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How To Fix Xbox Controller Drift

Xbox One Controller

When an Xbox One controller begins to drift, you will notice unwanted movement when playing games. Controller drift, also known as analog stick drift, occurs when one or both thumbsticks drift or move in an undesirable direction even when you are not touching them.

Quick Answer

Disassembling the controller might work to fix your Xbox One controller drift. Then you proceed to repair or replace one or more analog stick-related components. 

This article discusses how to do it like a pro with and without technical knowledge. 

What is Xbox One’s Controller Drift?

Your Xbox One controller comes with two analog sticks, also known as joysticks, which allow you to do various things while playing. They usually operate just as they should. However, when analog stick drift happens, the objects you’re guiding will travel across the screen even if you don’t push any buttons.

The most common issue in first-person games is the left analog stick, which causes your character to constantly look up or fluctuate in its movement. However, the right stick might also suffer from drifts from time to time. You may experience drifts when you move one of the analog sticks in any direction; it continues to detect that movement even after removing your thumb from the stick.

One of the three conditions could be causing the controller to drift.

  • Worn-out thumbstick pad: Each thumbstick has a boxy sensor component on top of it with a moving shaft and a rubber or plastic component. If the rubber or plastic piece wears out, this can cause your controller to drift. However, replacing or fixing it will solve your drifting problem. In certain circumstances, filthy thumbstick pads might have a similar situation.
  • Worn-out springs: Each thumbstick sensor component contains two springs that assist in snapping it back to the center when your thumb is off the stick. You’ll notice some drift when one or both springs wear out. The problem can also be fixed by replacing the spring(s).
  • A faulty thumbstick unit comprises a boxy sensor connected to the controller circuit board. Internal failure of this component may occur, in which case the only solution is to replace it with a new part.

Try these basic gaming repair techniques before you start thinking of a technical solution that may include disassembling an Xbox One controller. 

Method #1: Reset the Xbox One Controller

This is similar to a factory reset on your phone, and it may even address the problem once and for all. Hold the Xbox button down for 5–10 seconds to turn it off. Wait for a while (a few seconds), then press and hold the Xbox button once more to restart it.

Method #2: Change the Batteries

Remove the controller’s rear cover and replace the AA batteries with two new ones. Charge your controller and allow the controller to run.

Method #3: Cleaning Your Xbox One Controller

Before you clean the controller, press the Xbox button for 5–10 seconds to disconnect and switch off your controller. Then, using an alcohol cotton swab or soft cloth, clean the analog stick, paying great attention to the base. As you clean, move the stick around to cover a larger area. Follow the same procedure with the other analog stick. Ensure that the alcohol is thoroughly dried before proceeding to the next step.

Using Canned Air 

Compressed air should aid in the removal of debris faster. It does not have any known adverse effects, so it is relatively safe to use when handled properly. When spraying the joysticks, keep the can level. Turning the can sideways could cause further damage. 

  1. With the controller turned off, press one analog stick as far as it will go in one direction, then spray pressurized air into the other side’s stick base.
  2. Roll the stick around slowly while spraying the base with air.
  3. While spraying, try gently pulling the analog stick up or down while pushing it to one side. This allows for more room so that it can reach more components. Repeat with the other analog stick.
  4. Even if your controller is in good working order, spraying it with compressed air once a month can keep it clean and extend its life.

Method #4: Open the Xbox One controller

If cleaning the analog stick pads does not affect the controller drift, you can open up the controller by removing its pieces using T8 and T9 safety Torx. This is to check if the analog sticks are in the wrong position. You’ll also be able to see if the sticks are loose.

Method #5: Repair or Replace the Analog Stick Springs

As mentioned in previous sections, these springs go through arduous practices. So, you may want to follow the methods outlined below to determine the state of the springs.

  1. Carefully pry off the green plastic covers at the bottom because damaging anything here will mandate a replacement of the entire analog stick.
  2. Use tweezers to remove the springs with care.
  3. Replace the springs and then reassemble the controller properly.

Method #6: Take Apart and Reassemble All-Analog Sticks

Many times, methods 1 and 2 may be effective, but sometimes, replacing the analog sticks is the best option. If you want to replace the analog sticks on your Xbox One controller, it requires more expertise. If you have no technical experience, we recommend contacting a professional.


Even though there is a whole range of Xbox consoles available today, professional and enthusiastic gamers continue to choose the Xbox One. That is due to the console’s exceptional high-end graphics gaming experience and the console’s unparalleled functionality. 

If you choose to clean your Xbox One system, a sloppy and negligent approach might result in serious difficulties, such as Xbox One controller drift. We have discussed how you can fix an Xbox One controller drift. But the bottom line is that taking care of the gadget is your best bet.

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