There's a lot to love about the PS5 DualSense controller, but it isn't perfect. Even the best PS5 accessories have their faults. One of the biggest issues plaguing the DualSense is thumbstick drift, and some people have other issues in addition to that, including with its internal battery. We'll run down a few of the most common you may experience and how you can fix them. There's no one size fits all option, and your mileage may vary, but these methods have proven to work in some instances.
How to fix PS5 controller drift
DualSense drift usually happens because of general wear and tear on your controller. Its thumbsticks are soldered to the main controller board and are connected to potentiometers that detect movement. As you constantly use your controller, friction can wear them down. This is the most difficult problem to fix because the best method to do so would be to take apart the entire controller and replace the offending parts, and not everyone is equipped to do that.
That said, controller wear and fatigue may not be the only reason your thumbsticks are drifting. A simple cleaning may do the trick and fix the issue.
- Move the thumbsticks so that they are pushed to the side.
- Clear out any visible dust or debris with a cotton swab and a little rubbing alcohol (As someone with a dog that sheds, it's amazing and concerning how easy strands of fur can make their way in there).
- With the thumbsticks still pushed to the side and the rubbing alcohol completely dry, blow on it or use a can of compressed air, working your way around the entire circumference.
Do not put the compressed air right against the thumbsticks and do not tilt the compressed air can sideways. Hold the can straight up as it would sit on a surface. If you tilt the can, you risk blowing moisture into the controller.
What to do if your PS5 controller won't hold a charge
If you're DualSense isn't holding a charge, you, unfortunately, may need a new battery. It's not exactly intuitive to replace it as it's not meant to be replaced, but it's doable. The video above provides a great walkthrough on replacing the battery. The DualSense packs a 1,560 mAh battery, so we'd recommend one that's similar. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to find any online that are guaranteed to be compatible. If you think it'd be easier to send it in to Sony to fix under warranty, you should do that first.
- Using opening tools or something with a flat edge, pry the black panel off the face of the controller. Once loosened enough, it should pop off.
- Using another thin object, remove the right and left bumpers (L1 and R1).
- Unscrew the four screws beneath the bumpers on either side and at the bottom of the grips, where you removed the black face plate.
- Take your opening tool or flat edge and pry the shell apart at the seams.
- On the bottom of the controller, push out the two clips holding the casing together (next to the 3.5mm jack).
- Carefully remove the battery and replace it.
What to do if your PS5 controller won't charge at all
You could be dealing with a faulty charging cable or a bad USB-C port if your DualSense isn't charging at all.
- Test the USB-C cable with another device to ensure that the cable is working.
- If it's working, try clearing the port of any dust by blowing into it.
- Plug to cable into your DualSense and make sure that the connection is tight and secure.
- Shine a flashlight into the charging port to make sure that it's not broken.
What to do when your PS5 controller doesn't connect
- Plug the DualSense into your console with the USB-C cable.
- Press the PS button on the controller to resync them.
If that doesn't work, you may need to reset your controller.
- Locate the reset button on the back of the controller, to the right of Sony's name. Not below it.
- Using a paperclip, press and hold down the button inside for 3-5 seconds.
- Connect your controller to your PS5 using a USB-C cable.
- Press the PS button on your controller.
Still not fixed? Replace the controller
Should all else fail, you might just need a new controller. It's unfortunate since it'll set you back $70, but a working DualSense is well worth the money. And it's a lot easier to find in stock than the PS5 console itself.
If you're having trouble with your DualShock controller, we also have a handy guide on fixing common PS4 controller issues. I hope this solves or at least alleviates some of your problems!
Haptic feedback and adaptive triggers
When it works, the DualSense is a stunning piece of technology that perfectly complements the console it's packaged with. Should yours break, you'll definitely want to pick up a new one. An old DualShock controller won't work on PS5 games.
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