What is Nintendo Switch Joy-Con drift and how can you fix it. How to fix my joy con

Warning: If you intend to use compressed air, use a specialized WD-40 electrical contact cleaner (or something similar) and not the regular WD-40, as the regular version may cause additional problems for the Joy-Con.

Is This the Joy-Con Drift Fix We’ve All Been Waiting For?

Joy-Con drift has been a problem for Switch owners since the console’s premiere. But now a simple fix has come to light.

Do your Joy-Cons do as they please, throwing your in-game character like a rag doll? Then your Joy-Cons drift.

However, the pioneering Switch owner believes they’ve found a solution to the Joy-Con drift, and you can do it at home, without Nintendo’s involvement.

Check Out This Potential Fix for Joy-Con Drift

YouTuber and Switch owner, VK, believes he has come up with a solution to a horrible problem faced by many other Switch users.

In the video above, first spotted by Nintendo Life, we see VK bringing back the functionality of its Switch Joy-Cons using some incredibly high-tech gadgets on a piece of paper. The VK realized this after noticing that the pressure on the casing around the stick of the thumb meant that the drift phenomenon had completely stopped.

Yes it’s true. Despite the fact that Nintendo and many of its engineers have been unable to find a solution to the problem that has been drifting for four years, a random guy shows up on the Internet and fixes it with a piece of paper smaller than the nail on your little finger. Embarrassing, Nintendo? We would say so.

It’s also important to note that the left and right Joy-Con are not perfect mirror images, so there are slight differences to keep in mind when opening each one.

What is Switch Joy-Con drift?

Drift Joy-Con is the name of an issue some Switch owners have experienced with one or two detachable controllers.

They found that their Switch detects movement even when they don’t touch the stick on the Joy-Con. Sometimes this even happens when they don’t touch the Joy-Con at all.

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This makes the game difficult as characters move in directions that are not suggested by the player. Or, the in-game camera may suddenly drift away from the action for no good reason.

Reports of Joy-Con drifting are also not unique. There are many posts on Twitter complaining about this issue, and several Kotaku staff members have revealed that they experienced it as well.

Also, since the Nintendo Switch Lite was released, some owners of the new, more portable Switch have said they also suffer from Joy-Con drift on its inseparable sticks. The OLED Switch, meanwhile, has supposedly improved the Joy-Cons, but it also generates similar reports.

What to do if you experience Joy-Con drift

Nintendo responded to the news by telling Kotaku that anyone with problems with the Joy-Cons should contact Nintendo Support: “At Nintendo, we take great pride in creating quality products and are constantly improving them.

“We are aware of recent reports that some Joy-Con controllers are not responding properly. We want our consumers to have a good time with the Nintendo Switch, and if something doesn’t meet that goal, we always encourage them to visit Support so we can help.”

Another note leak, seen by Vice, reported that Nintendo staff have now been told to repair the Joy-Cons with drift issues for free and may even qualify for a refund for the previous repair: “Customers will no longer be asked to provide proof of purchase to Joy-Con repairs ”- was written in an internal memo. “Moreover, it is not necessary to prove the warranty status. If a customer requests a refund for a prepaid Joy-Con [.], confirm the repair in advance, and then issue a refund.”

So, if you have Joy-Con drift problems (or any other problems) please contact support.nintendo.com.

However, keep in mind that while the repair may be free, you may have to pay the postage to ship your controller to Nintendo’s repair service, which annoys some.

Since purchasing my own Switch at launch (and my husband got it a little later), my household has experienced an issue with three separate Joy-Con sets. Each time it resulted in buying new controllers or forced me to play the Switch only when docked with the Pro controller.

Is it safe to fix a Joy-Con on your own ?

In theory, filling the tiny gap between the Joy-Con’s case, on the back of the thumb stick sensor, should be enough to keep the case in place as long as the paper is the right size – only the paper (or cardboard, cardboard etc) needs to be about 0.5mm high . Nothing bigger will fit. The paper will not affect anything in the controller if placed correctly and there are no concerns about heating or conduction (just remember to turn off the Joy-Con first).

I was planning to test the patch on a pair of Joy-Cones that I had ditched due to extreme drift issues, but I lack the right tools to get the job done – which brings up some important caveats that Switch owners should be aware of before trying themselves.

To remove the standalone VK drift fix, you’ll need to remove the four small three-winged screws on the back of the Joy-Con. Most Switch owners likely don’t have a three-blade screwdriver, and if they do, it might not be the right size (a 1.5mm three-blade is enough).

But even with the right screwdriver, there is a risk of the Joy-Con opening. First, it could void your Joy-Cons warranty (or even your console warranty if you’re using a Switch Lite) meaning that if something breaks you won’t be able to send them to Nintendo Support. Luckily, the only bits you need to break with are the four screws; you don’t need to touch anything else in the controller other than to place a small piece of paper or cardboard behind the thumb casing.

Even so, even though the VK paperwork requires zero technical precision, DIY tweaks are risky. You can accidentally introduce extra dust into the internal components, and small pieces can break or fall out and get lost. If you are uncomfortable risking the warranty and usability of the Joy-Cons, please contact Nintendo and get professional service or just buy an extra pair. But if you’re ready to take matters into your own hands, try this home repair.

First, it is likely due to component fatigue. This means that over time and with use, the parts that make up the joystick on the Joy-Con can wear or deform. This can cause drift.

How to get a Joy-Con drift replacement

Nintendo Switch

Photo by Matteo Grobberio on Unsplash

Nintendo offers free Joy-Con repairs to customers. Complete the online application form to start the support process. All you need is the number of Joy-Cones shipped (limited to four based on the battery regulations in the mail) and the serial number of the Switch. Nintendo will try to repair the Joy-Con, but if this is not possible, you will receive a replacement. Unfortunately, replacements are offered only in the standard colors of the Switch gray, neon blue or neon red.

It may take several weeks to restore the repair. If you are excited to continue playing, you can order a replacement for the Joy-Con. Nintendo offers the Joy-Cons in bundles
(usually in unique colors), but also as individual units. You can buy a Left or Right Joy-Con for around $ 40.

Also, since the Nintendo Switch Lite was released, some owners of the new, more portable Switch have said they also suffer from Joy-Con drift on its inseparable sticks. The OLED Switch, meanwhile, has supposedly improved the Joy-Cons, but it also generates similar reports.

Update Your Joy-Con

Joy-con software is updateable. Now your Switch can ask for it, but just in case, check the “Update Controllers” option in the Settings, Controllers menu. It only takes a few minutes and fixes some connectivity issues in the earlier version of Joy-con.

Occasionally, debris can get stuck under the thumb, causing some blockage. This is common to all controllers and can affect buttons and sticks. Buy a can / purge for compressed air – available at any electronics store. You can then blow air directly into the seam under the bar to remove debris. Then wipe it clean and check in the calibration menu if that fixes the problem.

How to Fix Joy-Con Drift at Home

We recently found a DIY fix for the Joy-Con drift that, after testing on ourselves, we can confirm that it works to get rid of the problem – though it’s by no means an official fix.

YouTuber VictorSTK may have found the solution we’ve all been waiting for. While analyzing tons of other YouTube tutorials on how to fix Joy-Con drift, he came across the Fantastic Quack video that inspired a possible solution – that not necessarily the Joy-Con getting dirty or losing power, but mostly about connectivity and pressure on components.

So, if you’re ready to void your own warranty – which you absolutely will if you do – in hopes of breaking free from the evil Joy-Con drift, here’s how you can do it

After talking to the agent, I checked my inbox to see eight separate emails from Nintendo. Four of these are separate repair orders (with their own repair order numbers) and the others are four separate UPS waybills.

Add foam or cardboard inside the Joy-Con

Recently, the VK YouTube channel discovered a critical fix. They found that placing some kind of padding between the analog stick and the Joy-Con housing could solve the drift problem. Most importantly, you can do this with the things you find in your home. For step-by-step help, you can watch the video above and find the basic steps below.

  1. Open the drifting Joy-Con and remember where every screw goes.
  2. Cut a small square out of foam or cardboard. The thickness should be 1 mm or less and be approximately the same shape as the metal housing surrounding the analog stick.
  3. Use the glue to attach the square cut on the back of the metal housing. Be careful what glue you choose and don’t apply too thickly.
  4. Screw the Joy-Con housing back into place.

DIY fix by replacing the analog stick

If you still have problems with Joy-Con drift after using the air can method, repairing the foam, and recalibrating the controllers, you may need to replace the analog sticks. Some cheap options are available on Amazon, but be aware that replacing your joystick will void any active warranty that your Joy-Cons may have.

For additional help, we recommend watching this video from TronicsFix on replacing Joy-Con analog sticks.

Ste is the junior game editor at MUO. He’s a staunch supporter of PlayStation, but also has plenty of room for other platforms. He loves all kinds of technology, from AV to home theater and (for some little-known reason) cleaning techniques. Food provider for four cats. Likes to listen to repeating beats.

Repair Process

Since I owned over four Joy-Cons with a drift, I had to call Nintendo’s customer service line (the company explains that this is due to the supply limitations of lithium-ion batteries). If you want to repair less than four Joy-Cons, you must complete this form.

To get the repair done, the agent I spoke to asked the same questions I had entered on the form earlier to send less than five Joy-Con. I was asked for an address, describe the problem, and answer basic troubleshooting questions. Next, I was asked for the serial number of my Switch system even though I didn’t send the console itself for repair.

Switch repairs

After talking to the agent, I checked my inbox to see eight separate emails from Nintendo. Four of these are separate repair orders (with their own repair order numbers) and the others are four separate UPS waybills.

Assuming it would be a good idea to put them all together in one box, I packed my Joy-Cons as best I could and dropped them off the next day. Nintendo then sends inquiries to its repair tracking website.

Two weeks after placing Joy-Con at my local UPS store (a curse of sending anything to / from Newfoundland), I received a new set of six new emails. Of these emails, two of them had new repair numbers from the original set.

“The entire repair process was simple (except for the email bombardment) and didn’t require much more than tossing an electronics box at a UPS facility.”

Two days later, I received another set of six emails notifying that each Joy-Con had completed the repair process and was returning to me from across the continent.

A few weeks later, one cardboard box hit my kitchen. It appeared the Joy-Cons had been completely replaced (or at least replaced with refurbished controllers).

It’s important to note that Nintendo has never confirmed the problem I am experiencing or that it found the problem early on. In the repair summary sent back with the controllers, every possible problem was blank. Unfortunately, I cannot say what the problem was with my Joy-Con. While there was no fee for the repair process, Nintendo warned me that I would pay to repair any physical damage.


The entire repair process was simple (aside from the email bombardment) and didn’t require much more than dropping off my electronics package at a UPS facility. Apart from the long shipping time of almost six weeks, it was mostly painless. Ever since I got my new controllers back, I’ve been urging friends and family to start the process themselves so they can finally enjoy their game library again.

It’s unclear if Nintendo plans to upgrade the Switch hardware to avoid future drift, and hopes the new OLED model will fix this issue seems out of place. It is also a problem that plagues some Nintendo Switch Lite console owners. As Switch Lite does not allow users to swap the built-in joystick and buttons, this is even more frustrating than the standard switch.

Joy-Con repair

With that in mind, it’s worth choosing an extra Joy-Con set or Pro controller to have a backup in case you encounter drift. This is also an issue to consider if you decide to buy both the Lite and the standard Switch.

If you are experiencing Joy-Con drift with your controllers, I highly recommend starting the repair process. It may take a few weeks for you to see your Joy-Cons again, but I believe it’s worth avoiding spending more money on new controllers which could end up having the same problem anyway.

I’ve been playing with my Joy-Con’s for a few days now, and I’m pleased to say that I haven’t noticed any signs of the drift problem returning. Nintendo didn’t mention any recourse options to me if the problem comes back, so hopefully I won’t have to cross that bridge again.

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