Oh man! If you’re here it can mean only one thing – you’ve fallen victim to the connection issues between the Nintendo Switch and its funky little controller, the Joy-Con. It’s a bummer, we know. Who’s going to save Hyrule? How will Octo Canyon ever get its color back? Who’s going to navigate Isaac through his labyrinths of grotesque horrors?
Maybe we don’t have to get that dramatic, because you’ll still be able to do all of those things. Though you’re experiencing connection issues now, we’re not going to just sit back and watch you suffer. To play on a phrase popularized by Apple: Joy-Con connection issues? There’s a fix for that!
Why is It Happening?
Believe it or not, the answer isn’t “Because the universe hates you.”
Initial reports believed that there was a software issue fixable via a patch, but initial buyers of the Nintendo Switch were faced with a sad reality – the issue was actually a problem with the Joy-Con itself, a physical hardware issue that Nintendo couldn’t rectify with a simple patch.
The issue was specific to the left Joy-Con, which may be surprising considering it’s technically lighter and less burdened than its direct opposite. The right Joy-Con, equipped with an IR and NFC sensor, had less room inside, leading to Nintendo adding a dedicated antenna to boost the Bluetooth signal.
If you’re playtime is hindered by this connectivity issue in the left controller, there is something you can do for a smoother Switch experience, but let’s look at something you should avoid doing, regardless of what the rest of the internet tells you.
What You Shouldn’t Do
Unless you’re a proficient handyman and actually had a hand in designing and constructing the Joy-Con, you’ll want to avoid going the route of a home repair kit. Yes, it works, but you do have to take the controller apart, which risks damaging any of the vital components inside.
The kit walks you through installing an aftermarket antenna that, like the right Joy-Con, will help boost the Bluetooth signal. Of course, if you break the controller in the process – which is a very likely scenario considering you have to solder it to your Joy-Con – you’ll rectify those connectivity issues permanently. You’ll also be short a Joy-Con and down the $50 it would take to replace it.
So, now that you know what not to do, how can you get any use out of your Joy-Con and Switch without a faulty connection getting in the way?
Troubleshooting the Issue
If you do have an early-model Switch, you can get the issue permanently fixed by sending it off to Nintendo. The replacement process will likely take less than a week, so you won’t be without your Switch for long.
But what if you still have connectivity issues, even after it’s been repaired or replaced? If you know about wireless connections, you know that sometimes signals from other devices and things around your home can cause issues.
If Nintendo couldn’t fix your problem, don’t fret, there are still a few things you can try to get you up and gaming again!
To troubleshoot your Joy-Con connection issue:
- Make sure your Switch is running on the latest update
- Check that your Joy-Con is fully charged
- Try decreasing the distance between the Joy-Con and the console
If you can move to a comfortable distance and find that the connection is stable, then your issue was just a weak connection, which can be due to other devices near the console.
Other ways to maximize the strength of the signal include:
- Ensuring the console is in the open and not behind your TV
- Keeping it away from aquariums
- Avoiding placing the console in or under metal
- Putting space between the console and other wires and cords
- Keeping other wireless devices about three to four feet away from the console
Devices that can cause connectivity issues between your Joy-Con and Switch include:
- Wireless headsets
- Wireless printers
- Laptops and tablets
- Wireless speakers
- Cordless phones
- Devices that use USB 3.0 (LAN adapters, HDD, thumb drivers)
You may be surprised to find just how effective shifting around some of your other electronic devices can be in rectifying not just your JoyCon connection issues, but problems you may have been having with your in-home WiFi.
In fact, before you even go through the hassle of contacting Nintendo, try fixing the issue yourself. It’s easier, doesn’t require a trip to the Post Office, and you may wind up fixing some other connection issues you’ve had around the house!
The Nintendo Switch may have had a rocky launch considering the widespread Joy-Con issue and a lack of powerful launch titles beyond Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but the future of the console is looking up. The hardware issue has been fixed, so newer models of the console won’t have to worry about a faulty left Joy-Con, and with a selection of fun games that are available and releasing in the future, there’s much to enjoy about the Switch!
If you haven’t already, you should look into out games like:
- Super Mario Odyssey
- Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2
- 88 Heroes
- Pokken Tournament DX
So, don’t let those connectivity problems get you down. Just try these fixes, enjoy the handheld mode, and think of all the fine gaming you have to do.