Nintendo Says Joy-Con Drift Is Unavoidable, But iFixit Says It’s Repairable

A pair of Nintendo Joy-Cons on a table.
Yasin Hasan/Shutterstock

Nintendo has finally acknowledged Joy-Con drift, the phenomenon where Joy-Con thumbsticks fail to center properly, causing in-game characters to wander in unintended directions. And while we’re happy to see Nintendo show a bit of honesty here, the company doesn’t offer a solution to the problem. It also fails to mention that Joy-Cons are very easy to repair at home.

The subject of Joy-Con drift came up during a Switch OLED Model Q&A. Nintendo’s Ko Shiota and Toru Yamashita (GM and Deputy GM of Technology Development) discussed the problem at length, and even mentioned the steps Nintendo is taking to make Joy-Cons more durable. Still, the duo concedes that Joy-Con drift is an “unavoidable” consequence of wear and tear, even on the Switch OLED Model.

That’s good to know, but simply acknowledging the problem and calling it “unavoidable” doesn’t really help anybody, does it? Customers would get a lot more mileage out of easy, at-home solutions, like quick repairs.

And that’s not a lot to ask for, because Joy-Cons are very easy to repair. We at Review Geek have replaced several Joy-Con thumbsticks using materials provided by iFixit, so naturally, we reached out to our friends at iFixit for a comment.

From iFixit’s Craig Lloyd, Head of Content Operations:

We’re glad to see Nintendo somewhat admit the problem with joysticks. But they don’t really advertise repair/replacement options. Thankfully, we got that part covered, and the replacement is fairly easy. Can’t say the same for PlayStation and Xbox controllers, unfortunately.

So, how do you replace Joy-Con thumbsticks? Well, you just need $15 and half an hour of free time. The team at iFixit sells an affordable joystick kit that includes a set of tools to crack open your Joy-Cons. And of course, there are detailed guides to help you perform the task with gusto.

I suggest glancing at iFixit’s Joy-Con repair guides to see if you’re up to scuff. But to be honest, this is really a beginner’s project. Fixing your Joy-Cons is easy, and it could be a first step in repairing other broken electronics in your home.

Keep in mind that any damages made to your Joy-Cons during repair aren’t covered under your one-year warranty (though opening and repairing your Joy-Cons will not void your warranty).

If you’re totally uncomfortable fixing Joy-Cons yourself, you should try to get in contact with Nintendo—the company has offered many customers free repairs (even out of warranty) to address Joy-Con drift. But at-home repairs can take less than 30 minutes if you study iFixit’s guides beforehand, and Nintendo will take a lot longer.

iFixit Joy-Con Repair Kit

Replace your Joy-Con’s drifting thumbsticks in half an hour with iFixit’s Joy-Con repair kit. The kit includes a replacement thumbstick and the tools to safely open your Switch.

Source: Nintendo via TechRadar

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is a writer for Review Geek and its sister site, How-To Geek. Like a jack-of-all-trades, he handles the writing and image editing for a mess of tech news articles, daily deals, product reviews, and complicated explainers. Read Full Bio »

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