Chances are if you have access to news media, you’ve heard of this phenomenon—Switch joysticks are drifting. Even though it sounds like it, it's not the latest trend amongst young people. It's a term for joysticks acting as though they are being moved, even when they are not, and the bane of gamers everywhere. So stop getting skeptical glares when you blame your lackluster gaming skills on your controller and get to fixing it!
Before undertaking any of the more time-consuming solutions below, there are a few fundamentals to give a go.
- Update your Pro Controller. The Switch will typically prompt you to update when one is available, but to check manually Navigate to System Settings > Controllers and Sensors > Update Controllers.
- Update your Switch. Update settings can be found in System Settings > System > System Update.
- Clean the outside of the controller using a damp cloth and some compressed air. Your latest snack crumbs may be stuck, not allowing the joystick to return to the center.
Joysticks Need Calibration
In order for a joystick to work properly, it needs to have an idea of what the “neutral” position is, and what other values mean in relation to that. Calibration is the process the Switch uses to determine that. Based on the widespread nature of this issue, this is unlikely to resolve the problem but is easy enough that it warrants a try.
- Select the System Settings Application on the Home Screen.
- Navigate to Controllers and Sensors > Calibrate Control Sticks.
- Tilt the joystick that needs calibration.
- Follow the directions to evaluate the joystick’s current response.
- Press the X button to initiate calibration
- Follow the guide to calibrate the joystick.
Debris in the Joystick
Any gamer knows that your controller is going to get downright disgusting. No matter what you do. Even though the internals are shielded from most debris, there’s no keeping it out altogether. Giving the joystick mechanism a good clean can get you back on track.
- Open up your controller and use compressed air to blow any debris out of the joysticks themselves.
- Use some isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab to remove any debris around the joysticks.
If cleaning does not make a difference, the joystick may be worn out. Due to the largely mechanical nature of the joystick, wear is inevitable and given enough time, drift may occur regardless.