After years of annoying Joy-Con drift problems plaguing Nintendo Switch consoles, there could finally be a permanent solution.
What is Joy-Con Drift?
For those of you who don’t know what “Joy-Con drift” is, consider yourself lucky – it’s a common problem that most Nintendo Switch owners encounter at some point. After sufficient use, the tension in the Joy-Con’s thumb stick mechanism is released and the thumb stick wobbles slightly, leading to inadvertent input recognition – in other words, your cursor, character, or menus move around the screen even when you use it are not touching the controller.
It’s a huge problem that affects the gameplay and ease of use of the Nintendo Switch in general. In all fairness, beyond the hassle, it has become a major flaw that hinders the otherwise excellent handheld home console hybrid.
Nintendo and users alike have been trying to find a way to overcome the drift. Bug fixes range from inconvenient (like sending your Joy-Cons in to Nintendo for repair or buying a replacement pair) to potentially harmful (like using rubbing alcohol to clean the thumb stick sensor or opening the Joy-Con and replacing it of the thumb) glue it yourself). But while almost all of these solutions have worked (with varying degrees of success), none offer a permanent solution. At some point the tension on the thumb stick will decrease and the Joy-Con drift will return.
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However, a YouTuber called “VK’s Channel” claims to have found a permanent solution – and it’s surprisingly simple.
How to Fix Your Drifting Joy-Con
As the channel of VK (which is referred to as “VK” for simplicity) demonstrates in the video below, applying pressure to the outside of the Joy-Con prevents the thumb stick from drifting. To ensure that there was always enough pressure, VK opened the Joy-Con and placed a thin strip of paper behind the sensor of the thumb pen. VK says this immediately fixed the drift and that the problem has not returned yet.
It’s impossible to confirm if slipping a piece of paper into your Joy-Con is actually a long-term solution for everyone as it was only recently discovered, but according to the comments on VKs and social media, it seems to be working so far.
Is It Safe to Repair a Joy-Con yourself?
In theory, filling the tiny gap between the case of the Joy-Con and the back of the thumb stick’s sensor should be enough to hold the case in place, as long as the paper is the correct size – just the paper (or cardboard, cardboard, etc. .) must be about 0.5 mm high. Something bigger doesn’t fit. The paper does not affect the controller when properly placed, and there is no risk of heat or conductivity (just remember to turn off your Joy-Con first).
What You Need to Fix Joy-Con Drift Yourself
I planned to test the fix on two Joy-Cons that I gave up due to extreme drift issues, but I lack the right tools to get the job done – which raises some important caveats that Switch owners should be aware of, before you try it yourself.
To pull the DIY drift fix off VK, you need to remove four tiny tri-wing cap screws on the back of the Joy-Cons. Most Switch owners likely don’t have a tri-wing screwdriver, and if they do, it might not be the right size (a 1.5mm tri-wing will do the job).
But even if you have the right screwdriver, opening your Joy-Cons carries risks. First, the Joy-Cons warranty (or even your console warranty if you’re using a Switch Lite) can void, which means you can’t send them to Nintendo tech support if something breaks. Fortunately, the only bits you’ll have to mess around with are the four screws; You don’t need to touch any other components of the controller other than place a tiny piece of paper or cardboard behind the thumb pen housing.
Although VK’s paper trick doesn’t require any technical precision, DIY fixes are risky. You can accidentally introduce extra dust into the internal components, and small parts could break or fall out and be lost. If you don’t want to risk your Joy-Cons guarantee and ease of use, contact Nintendo and have the drift professionally serviced, or just buy an extra pair instead. But when you’re ready to take matters into your own hands, give this home solution a try.