How To Fix Thumbstick Drift on the DualSense Controller

    DualSense thumbstick drift

    Thumbstick drift is a common issue that can affect game controllers, including the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller. Drift occurs when the analog sticks register movement even when they’re not being touched, which can negatively impact gameplay. In this informative guide, we will outline the common causes of thumbstick drift and provide steps to fix this issue on your DualSense controller.

    Common Causes of Thumbstick Drift

    1. Dust and debris: Accumulation of dust and debris around the analog sticks can cause them to register false movements, leading to thumbstick drift.
    2. Wear and tear: Prolonged use of the controller can cause wear and tear on the internal components of the analog sticks, resulting in drift.
    3. Firmware issues: Sometimes, firmware issues can cause the controller to misinterpret the position of the analog sticks, leading to drift.

    Steps to Fix DualSense Thumbstick Drift

    The steps below may help resolve the DualSense thumbstick drift but it may not be enough. Wear and tear is the most common cause of it and unfortunately, replacing the thumb stick is the only fix for this.

    Step 1: Clean the Analog Sticks

    Dust and debris can be a major cause of thumbstick drift. Follow these steps to clean the analog sticks:

    1. Power off your PlayStation 5 and disconnect the DualSense controller.
    2. Use a can of compressed air to clean the area around the analog sticks. Be sure to move the sticks around while cleaning to ensure all debris is removed.
    3. If necessary, use a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol (70% or higher) to gently clean the base of the analog sticks. Allow the controller to dry completely before attempting to use it again.

    Step 2: Reset the Controller

    Resetting the controller can help resolve firmware-related issues that may cause thumbstick drift:

    1. Locate the small reset button on the back of the controller, found in a tiny hole next to the L2 button.
    2. Use a paperclip or a similar object to press and hold the button for around 3-5 seconds.
    3. Reconnect the controller to the PS5 and check if the drift issue is resolved.

    Step 3: Update the Controller Firmware

    Ensuring your controller has the latest firmware installed can help fix drift issues. There may be software issues causing the issue or corrections released by Sony. Updating the DualSense firmware is an easy process that may fix the stick drift.

    1. Connect the DualSense controller to the PS5 using a USB cable.
    2. Go to Settings > Accessories > Controllers > Update Controller Software.
    3. Follow the on-screen instructions to update the controller firmware.

    Step 4: Adjust Stick Dead Zones (Optional)

    Some games allow you to adjust the dead zones for the analog sticks, which can help mitigate drift issues:

    1. Check the in-game settings menu for options related to controller dead zones.
    2. Increase the dead zone slightly to see if the drift issue is resolved. Note that increasing the dead zone too much can negatively impact the responsiveness of the analog sticks.

    Step 5: Contact Sony Support

    If none of the above steps resolve the thumbstick drift issue, your controller may have a hardware problem. In this case, you should contact Sony Support for further assistance or a potential replacement.

    By following these steps, you should be able to address thumbstick drift issues with your DualSense controller and enjoy a smooth gaming experience on your PlayStation 5.

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