How to update your Nintendo Switch controllers to improve their accuracy and help reduce 'drift'

It only takes a moment to update Switch controllers.Joey Hadden/Business Insider
  • To update your Nintendo Switch controllers, you'll need to head to the System Settings menu.
  • Nintendo occasionally releases new firmware for the Switch's controllers, which can improve their accuracy.
  • Updating your Switch controllers might also help reduce "Joy-Con drift," an issue where the control sticks act as if they're constantly being pushed, even when left alone.

Joy-Con drift, as many Nintendo Switch players know, is an issue where the Joy-Con control sticks constantly act as if they're being moved, even if they're not being touched. It's become such an issue that it's sparked a lawsuit.

Although Nintendo offers free Joy-Con repairs, before you give up your controllers, you should try a simpler fix: updating your controllers.

Along with Switch system updates, Nintendo occasionally releases updates for the firmware inside your controllers. They don't usually announce these updates, or what the updates contain, but it's been reported that they can help fix minor drift issues, and generally help make your controllers more accurate.Advertisement

Here's how to check if your controllers have an update waiting, and how to update them.

How to update Nintendo Switch controllers

Before anything — if you're using an original Nintendo Switch, not a Switch Lite, make sure the Joy-Cons are attached to the system. This could mean using it in handheld mode, or having them attached to the Switch in its dock while you use another controller.

If you're trying to update a Nintendo Pro Controller, dock your Switch and connect the Pro Controller using a charging cable and one of the USB ports on the side of the dock.
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You should also make sure that your Switch has the latest system update installed.

1. Open your Switch's homepage and select "System Settings" at the bottom of the screen.
The System Settings page has an icon that looks like a gear.Emma Witman/Business Insider
2. Select "Controllers and Sensors" from the sidebar on the left. Advertisement

3. In the menu that opens on the right, scroll down and select "Update Controllers."

You can also modify other controller settings here, like toggling the vibration on or off.Emma Witman/Business Insider

4. Your Switch will check the controllers to see if they're up-to-date. If they are, you'll be shown a message that says "All controllers are already up-to-date."

5. If there's an update waiting, you'll have to wait a few moments as each controller is updated. Advertisement

Each controller will be updated separately.William Antonelli/Business Insider

If you've been having issues with your controllers, and updating them doesn't fix anything, be sure to contact Nintendo.

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