How to fix common PS5 controller issues

by Joseph K. Clark

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 most significant issues plaguing the DualSense is thumbstick drift, and some people have other issues, including 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 challenging problem to fix because the best method would be to take apart the entire controller and replace the offending parts, and not everyone is equipped to do that. 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.

PS5 controller

  1. Move the thumbsticks so that they are pushed to the side.
  2. 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 fantastic and concerning how easy strands of fur can make their way in there).
  3. 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 thumbstick or tilt the compressed air sideways. Hold the can straight up as it would sit on a surface. If you list the can, you risk blowing moisture into the controller.

What to do if your PS5 controller won’t hold a charge

Unfortunately, if your DualSense isn’t holding a charge, you may need a new battery. It’s not 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 a similar one. Unfortunately, we haven’t found any online that are guaranteed to be compatible. If you think sending it to Sony to fix under warranty would be easier, you should do that first.

  1. Pray the black panel of the controller’s face using opening tools or something with a flat edge. Once loosened enough, it should pop off.
  2. Using another thin object, remove the right and left bumpers (L1 and R1).
  3. Unscrew the four screws beneath the bumpers on either side and at the bottom of the grips, where you removed the black faceplate.
  4. Take your opening tool or flat edge and pry the shell apart at the seams.
  5. On the bottom of the controller, push out the two clips holding the casing together (next to the 3.5mm jack).
  6. 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 USB-C port if your DualSense isn’t demanding.

  1. Test the USB-C cable with another device to ensure the line works.
  2. If it’s working, try clearing the port of any dust by blowing it into it.
  3. Plug to cable into your DualSense and ensure a tight and secure connection.
  4. Shine a flashlight into the charging port to ensure 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. If 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.
  2. Press and hold down the button inside for 3-5 seconds using a paperclip.
  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 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!


PS5 DualSense

YAn old DualShock controller won’t work on PS5 games. 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. You’ll want to pick up a new one if yours breaks. We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.

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