Is your PS5 controller drifting?How to Fix PS5 Controller Drift

Xiaobai Software  2023-06-10 16: 12  read 1,709 views

Since the release of the PS5, users of the console have noticed an unfortunate flaw with the DualSense controller.Like the PS4's DualShock 4, the PS5's controller seems to have issues with drift.

If your DualSense is drifting, here are a few things you can try to fix the problem.


What is DualSense Drift?

DualSense drift occurs when the PS5 registers movement on the screen, even though the player is not touching the controller.So, for example, in Fortnite, your character might move, even though you're not actually touching the DualSense.

This is because of DualSense drift.Essentially, the joystick sensor inside the mat is becoming prematurely obsolete.They wear out quickly, get clogged with your thumb junk, and deform over time.Sadly, a teardown of the PS5 controller revealed that DualSense drift is inevitable, as some components are prone to wear and tear.

Not ideal if you want your DualSense to last.No one wants to shell out $70 for another controller if their new one fails after a few months.Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to fix DualSense drift.

Fix 1: Adjust the input threshold of the DualSense controller

The input threshold (also known as the dead zone) is basically the area where the thumbstick doesn't register any movement.So if all you're experiencing is slight drift, you may be able to eliminate it entirely.However, this fix only works for certain games.


If you go into the controller settings of some (but not all) games, you will find that there is an option to change the input threshold size of the controller.You can see an example of these settings in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

So if you experience slight DualSense drift on the right thumbstick, you can increase the deadband size/input threshold for that stick.That means the controller won't register movement until you push the stick beyond the threshold.

Sadly, this isn't an option at the system level, which is surprising since it's a relatively easy fix for Sony.It could include this feature in an update for controllers and consoles so you can change the dead zone in the main controller menu.This might keep people happy for longer and at least provide a temporary solution.

Fix 2: Thoroughly clean your DualSense controller


If you never clean your controllers, you should really start doing it.Think about it, when you play games, your hands get sweaty.This will leave residue on your controller.It's in the grooves, under the shoulder triggers, under the face buttons, and everywhere else there's a groove.

Unfortunately, this means that dirt gets under the thumbstick as well.This is the perfect place for dirt to survive, unfortunately, it can cause the DualSense to drift - as such, it may need some cleaning.

The best tools are cotton swabs and high-strength isopropyl alcohol.We recommend using the highest strength alcohol you can get your hands on.The higher the concentration, the less water it contains, meaning the lower the chance of internal circuitry being damaged by water.

Don't forget to disconnect the controller and turn it off before starting the wash.Failure to do so may damage it further.Simply dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and gently clean each thumbstick and its housing.

Do not use a lot of liquid when cleaning, just dab a little.Make sure you move the stick around in the case and clean the bearings properly as this is the part of the thumb stick that will introduce dirt into the inside of the controller.

Also, you can fix drift on your DualSense stick by blowing out dust or any other particles that might be trapped under the thumbstick.You can use a dust blower or compressed air to do this.Try rotating the thumbstick in a circle while blowing into the controller.

Fix 3: Lift and Rotate Your Thumbstick

If you play a lot of games that require you to use and click your thumbstick in a certain direction for a long time, you may notice that your thumbstick starts to drift in that direction.

One way to get around this is to gently lift your thumbstick out of its housing, giving it a few generous twists before putting it back in.This will help refocus the mechanism inside the thumbstick and hopefully fix your PS5 controller drifting issues.

Fix 4: Reset and update your DualSense controller

While PlayStation 5 controller drift is mostly due to hardware issues, you still want to cover all your bases and rule out any underlying software issues that could be causing the problem.So, if the previous three solutions didn't fix your controller drifting problem, reset your DualSense controller.You'll need a paper clip or safety pin to do this.

First, make sure your controller is turned off.Then, gently insert a paper clip or safety pin into the small hole on the back of the DualSense controller and hold for 5 seconds.After resetting, try using your controller again to see if the problem is resolved.


If resetting your controller doesn't work, resetting your bluetooth connection might.To do this, go to Settings > Accessories > General > Turn off Bluetooth.You will need your USB cable to make this work.Finally, check that your console and DualSense controller are running the latest firmware.

For your controller, go to Settings > Accessories > Controllers (General) > DualSense Wireless Controller Device Software.Your console should update automatically, but you can also trigger a manual update by going to Settings > System > System Software > System Software Update and Settings > Update System Software.

Fix 5: Return your DualSense controller to Sony

If your DualSense controller is still under warranty, and assuming you have proof of purchase, you should be able to return it to Sony and get a free replacement.However, you do this as a last resort because it is your nuclear option.

Navigating through the returns process is fairly simple.just go Repair and Replacement Page, and from there, you can start your return.You can also track returns on this page to see when a replacement will arrive.

Just select the DualSense option, and the site will walk you through a series of questions to diagnose the problem and initiate your return.If you have any problems, you can always call PlayStation Support.However, keep in mind that you may have to wait a while before your call gets to the front of the queue.

If your DualSense controller is out of warranty, you'll have to take it to a repair shop or buy a new one.Considering drift is fairly common with PlayStation 5 controllers, you might want to invest in the premium, more expensive DualSense Edge controller, as it has a protective case, replaceable stick modules and custom dead zones that help improve it lifespan.

what can't be done


Now that we've told you some possible ways to fix PS5 joystick drift, you also need to know what not to do.

First, don't take your PS5 controller apart.If you do this, you void the warranty, which means you can't send the DualSense back to Sony for a replacement.You don't need to take it apart because you probably don't have the correct components to fix it, anyway.

Second, while we recommend that you clean your controller, we do not recommend jumping into the bathroom with it or rinsing it in the garden; only use appropriate cleaning substances.

Third, be careful with your controllers.If you lose a game, don't throw it away, or you'll damage the controller.Likewise, you don't have to press too hard on the thumbstick buttons, as these are delicate parts that are easy to operate.You don't have to smash them up while playing.Also, don't expose your DualSense controller to extreme temperatures or store it in a dusty place.Washing your hands before playing will also help keep your controllers clean.

It goes without saying that the better you treat your controller, the longer it will last.Due to issues with the thumbsticks, please avoid manipulating them while waiting for the level to load; doing so will quickly exhaust the lifecycle of the delicate parts inside.

Does your PS5 controller drift?

If your controller is drifting, try the solutions above and see if that works.Start with cleaning, and if that doesn't work, return the controller to Sony.Also, some games allow you to change the dead zone, so you can still play, no matter what.

No one wants to experience bugs when they get a new console, and that's one reason not to love a flagship controller.Obviously, there are plenty of reasons to love it too, but DualSense drift is an issue Sony needs to deal with early on to keep its loyal PlayStation customers happy.

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