How to fix and prevent controller drift? Almost all avid gamers have experienced controller drift at some point in their careers.

This frustrating problem can cause your game character to move or aim on its own, resulting in difficult gameplay.

There are ways to fix and prevent controller drift, a common problem affecting all types of gaming controllers, including Xbox and PlayStation and Nintendo Switch.

We will explore some of the most effective methods for helping you to restore your gaming experience in this blog post.

What Is Controller Drift?

Most commonly, however, it concerns your Xbox controller moving on its own, or rather any modern controller with an analog stick.

There was a reputation for stick drift with the PlayStation 4 back in the day, but now it appears that the fancy DualSense controllers are experiencing even more drift issues, and drift issues with Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers have been a source of many angry Reddit comments over the past few years.

It is entirely possible that we will be seeing more and more disgruntled PS, Xbox, and Switch owners as hardware manufacturers continue to make controllers more complex and skimp on quality control.

There is an issue with analog stick drift that affects many controllers on the market, and it hinders precise control in FPS and driving games.

In addition to a number of factors we will cover below, even the most well-maintained controllers may experience drift at some point due to wear and tear that naturally occurs over time.

How does stick drift occur, and what can be done to prevent it?

What Causes Controller Drift?

An analog stick is a development of the circuit board and resistor concept, which uses a track of resistive material to determine the orientation and movement of the wheel to direct the current.

The thumb movement is translated into in-game actions using two small wheels (for the X and Y axes) and a potentiometer, a passive variable resistor.

The circuit connection is also determined by a tiny metal part called a wiper which follows these movements. 

The amount of resistive material the current must pass through affects how far the camera or character can move in the game.

In other words, we are at the root of the problem: under normal circumstances, the analog sticks are read one-to-one, and releasing them returns them to neutral.

This is not the case with controllers suffering from drift. Drift may occur for a number of reasons, including damage to the conductive material, a change in resistance values, and faulty manufacturing processes. 

Most commonly, however, a clogged resistive track or a damaged or blocked wiper may be the cause of Joy-Con drift or problems with the DualSense controller, which will be far easier to resolve.

How to fix controller drift

There are several ways to fix controller drift, depending on the cause of the problem.

Here are some methods that you can try:

>> Calibration:

The built-in calibration tools on most gaming controllers can assist in resolving controller drift.

To calibrate your controller, go to the settings menu on your gaming console and locate the controller settings.

To resolve the issue, follow the instructions for calibrating the controller. # How to fix controller drift

>> Cleaning:

The joystick or thumbstick of your controller can accumulate dust and dirt, which causes drift.

To clean the controller, use a soft cloth or cotton swab to remove debris. Rub alcohol can also be used to clean the area near the joystick.

In the event that calibration or cleaning do not resolve the problem, it may be the joystick or thumbstick itself.

In this case, you should purchase replacement parts for your controller and replace the faulty component. # How to fix controller drift

>> Updating firmware:

The drift in a controller can sometimes be caused by outdated firmware. To update your controller’s firmware, check the manufacturer’s website and follow the instructions provided.

>> Proper usage:

Keeping your controller in a dry, clean place when it is not in use can help prevent controller drift.

Do not drop or throw your controller, and store it when not in use in a dry and clean environment. # How to fix controller drift

It is possible to stop controller drift by following these methods, and you will be able to enjoy your favorite games again without being frustrated by unintentional movements.

How to fix controller drift on DualSense PS5

To fix your PlayStation 5’s controller, you can take a few extra steps.

However, keep in mind that these are only suggestions, and their effectiveness may vary depending on the situation you are in.

controller drift
controller drift

1. Reset your DualSense controller

It might be possible to eliminate drift by disconnecting your controller from the PS5 and reconnecting it with factory settings.

After turning off your PlayStation 5, take a paperclip or sim ejection tool and press and hold the tiny button on the back of your DualSense controller for five seconds.

Reconnect the controller after turning on your console again.

2. Adjust the deadzone threshold

I consider this to be a workaround rather than a fix.

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It is highly subjective and depends entirely on the game you are playing.

If your controller drifts, you can adjust its input threshold.

This will prevent the controller from reaching the ranges of motion at which drift is evident.

There is no built-in setting for adjusting the deadzone of the Dualsense controller, so you will have to rely on games that offer such an option.

The Dualsense Edge however does provide such a feature.

3. Update the DualSense controller software

The development of drift can sometimes be caused by outdated controller firmware, although it is not likely.

Using a USB cable, connect the DualSense controller to the PlayStation 5 and open the Accessories menu by pressing the PlayStation button.

In the Wireless Controller Device Software section, you will find out whether your controller is up to date.

If it is not, the console will automatically update it when it is connected by cable. In addition, you can update it manually from this screen.

4. Replace the joysticks

DualSense’s sticks can be replaced technically. The joysticks used on them are identical to DualShock 4’s, and replacement sticks can be obtained online.

Ifixit provides a step-by-step explanation of the replacement process, which can be seen for yourself on the site.

In the event that you are a drift god, the Dualsense Edge offers easy-to-replace joystick modules.

How to tell if your controller has stick drift

You can identify stick drift in your controller by looking for these signs:

  1. Unintended movements: It could be a sign of stick drift if your character or cursor seems to move on its own.
  2. Sticking or resistance: A sticking or resistant joystick or thumbstick may indicate an internal component failure.
  3. Inaccurate movements: Stick drift can occur if your movements in-game aren’t registered accurately.
  4. Audible clicking: The joystick can sometimes click or grind as it drifts as it moves by itself.

The causes of stick drift are not necessarily known, but it is likely that your controller is experiencing some of these symptoms.

If you observe any of these symptoms, it’s time to address the issue as soon as possible to prevent it from worsening and causing further damage to your controller.

How to prevent stick drift from happening

I would like to share with you a few tips to help you prevent stick drift in the first place:

Proper handling:

It is important to take care when handling the controller.

Avoid pressing down on the joysticks or thumbsticks excessively as this may lead to unnecessary wear and tear on the internal components.

Regular cleaning:

You should clean your controller regularly to prevent dust and dirt from building up around the joystick or thumbstick.

Use a microfiber cloth and a small amount of rubbing alcohol to gently clean around the joystick or thumbstick.

Avoid extreme temperatures:

In order to prevent damage to the internal components of your controller, you should store it in a moderate temperature environment.

The electrical components of your controller can be damaged if you use it in a humid or moist environment.

Use a protective case:

Drops or impacts can cause physical damage to your controller if you don’t use a protective case.

Stick drift can be prevented and your controller can be extended by following these tips.

Although some wear and tear is inevitable over time, it is always a good idea to look out for and address the signs of stick drift as soon as possible.

How to fix controller drift on xbox controller

The fix I mentioned previously isn’t the only way to eliminate drift from Xbox controllers.

There is one more thing you can try.

1. Clean the joy stick

To begin, make sure the controller is turned off and the batteries have been removed (that is very important!).

After that, use some isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab to clean the base of the joysticks, rubbing it in thoroughly and carefully.

Make sure the particles are dislodged by rotating the joystick 30 seconds.

Put the batteries back into the controller after the controller has dried for a few minutes.

2. Replace the joystick

iFixit sells replacement modules for Xbox controller joysticks, and has a guide for replacing them.

3. Adjust the deadzone

The deadzone can only be adjusted under controller settings for Elite controllers.

If there are in-game dead zone settings available to non-Elite controllers, you can adjust them.

4. Contact Xbox support

 You can contact Xbox support if you still experience stick drift after trying the above methods.

You may be able to troubleshoot the issue or get a replacement controller from them.


There are steps you can take to fix and prevent controller drift, which can be frustrating for many gamers.

Regardless of whether you’re using an Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo Switch controller, there are essentially the same solutions.

You can prevent controller drift by using calibration tools, cleaning the controller, and being aware of how your controller is used and stored.

This post provides tips and tricks that will help you ensure a smooth and enjoyable gaming experience for years to come.

If you do experience drift, don’t despair – there are ways to fix it.