How to Take Apart an Xbox One Controller

Safely disassemble your Xbox One controller for easy fixes

The Xbox One controller is generally accepted as one of the best video game controllers around, but they still break down and need repairs from time to time. While you can take apart an Xbox One controller without too much trouble, there are a few potential snags to be aware of, and you'll also need a couple specialized tools that you may not already have laying around.

An Xbox One controller that has been taken apart.
Jeremy Laukkonen 

Why Take Apart an Xbox One Controller?

If your Xbox One controller isn't working right, and you've already updated the firmware and gone through some basic troubleshooting like checking the batteries, the next step is usually going to be taking the controller apart.

Here are some fixes that require taking apart your Xbox One controller, including advice on what to do after you've opened the controller up:

  • Malfunctioning d-pad: Carefully pry up the tabs on the spring assembly so it pushes down with more force. Replace if necessary.
  • Drifting analog sticks: Clean or replace the analog stick units as necessary.
  • Inoperable audio jack: Verify that the jack is properly seated and making contact, and replace if necessary.
  • Sticking buttons: Use canned air and other methods to remove gunk and other buildup after removing the circuit board assembly from the controller housing.

How to Take Apart an Xbox One Controller

Before you can take apart your Xbox One controller, find a clean and clear workspace that's well lit. You will also need to obtain the following tools if you don't already have them:

  • T-8 safety Torx
  • Prying tool
Tools for taking apart an Xbox One controller

You can use a Torx bit in a driver or with a socket wrench, or use a dedicated Torx driver, but it has to be a T-8 safety Torx. You can tell the difference between a regular Torx and a safety Torx by the small hole found in the tip of a safety Torx. Without this small hole, a regular T-8 Torx will not fit into the Xbox One controller screws.

For the prying tool, you can use anything that's thin enough to fit inside the gap between the controller housing and the end covers. Try to use a plastic tool if possible to avoid damaging the housing of your controller.

Here's how to take apart your Xbox One controller:

  1. Use a prying tool to gently separate the right or left grip cover.

    Prying apart an Xbox One controller.
  2. Once the covers have started to separate, you can finish carefully pulling them off by hand.

    A separated grip cover on an Xbox One controller.
  3. Repeat the process with the other grip cover.

    Removing a grip cover on an Xbox One controller.
  4. Remove the battery cover.

    An Xbox One controller that's ready to take apart.

    If your controller has never been taken apart, the sticker inside the battery compartment will be intact. You will need to push through the sticker with your Torx bit or cut it away to access the hidden screw.

  5. You are now ready to remove the screws, starting with the hidden screw inside the battery compartment. Use a T-8 safety Torx bit, and be careful to properly seat it and apply even pressure to avoid stripping the screw.

    Removing the hidden screw in an Xbox One controller.
  6. Using the same Torx bit or driver, remove one of the screws from one of the grips.

    Removing screws from an Xbox One controller.
  7. Remove the second screw from the same grip.

    Removing screws from an Xbox One controller.
  8. Repeat the same process on the other grip, removing the final two screws, and the controller will come apart.

    The right hand screws of an Xbox One controller.
  9. You now have access to the rumble motors, triggers, and some additional screws that you can leave alone unless you need to replace specific components on the circuit board. To access most of the other components, remove the assembly from the front case and flip it around.

    A disassembled Xbox One controller.
  10. From this view, you can clean the buttons and analog sticks, remove the analog sticks, remove the d-pad ring and d-pad, and more.

    A disassembled Xbox One controller.
  11. To reassemble the controller when you're done, simply reverse these steps. Place the controller assembly back in the front case, set the rear case in place, insert and tighten all fight screws, then finally snap the grip covers and battery cover back into place.

Performing Xbox One Controller Repairs

Once you have successfully taken apart your Xbox One controller, you can attempt to make repairs. Some problems can be fixed by simply cleaning components, while other issues require you to replace components. In some cases, advanced skills like soldering are required to remove and replace components. Depending on your experience level, some of those repairs are better left to the professionals.

Other fixes are much simpler, like repairing or replacing the d-pad ring. If your d-pad isn't responding correctly, try this quick fix:

  1. Use a prying tool or tweezers to carefully pop off the spring steel d-pad ring.

    Removing the d-pad ring on an Xbox One controller.
  2. Carefully lift up the arms on the d-pad ring so that they apply more pressure, and reassemble. If that doesn't fix your problem, you may need a new d-pad ring.

    Bending an Xbox One d-pad ring.