourself can void your warranty, so proceed with caution if you choose this route. If you’re not comfortable with a DIY repair, Nintendo offers free Joy-Con repairs. All you need to do is fill out their online request form.

Getting a repair might take several weeks, but don’t let that put a damper on your gaming fun. You can always order a replacement Joy-Con and continue your adventures.

Fix Joy-Con Drift

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Final Remarks

Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or just embarking on your Nintendo Switch journey, Joy-Con drift can be a real letdown. However, with these steps, you can regain control and restore your gaming experience. From updating your system software, and recalibrating the thumbstick, to the more complex process of replacing the thumbstick, there are numerous ways to counteract this design defect. But remember, if all else fails, Nintendo offers free Joy-Con repairs, and replacements are available too.

Despite the inconvenience, remember that gaming is about having fun and creating memorable experiences. Whether you’re exploring unknown worlds, solving complex puzzles, or racing against your friends, the Nintendo Switch offers a vast universe of excitement and adventure. So, don’t let Joy-Con drift hold you back! With these solutions in your gaming arsenal, you’re ready to conquer any challenge your game presents. For further inquiries, visit the Nintendo Switch Support website.

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