Some players have reported their Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers are loose when connected to the Switch console, which makes the left or right side move out of place, even when locked in position. The issue doesn't appear to be as widespread as the infamous Bluetooth issues with the left Joy-Con, but it's still an irritating problem. If you're experiencing loose Joy-Cons, here are a few things you can do to help with the problem.
A slight wiggle is normal
Before trying to repair your controllers, there's an important disclaimer. The Joy-Con controllers will often wiggle ever-so-slightly when locked in place in tablet mode. It's noticeable, but it will only occasionally affect gameplay by making you stop the game and reconnect the controllers. If your loose Joy-Cons feel like they are about to fall off, go to the next step.
Make sure your Joy-Cons are locked
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's essential. When you correctly attach a Joy-Con to the Switch console, you will hear an audible click noise. This lets you know that the controller is locked in place.
It's pretty easy to forget to push the controller all the way down, especially when the console is powered off and you don't get the extra added noise from the Switch's speakers. If you're sure they are connected properly, but they still wiggle around a lot, try the next step.
Check to see if the loose Joy-Cons stay locked on other accessories
If you've made sure your Joy-Cons are locked to your Switch console and you're still experiencing the problem, try locking your Joy-Cons onto other accessories to see if you have the same issue. This will help you diagnose and explain the problem to customer support.
If you notice one or both of your Joy-Cons won't stay locked to other devices — like the Joy-Con Grip, the wrist straps, or the Nintendo Switch OLED — then the issue may be with the rails on the Joy-Con rather than the Switch Console itself. You can either purchase replacement Joy-Cons or go to the next step.
And if your Joy-Cons do stay locked onto other devices but not the Nintendo Switch itself, then the problem is with the rail locks on the console. At that point, you should send your Switch in for repairs. Sending your Joy-Cons or your console away to get repaired is annoying and inconvenient, but if you're having a problem with your Switch, it's best to get the problem taken care of properly.
Contact Nintendo or retailer
The Nintendo Switch comes with a 12-month warranty that covers manufacturer defects. If you haven't damaged your Switch in any way, you should be able to go to Nintendo's support page and complete a repair request. You can also give their support line a call, 1-855-877-9099, to deal with the issue.
You may be able to return your Switch to the store you purchased it from and exchange it for a new console (if they have any in stock), but be sure to call the store ahead and double-check their return policy.
If you have been looking for a way to fix or solve your loose Joy-Con issue, there is a chance you could have come across a Reddit thread with people asking the same question. Like all things on Reddit, the responses are a mixed bag.
Some people have reported that installing third-party metal locks on your Joy-Cons will prevent the problem, while others suggest using electrical tape on the rail of the Nintendo Switch console itself. The latter is fairly easy to do, and you can remove it if necessary since electrical tape will not damage the Switch itself.
Simply apply a small square of electrical tape to the bottom of the entry rail on the console; there is a plastic section on the bottom that doesn't have any screws or locks where the tape can sit. Only apply a little at first, just enough to create some friction with the console. If that isn't enough, apply a bit more until you get enough friction to hold the Joy-Con in place. Just do so cautiously — you don't want to mess something up and void the console's warranty!
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If you discover that the fault lies with the Joy-Cons themselves and Nintendo or your retailer will not be footing the bill, they might have to be replaced. As unfortunate as that is, you can use this opportunity to pick up a set in a new color.
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Electrical tape will rarely, if ever, be a permanent solution when it comes to repairs, but it can be handy to have around. It might also help tide you over while you're waiting for the repair center to reopen so you can get Nintendo to fix your device.
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Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.
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