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Why Does Nintendo Switch Controller Keep Disconnecting & How to Fix It

Like any other console, you might experience technical glitches on the Nintendo Switch when playing. One common problem is when the wireless communication between the console and the Joy-Con controller keeps disconnecting, which can be hugely disappointing when you’re in the middle of a time-sensitive (think multiplayer) game. Luckily, this is mostly a temporary issue that you can solve quickly to continue playing. 

Nintendo Switch Joy-Con’s may repeatedly disconnect due to a software glitch with the connection to the console or because there’s been a hardware malfunction. Reboot the console with the Joy-Con’s attached to reset things. Make sure all software is up to date. Contact Nintendo Support if needed.

There are various reasons for a controller that repeatedly disconnects during gameplay—quickly learning why and how Joy-Cons disconnect helps you troubleshoot and identify the best fix as fast as possible. So let’s find out why Switch Lite controllers keep disconnecting and how to fix the problem.

Why Do Nintendo Switch Controllers Keep Disconnecting?

Handheld video game console controllers

If your Nintendo Switch controllers don’t stay connected, you can’t play effectively. There are various reasons the Joy-con controllers might keep disconnecting. Identifying these reasons helps you fix them quickly and enjoy your gaming experience. And note that we’ll start our troubleshooting by assuming you’ve already tried to charge them up. Some reasons for the Joy-Con disconnection include:

Bluetooth Signal Interference  

Joy-Con controllers connect through Bluetooth. If you have other Bluetooth devices around the house, especially near the Switch or the entertainment center, the gaming console might suffer signal interference.

The interconnected devices interfere with the controllers or the console and cause disconnection issues. While the Switch console has cutting-edge technology to overcome such interference, the issue can still affect your gaming experience.

Software Glitches 

Gaming consoles rely on software to improve functionality. If your Switch console has a software bug, you’ll experience multiple issues, including controllers that connect and disconnect repeatedly.

A software glitch makes the Switch console unpredictable and affects your gaming experience. 

The software-related issue could arise from data corruption, corrupted games or apps, or incomplete game download/update. If the Joy-Cons don’t have the recent firmware update, you might have issues when playing. 

Especially if you tend to leave your Nintendo Switch on for days or weeks at a time, a periodic restart is great to just kind of clear things out. Just like your brain benefits from sleep, the console benefits from a restart after long sessions of up-time.

Nintendo Switch Hardware Problems 

Nintendo Switch consoles boast a strong build, and it’s rare for the hardware to malfunction. However, the console might develop issues in case of physical damage after a fall or water damage.

If you drop the console, the Joy-Cons might suffer damage which affects effective connection. Damage to console parts requires professional repairs or replacement of the broken components. You can examine the leads on the side of the joy-cons to make sure they’re still connecting to the Switch and charging properly.

How to Fix Joy-Cons That Keep Disconnecting from Switch?

Offset close up of Nintendo controllers

Once you troubleshoot and identify the cause of the Switch controllers’ disconnection, it’s time to fix the issue. Again, start with the simplest before attempting the more complex procedures when trying different ways to fix the glitch.

Most solutions for Joy-Con disconnection are simple but effective. Here are some ways to fix Joy-Cons that keep disconnection from a Switch console:

Reboot Your Switch

The simplest fix for Joy-Con trouble on a Switch console is to restart the machine. To reboot, press the power button for about 3 seconds, and from the pop-up tab, select Power Options. Then, restart the gaming machine and play the same game to confirm the problem is no more.

Update the Console’s Software 

Outdated software affects the performance of a Switch gaming console. The Nintendo Switch automatically updates the system with new software/patches.

If you normally play offline, your console misses out on these updates which eventually affects the gaming experience. 

To fix this, connect the machine to your home’s Wi-Fi to go online. Next, go to Systems Settings, select System, and choose updates. The system checks for new software versions, and the download starts automatically. 

Reset the Joy-Cons 

If you suspect the Joy-Con connection is faulty, resetting the controllers is the best solution. To do this, disconnect and reconnect the controllers from the System Settings. Next, go to Controllers and Sensors and select Disconnect Controllers.

Next, remove the controllers from the side of the console before sliding them back in. Start the gaming console and try the same game to determine if the problem is gone.

Recalibrating the Controllers

Recalibrating the Joy-Cons refreshes the console’s connection. Unlike resetting Joy-Cons, this process is exclusively done from the Systems Settings.

Go to Calibrate Control Stick and select Motion Controls. The procedure should resolve any bugs or connection glitches and allow you to play seamlessly.

Factory Reset the Switch Console

If all the simple fixes to the controllers’ problem fail, consider resetting the gaming console to default factory settings.

The reset means you’ll lose gaming data, personal settings, and other files. So this is the last option when everything else fails.

To reset your console, go to Systems Settings, scroll down to System, and find Formatting Options. Then, choose Restore Factory Settings and confirm the action.

Update the Joy-Con’s Firmware 

Nintendo continues to upgrade its hardware to deliver the best gaming experience. For Switch consoles with system menu version 4.0 or higher, it’s now possible to get a firmware update for the controllers.

From the System Settings scroll to the Controllers and Sensors and select Update Controllers. The update of the controller’s firmware starts. 

Get Help from Nintendo Switch Support  

If the factory reset doesn’t work, you’re probably going to need to get in touch with Nintendo Support. And if you’ve done some of the basic troubleshooting covered in this article, you’ll be in a good position for that call to go quickly and smoothly.

The support team is available by phone, email, or chat, and they can help you figure out if the controller is broken and needs to be replaced, if your unit is under warranty, etc. If you’re out of warranty and the controller needs to be replaced, don’t worry – there are modestly priced replacement options (on Amazon).

Get Professional Repairs 

If the customer team recommends console repair or Joy-Con replacement, use a professional technician for the job. The best technicians diagnose the problem and procure high-quality replacement parts for your Nintendo Switch. And the products and services offered come with a warranty. 

How Long Do Joy-Cons Last before Breaking?

If you’re an avid gamer on a Switch console, one constant worry you might have is the life of the Joy-Cons. The plastic controllers don’t look or feel sturdy enough compared to the rest of the durable Nintendo Switch build.

The controllers can break within a few days of the console’s purchase or even last for years with proper care. 

If you avoid dropping the console or hitting it against the wall after losing, you won’t have to worry about broken controllers for a long time. Using a protective cover on your Switch is a smart way to prevent damage to the controllers. Nintendo still stands behind its products by replacing broken Joy-Cons. 

And if you want to leave the joy-cons behind, be sure to take note of our other guides on using the Switch Pro controller and how to handle issues with individual JoyCons.