How to Fix Joy-Cons Not Responding Nintendo Switch

Introduction

Sometimes your Nintendo Switch will stop responding to your input with the Joy-Con Controllers.

Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons

This guide will help you resolve that issue.

1 Joy-Con Cleaning

  1. Hold the Power Button for roughly 3 seconds.
    Nintendo Switch power button
  2. Select Power Options.
    Nintendo Switch power options
  3. Choose either Turn Off or Restart.
    Nintendo Switch power options with turn off selected
  4. If any skins or covers are being used with the problematic Joy-Con, remove them temporarily.
  5. Check if the any control sticks or buttons feel sticky or stuck down.
  6. Clean the area around the problematic control sticks using a soft, dry toothbrush or cloth.
  7. Avoid using any cleaners or fluids.
    Cleaning a Joy-Con
  8. Press the Power Button to restart your Switch.
    Nintendo switch power button

2 Manual Update

  1. Select System Settings.
    Nintendo Switch home screen highlighting the system settings button.
  2. Select System.
  3. Select System Update.
    Nintendo switch system menu highlighting the system update option.
  4. Allow the update to proceed. The system will reboot when ready.

? Is your Joy-Con attached or wireless?

  1. Attached
  2. Wireless

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Sometimes your Nintendo Switch will stop responding to your input with the Joy-Con Controllers.

Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons

This guide will help you resolve that issue.

  1. Hold the Power Button for roughly 3 seconds.
    Nintendo Switch power button
  2. Select Power Options.
    Nintendo Switch power options
  3. Choose either Turn Off or Restart.
    Nintendo Switch power options with turn off selected
  4. If any skins or covers are being used with the problematic Joy-Con, remove them temporarily.
  5. Check if the any control sticks or buttons feel sticky or stuck down.
  6. Clean the area around the problematic control sticks using a soft, dry toothbrush or cloth.
  7. Avoid using any cleaners or fluids.
    Cleaning a Joy-Con
  8. Press the Power Button to restart your Switch.
    Nintendo switch power button
  1. Select System Settings.
    Nintendo Switch home screen highlighting the system settings button.
  2. Select System.
  3. Select System Update.
    Nintendo switch system menu highlighting the system update option.
  4. Allow the update to proceed. The system will reboot when ready.

Calibrate Control Sticks

  1. Undock the console.
    Undocking a nintendo switch
  2. Press and hold the release button at the back of the Joy-Con.
    Joy-Con being detached
  3. Slide the Joy-Con from bottom to top.
    Joy-Con being detached
  4. Select System Settings from the Home Menu.
    Nintendo Switch home screen with system settings selected
  5. Select Controllers and Sensors.
  6. Select Calibrate Control Sticks.
    Nintendo Switch Controllers and sensors menu
  7. Press down on the control stick you want to calibrate.
  8. Follow the on screen instructions.
    Calibrating Control stick instructions

Calibrate Motion Controls

  1. In order to calibrate the motion controls on the Joy-Con, the controller must be detached from the console.
  2. Press and hold the release button at the back of the Joy-Con.
    Nintendo Switch release buttons for the joy-con
  3. Slide the Joy-Con from bottom to top.
    Nintendo Switch joy-con being detached
  4. Select System Settings from the Home Menu.
    Nintendo Switch system settings
  5. Select Controllers and Sensors.
  6. Select Calibrate Motion Controls.
    Nintendo Switch calibrate motion controls menu
  7. Hold the + or - button on the controller you want to calibrate.
    Nintendo Switch calibrating motion controls
  8. Place the controller with the stick facing upward on a flat, stable surface and wait for a moment.
    Nintendo Switch calibration instructions
  9. Once calibration is complete, select OK.

If possible, test another Joy-Con with your Switch console.

If another Joy-Con works correctly with the console, then only the non-working Joy-Con controller will need to be repaired.

If the issue persists with a second Joy-Con, or if another Joy-Con is unavailable, the Nintendo Switch console will need to be repaired. 

The button test feature on the console is not available for the following buttons: POWER Volume HOME SYNC Capture

If you're having issues with those buttons please skip the button test and select your problematic button.

  1. From the HOME Menu select System Settings.
    Nintendo Switch home screen showing System Settings highlighted
  2. Select Controllers and Sensors.
  3. Select Test Input Devices.
    Nintendo Switch Controllers and Sensors settings with Test Input Devices selected
  4. Select Test Controller Buttons.
    Nintendo Switch Test Controller Buttons selections
  5. Press the button or control stick on the controller you wish to test.
  6. An icon for the button or control stick that was pressed will be displayed on the screen.
    Nintendo Switch Button test
  7. Press and hold down any button or control stick to end the test.
  1. Undock the console.
    Undocking a nintendo switch
  2. Remove any game cards or microSD cards from the system.
  3. Open the game card slot cover located on the top right side of the Nintendo Switch console.
  4. Gently push down on the inserted game card until the card clicks.
    Inserting a game cartridge into the Nintendo Switch. Illustration.
  5. Release the game card and it will partially eject.
  6. Slide the game card out of the game card slot and close the cover.
  7. Hold the Power Button for roughly 3 seconds.
    Switch power button
  8. Select Power Options.
    Switch power options
  9. Choose Turn Off.
    Powering off a switch
  10. If the console does not respond, press and hold down the POWER Button for at least twelve seconds to force the console to shut down.
    Switch power button
  11. Press the POWER Button once to turn on the console again
    Switch power button
  1. Make sure the Switch console is undocked.
    Undocking a nintendo switch
  2. Unplug any headphones from the console.
    Headphones being unplugged from the switch
  3. If the setting Mute when Headphones are Disconnected is turned on, by unplugging a headphone set, the sound on the console speakers will be muted until the volume buttons are pressed, or until this setting is manually turned off.

Turn Off Mute When Headphones are Disconnected

  1. Open System Settings.
    Nintendo Switch Home Menu showing system settings highlighted
  2. Select System.
  3. Make sure Mute when Headphones are Disconnected is set to OFF.
    Nintendo switch system settings menu showing system and mute when headphones are disconnected highlighted

Test the Volume

  1. Start a game or application and turn up the volume by pressing the + Button on the console, or adjust the volume from the Quick Settings screen.
    Nintendo Switch volume controls
  2. When the console is undocked and either of the volume buttons are pressed, the volume level indicator will be momentarily displayed on the top left corner of the LCD screen.
  3. If the issue persists, try using a different game or application.
  1. Hold the Power Button for roughly 3 seconds.
    Nintendo Switch console highlighting the power button at the top.
  2. Select Power Options.
    Nintendo Switch menu displaying power options.
  3. Choose either Turn Off or Restart.
    Nintendo Switch power options menu highlighting the turn off option.
  4. If the console was turned off, press the Power Button again to power it back on.
  1. Press the HOME Button.
    Nintendo Switch showing the Home button.
  2. If the screen does not return to the HOME Menu, there may be an issue with the console or with the right Joy-Con.
  3. If possible, test the console using another right Joy-Con controller.
  4. If a second right Joy-Con works correctly on the console, only the original right Joy-Con will need to be repaired.
  1. Undock the console.
    Undocking a nintendo switch
  2. While in the HOME Menu, press the Capture Button on the left Joy-Con controller.
    Nintendo Switch capture button
  3. If a message is received about needing to free up space, you can do either archive downloaded software or use a microSD card to save the data.
    Nintendo switch needing to free up space
  4. If the issue happens only while using a specific application, it’s possible that the Capture button is not compatible with that application. Check the software manual.
  5. If you have verified that the intended application is compatible with the Capture Button, try testing the application using a different Joy-Con controller.
  6. If a second left Joy-Con works correctly on the console, the original left Joy-Con will need to be repaired.

If the button responded to the test:

  1. It's possible that the intended button is not compatible with that game or application. Check the software manual for more information.
  2. If the game or application is compatible with the intended button but it is not working with your Joy-Con, try testing that application using a different Joy-Con controller.
  3. If a second Joy-Con works correctly on the console, the original Joy-Con will need to be repaired.

If the button did not respond during the test:

  1. Test the button with multiple applications.
  2. If possible, test other applications on the console using a different Joy-Con controller.
  3. If a second Joy-Con works with the intended software or application, the original Joy-Con will need to be repaired.
  1. Hold the Power Button for roughly 3 seconds.
    Nintendo Switch console highlighting the power button at the top.
  2. Select Power Options.
    Nintendo Switch menu displaying power options.
  3. Choose either Turn Off or Restart.
    Nintendo Switch power options menu highlighting the turn off option.
  4. If the console was turned off, press the Power Button again to power it back on.

Checking the Charge of the Joy-Con

  1. From the Switch Home Menu, select Controllers.
    Nintendo Switch
  2. You can see the charge of each Joy-Con here.
    Nintendo Switch

Charging the Joy-Con Controllers with the Console

  1. You can charge the Joy-Con using the Switch Console.
  2. Attach the Joy-Con to the console.
    Nintendo Switch
  3. Plug the console into the charger.
    Nintendo Switch

Charging the Joy-Con Controllers with the Charging Grip

  1. Attach the controllers to the Joy-Con Charging Grip.
    Nintendo Switch
  2. Plug the charging grip either into the Switch Dock or the AC Adapter.
    Nintendo Switch

Try to decrease the distance between the Joy-Con and the Nintendo Switch console.


Ensure that the Nintendo Switch console is placed to minimize interference with the Joy-Con. It is best if the Nintendo Switch console is placed out in the open and that it is not:
  • Behind a TV
  • Near an aquarium
  • Placed in or under a metal object
  • Pressed against a large amount of wires and cords
  • Within three to four feet of another wireless device, such as a wireless speaker or a wireless access point.

Check for possible sources of interference and turn them off. Interference can be caused by devices, such as:
  • Laptops, tablets, etc.
  • Wireless headsets
  • Wireless printers
  • Microwaves
  • Wireless speakers
  • Cordless phones
  • USB 3.0-compatible devices such as hard drives, thumb drives, LAN adapters, etc.

In most cases it will be enough to move these devices three to four feet away from the Nintendo Switch console and/or Joy-Con controllers. However, if you continue to experience this issue, please power these devices off while using the Nintendo Switch console.

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