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Fixes For Disconnecting Joy-cons On The Switch

Updated on May 6, 2018
JynBranton profile image

Since her first Nintendo, Jennifer Branton has been an avid gamer who fairs best in Survival Horror and RPG's.

Left Joy-con-Gate

Continuing to be one of the quickest selling consoles, and one of the hardest Nintendo products to keep on shelves this side of Amibos, The Switch has been nearly flawless in the nearly two years since its release only receiving criticism for the slow trickle of games for the system that are not remasters of the previous Wii U releases and a software update that bricked some systems using non Nintendo docking stations.

Making the best of the its hybrid functionality, The Switch, takes a little bit of its previous generation siblings- the touchscreen and portability of the DS series of On The Go handhelds, and the use of Joy-cons and touchscreen on the Wii U. The Switch can be played in several configurations for most games, and some like like Super Mario Odyssey actually encourage using different modes of controllers to pull off variation on game play and move sets.

The Switch can be played with Joy-cons attached to the console itself in handheld mode, giving controls similar to the 3DS, with both Joy-cons attached to the controller bracket provided with the system, or using the Joy-cons independently- which works best for multiplayer games.

Gamers began to realize that Joy-cons, using the left were starting to lose connectivity randomly mid game causing for frustrations when used in either independent Joy-cons mode or when made into a traditional controller style in the bracket.

Nintendo sent out a fix but some, myself included- are still having continued issues with disconnecting. In my case, both Joy-cons will not sync with the system which randomly started one evening while playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

Using both first the Nintendo fix, then some other things found online, I unfortunately haven't found a fix other than buying a replacement set of Joy-cons to sync and cycle in, but the originals still won't sync back but can be used if connected in handheld mode.


Randomly the Left of the Joy-cons for most gamers, seemed to be the affected controller but many like myself- are experiencing issues with both leading to a list of fixes.

The Nintendo Fix

Where as Nintendo knocked it out of the park with its creation of The Switch, the official fix on their help page for the disconnecting Joy-cons issue was enough to make some people scream.

What to Do:

Try these steps:

  1. Ensure your console has the latest system update.
  2. Ensure the controllers are charged.
  3. Try to decrease the distance between the Joy-Con and the Nintendo Switch console.
  4. 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.

Like most people, my bedroom and living room are both the homes to my consoles, so to try to keep the console close to the TV and away from other electronics to reduce interference didn't seem to make much sense.

When my Joy-cons stopped working, The Switch was on my TV stand, next to my PS4 that was off at the time. But for the heck of it, as some forums claimed the earlier Joy-cons were sucking up too much bandwidth, I powered down our gaming computer and went into the living room and shut down the laptop, turned off our second PS4 that was just playing music, and took my phone off the WiFi.

Still not connecting.

The Switch page on, suggested making sure systems were updated, and that there was no interference between the system and the controllers, that did not seems to be the issue in my case, which I tested by turning off everything else that was using WiFi to see if I could get the Joy-cons to re-sync.

Completely Disconnect The Controllers

One of the popular fixes on Nintendo forums on Nintendo Today's website was to follow the steps to completely disconnect the Joy-cons from the console and sync them back following the directions below:

  1. Go to System Settings on the Nintendo Switch.
  2. Select Controllers and Sensors.
  3. At the bottom of this screen, there’s an option for “Disconnect Controllers.”
  4. Do this and then power cycle the console by holding down the power button until it turns off.
  5. Turn it back on and re-sync your controllers.

For many users, this seemed to work from the comments, as well as some Youtube users that have tried the same fix, even if it took several attempts before getting a successful result.


Follow the steps to disconnect the controllers from the console and sync them back to the system, for some users it worked right away and never had another issue according to Youtube and forum comments, yet others like myself the fix didn't take.

Switch Joy-cons With Friends

A strange fix that I saw on Youtube came from people that were accustomed to having multiple Joy-cons synced to one console at a time for multiplayer games.

In this fix, users simply disconnected their Joy-cons from the system that it seemed to having the connectivity dropping from and borrowed a friend's Joy-cons that were then paired to the system with no issue. In some cases, if the friends traded back, pairing the original Joy-cons back to the system from which it came fixed the issue completely.

This I have not tried.


Updating Joy-Cons And Replacing

Under controller settings, there was a option to update Joy-cons after so many complaints in the last few months about the disconnect issue.

I have also done to update, still neither of the my Joy-Cons will re-sync to the console, so I had to just buy new ones that paired to the system with no problem, giving credence to the claim online that the newer ones seem to have "whatever was causing the issue in the original removed."

To be fair, as a gamer, I have been through many replacements for controllers for all my systems and although it puts a little dent in the wallet, this is just a fact of life. I have never had to replace something as fast on a system as I had with the Joy-cons, but I still really enjoy what The Switch offers.

Even if my old Joy-cons have to be connected to the system to be used, it doe give me some backups if the other pair is starting to lose their charge.

Every young console has some bugs their first year or so, and this was The Switch's. I am counting down to all the upcoming releases for the system.

Have You Experienced This Issue With Joy-Con Connectivity?

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If Yes, What Fix Worked For You?

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