How to Fix PS4 Controller Drift

Troubleshooting PS4 analog stick problems

This article explains how to fix PS4 controller drift (aka analog stick drift). Instructions apply to the official Sony DualShock 4 controller, but these troubleshooting tips will also work for third-party controllers.

Causes of PS4 Controller Drift

If your character or the camera keeps moving when you're not touching the controller, the source of the problem is likely analog stick drift. PS4 controller drift can be caused by one of two things:

  • The analog stick is dirty.
  • The analog stick or the potentiometer is damaged.

General wear-and-tear is to be expected from frequent use. If cleaning the controller externally doesn't fix the problem, then you should look into getting your controller replaced or repaired before disassembling it.

Red DualShock 4 controller for PS4

How to Fix PS4 Controller Analog Stick Drift

Make sure your controller is turned off, then follow the steps below in order until it is working properly.

After trying each fix, test the analog sticks by moving them around in circles and clicking the L3 and R3 buttons (by pressing on the analog stick).

  1. Reset your PS4 controller. Resetting the DualShock 4 can solve a lot of issues that suddenly pop up. If a soft reset doesn't work, try a hard reset.

  2. Clean your PS4 controller. Gently wipe around the crevices of the analog stick with a dry microfiber cloth. To get rid of grime, use a cotton swab dipped in a mixture of water and isopropyl alcohol. If you see dirt that you can't reach, you can use pressurized air to dislodge it.

    Cleaning your controller every few months prevents build-up that can cause problems with the DualShock 4.

  3. Get your PS4 controller repaired or replaced by Sony. If your controller is relatively new, it may still be under warranty. Go to the PlayStation Repair & Replace page, choose DualShock 4, then follow the prompts to see if you qualify for a free repair or replacement.

  4. Disassemble your PS4 controller to clean the analog stick. In order to deep clean the controller inputs, you must remove the outer casing and lift up the battery to access the motherboard. Use a cotton swab and a mix of water and isopropyl alcohol. Do not use pressurized air on the interior parts.

    When taking apart your PS4 controller, be very careful not to disconnect anything other than the battery from the motherboard.

  5. Replace the PS4 analog sticks. If you have the necessary tools, and you're willing to put in the work, you can try replacing the analog sticks and the potentiometer (the sensor for the analog sticks). In addition to the parts, which can be purchased online, you'll also need a soldering iron. Unless you really want to do it yourself, buying a new controller is the cheaper and easier solution.

    Removing the outer casing will void the warranty on your PS4 controller, so open it up only if the warranty has expired.

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