How to fix common PS5 controller issues

Ps5 Dualsense On
(Image credit: Jennifer Locke / Android Central)

There's a lot to love about the PS5 DualSense controller, but it isn't perfect. 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 PS5 controller issues 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. After all, even the best PS5 accessories have their faults, so it's good to know how to fix them.

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.

1. Make sure the controller is completely powered off.

2. Move the thumbsticks so that they are pushed to the side.

3. 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).

4. 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.

If this fixes your problem, then great! It's time to get back to playing games that take advantage of the DualSense haptic feedback and adaptive trigger functionality. If that's not it, there's a few more things you can do.

(Image credit: Jennifer Locke/ Android Central)

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 your 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 if you don't want to buy a new controller, then 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.

1. Using opening tools or something with a flat edge, pry the black panel off the face of the controller.

2. Once loosened enough, it should pop off.

(Image credit: Jennifer Locke / Android Central)

3. Using another thin object, remove the right and left bumpers (L1 and R1).

4. Unscrew the four screws beneath the bumpers on either side and at the bottom of the grips, where you removed the black face plate.

5. Take your opening tool or flat edge and pry the shell apart at the seams.

(Image credit: Jennifer Locke / Android Central)

6. On the bottom of the controller, push out the two clips holding the casing together (next to the 3.5mm jack).

7. 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.

1. Test the USB-C cable with another device to ensure that the cable is working.

2. If it's working, try clearing the port of any dust by blowing into it.

3. Plug the cable into your DualSense and make sure that the connection is tight and secure.

4. 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

1. Plug the DualSense into your console with the USB-C cable.

2. Press the PS button on the controller to resync them.

This will usually fix the problem. If for some reason that doesn't work, you may need to reset your controller.

1. Locate the reset button on the back of the controller, to the right of Sony's name., not below it.

(Image credit: Jennifer Locke / Android Central)

2. Using a paperclip, press and hold down the button inside for 3-5 seconds.

3. Connect your controller to your PS5 using a USB-C cable.

4. 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, although fortunately the current state of PS5 restocks is far better than the months after the console was first released.

If you haven't upgraded — or you just want to connect an older controller to play some backward compatible titles on your PS5 — and you find you're having trouble with your DualShock controller, we also have a handy guide on fixing common PS4 controller issues. We hope this solves or at least alleviates some of your problems!

Jennifer Locke
Games Editor - PlayStation, Android, VR

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.

With contributions from