How to Fix Joy-Con Drift at Home

  • There are several ways to fix the Joy-Con drift on your Nintendo Switch without sending them in for repair.
  • Joy-Con drift is an issue where the Joy-Con control stick thinks it’s moving, even when it’s stationary.
  • To fix Joy-Con drift, try updating the controllers, calibrating the sticks, and reconnecting them.

Every Nintendo Switch owner’s worst fear is “Joy-Con drift”. Joy-Con drift — the bug where controller sticks act like you’re moving them, even when they’re stationary — has gotten so bad that Nintendo is involved in two class action lawsuits about it.

How to fix Home Joy-Con Drift

Nintendo offers free Joy-Con repairs. But if you don’t feel like losing your controllers for a few weeks, there are a few things you can do at home to fix them.

Update the Joy-Cons

Your Joy-Con controllers aren’t just thin pieces of plastic; they are complex gadgets with their own software and updates.

These updates are usually quite simple, meant to adjust some sensitivity settings. But if your Joy-Cons are drifting, an update could get them back to normal. To update your Joy-Cons, connect them to the sides of the Switch (the Switch Lite has them permanently connected) and open the System Parameters menu. Scroll to Controllers and sensorsthen select Update Controllers.

The menu that appears on a Nintendo Switch when updating Joy-Con controllers.

Update your Joy-Cons by plugging them into the Switch.

Nintendo; William Antonelli/Insider

Calibrate Joy-Con Joysticks

Your Switch’s settings menu also includes a tool you can use to check what your Joy-Cons are doing when idle. If it says they are “moving” you can recalibrate them.

Again, connect your Joy-Cons to the Switch and open System Parametersthen head to the Controllers and sensors menu. Select the Calibrate control sticks option.

Rotate the control stick over the Joy-Con you wish to calibrate (you will need to do both controllers separately). On the new page that appears, you’ll see an input tracker that shows you how your Joy-Con is moving.

When your finger is no longer on the joystick and it is stationary, do you see a plus icon in the center of the tracker? Where do you see a circle icon, sitting somewhere far from the center? If you see the circle, your Joy-Con is drifting.

The Joy-Con Calibration menu on a Nintendo Switch.

If you see a plus sign when you’re not touching the Joy-Con’s joystick, it’s centered and stable.

Nintendo; William Antonelli/Insider

Hurry X to recalibrate the Joy-Con. You will need to move the stick in each cardinal direction and then rotate it about three times.

Do this for each Joy-Con, then check if they are still drifting.

Reset button mapping

It’s rare, but if you remapped the buttons on your Joy-Cons, it may have caused a problem with the thumbsticks. Try to fix it by resetting the button maps.

Connect your Joy-Cons to the Switch, open System Parametersthen head to the Controllers and sensors menu. Select Change button mapping at the top of the menu, then select Reset for each Joy-Con.

Update your Switch

It’s possible that whatever’s wrong with your Joy-Cons is actually coming from the Switch.

Let’s try updating the switch first. The Switch receives far bigger updates than its controllers, and they always come with potential bug fixes.

Connect your Joy-Cons to the Switch and open System Parametersthen scroll to System. Select System update and let your console install all available updates.

Factory reset your Nintendo Switch

You can also try factory resetting your Switch. This should be a last resort, however – factory resetting the Switch will erase all of your downloaded games, DLC, screenshots, and save data held on the console. It will also sign you out of your Nintendo Account and reset all custom settings.

To factory reset a Switch, go to System Parameters menu and scroll to System. Scroll down the System page and select Formatting optionsthen select Initialize the console.

The Format Options page on a Nintendo Switch.

Select the “Initialize” option.

Nintendo; William Antonelli/Insider

Confirm that you want to reset, then follow the steps to set up your Switch again.

Send your Joy-Cons to Nintendo

If all else fails, you’re probably better off packing up your Joy-Cons and sending them to Nintendo. As we mentioned, Nintendo will fix any drifting Joy-Cons for free.

The only problem is that if you send in a special edition Joy-Con – for example, the limited edition models released alongside The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD – and the damage is too bad to repair, Nintendo might not. not send you support the same model you sent.

To start the repair process, go to Nintendo’s Joy-Con repair page and fill out the form. They’ll email you a shipping label, which you can affix to the box you’re sending your Joy-Cons in.

You can send up to four Joy-Cons in one box with one shipping label. If you have more Joy-Cons than that, you’ll need to fill out the form multiple times.

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