Inside Out: The Step-By-Step on How To Fix Stick Drift Xbox One

Published: 9 October 2023Updated: 11 January 2024

Xbox Controller Drifting has become a prevalent issue among gamers, causing frustration and hindering the gaming experience. This phenomenon refers to the unintended movement of the controller’s thumbsticks, even when not being touched by the user. It can lead to erratic gameplay, lack of control, and an overall unsatisfying gaming session. Understanding the causes of this problem and learning how to fix it quickly is essential for avid players. Controller drift may occur due to various factors, including wear and tear on the thumbstick pads or damage to the internal sensor responsible for detecting movement. These issues can arise from extended use or accidental mishandling of the controller. Fortunately, there are several methods available to address this problem effectively. The article will explore techniques on how to fix stick drift Xbox One. Additionally, preventative measures that players can take to avoid future instances of controller drift will also be discussed.

gamer using controller

What Is Xbox One Stick Drift?

Xbox stick drift refers to the issue where the analog stick on an Xbox controller moves unintentionally or inaccurately, causing frustration for users. This problem, also known as Xbox controller drift, stick drift, analog stick drift, or Xbox One controller drift, can occur due to various reasons such as wear and tear of the controller over time or poor calibration. It manifests in the form of the analog stick moving by itself even when not being touched or failing to register movements accurately. Xbox stick drift can significantly impact gameplay experiences by causing characters to move involuntarily or affecting aim accuracy in shooting games.

Causes of Controller Drift

Here are the causes of the Xbox One Controller Drift:

Potentiometer Issues

The potentiometer is a variable resistor that measures the position of the analog stick. It does this by changing its resistance as the stick moves. Over time, the potentiometer can wear out, leading to inaccurate readings. This wear can occur due to friction between the moving parts or the accumulation of debris.

Accumulation of Dust and Debris

Dust, dirt, and other particles can enter the controller through small openings and settle on the potentiometer’s components. This accumulation can interfere with the smooth movement of the analog stick and cause erratic behavior.

Wear and Tear

Game controllers, especially those that see a lot of use, can experience general wear and tear. This wear affects not only the potentiometer but also other internal components such as the thumbstick mechanism, buttons, and circuitry. As these components degrade, they can contribute to stick drift problems.

How To Fix Xbox Controller Drift Issues

Here are some of the methods that can help you fix controller drift:

1. Troubleshooting

You can try troubleshooting and potentially fix Xbox controller drift by following these steps:

Recalibrate the Controller

Go to the Xbox settings menu and select “Devices & connections,” then “Accessories.” Choose the controller in question and select “Configure.” Follow the on-screen instructions to recalibrate the analog sticks.

Update the Controller Firmware

Ensure that your controller’s firmware is up to date. Connect the controller to your Xbox or a PC and check for available updates through the Xbox Accessories app or the Xbox website.

Clean the Controller

Use compressed air to blow out any debris or dust around the analog sticks. Be gentle to avoid damaging the controller further.

Check for Physical Damage

Inspect the controller for physical damage, such as a cracked shell or loose components. If you find any, you may need to replace or repair the affected parts.

Test with a Different Game

Sometimes, controller drift may seem game-specific. Test the controller with different games to see if the issue persists across all titles. If it’s isolated to a single game, it may be a software issue within that game.

Restart the Xbox One Controller

Here’s how to do it:

  • Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the guide
  • Scroll to the right to the “System” tab
  • Select “Settings” (the gear-shaped icon)
  • In the “Settings” menu, select “Restart console”
  • A confirmation screen will appear; choose “Yes” to confirm the restart.

After the console restarts, reconnect your controller and check if the drift issue persists. Sometimes, a simple restart can resolve minor software-related problems that may be causing the drift.

2. Disassembling Your Controller


Disassembling the Xbox controller is a necessary step in addressing and resolving the issue of joystick drift. When experiencing drifting issues, taking apart the gaming controller allows for a closer examination of the internal components such as the joystick module and circuit board. This process enables individuals to identify any loose connections, damaged parts, or debris that may be causing the problem. By carefully disassembling the Xbox controller, users can access these components and undertake appropriate measures to fix them, ensuring a fast resolution to the drifting issue.

Here is how you can disassemble your controller:

  1. Remove any batteries or power sources from the controller
  2. Carefully remove any visible screws on the controller’s casing using a compatible screwdriver
  3. Gently pry open the controller’s casing, starting at the seams, using a plastic opening tool or your fingers
  4. Take apart the controller’s components, being mindful of any ribbon cables or connectors

Repair Worn Thumbstick Pads

Repairing worn thumbstick pads involves replacing the worn-out rubber grips on the thumbsticks to restore their functionality and prevent further deterioration.

To fix Xbox One controller drift issues, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the worn thumbstick pads by gently prying them off with a flathead screwdriver or a plastic opening tool. Be careful not to damage the underlying components.
  2. Clean the exposed area using isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab to remove any dirt or residue that may have accumulated over time.
  3. Attach new thumbstick pads onto the controller by aligning them correctly and pressing firmly until they are securely in place.

Fix the Thumbstick Sensor

Here is how you can fix the thumbstick Sensor:

  1. Remove the green plastic covers on the sides
  2. Extract the sensors
  3. Replace with new sensors or compatible ones
  4. Reattach the green plastic covers securely
  5. Test the thumbstick
  6. Reassemble the controller and conduct a test run

Replace the Thumbstick Module

Replacing the thumbstick module can be a viable solution for resolving stick drift issues on Xbox One controllers (click to here know how to clean Xbox One fan). The thumbstick module is responsible for translating physical movements into digital inputs, and when it becomes worn out or damaged, it can cause the controller to register unintended movements or drift. By replacing this component, users can eliminate stick drift and ensure precise control over their gameplay.

Here is how to do it:

  1. Locate the thumbstick module to be replaced
  2. Disconnect the ribbon cable or wires attached to the module
  3. Carefully remove the old thumbstick module
  4. Insert the new thumbstick module in its place
  5. Reconnect the ribbon cable or wires to the new module
  6. Reassemble the controller housing
  7. Test the replacement thumbstick for functionality
  8. Ensure all screws and components are securely fastened

How To Prevent Controller Drift

Here are some steps you can take to prevent controller drift and potentially prolong the life of your gaming controller:

Handle Your Controller With Care

Avoid dropping or throwing your controller, as physical damage can contribute to drift issues.

Clean Your Controller Regularly

Dirt, dust, and debris can get inside the controller and interfere with its functioning. Use compressed air or a can of compressed air to blow out any particles that might be causing problems.

Wash Your Hands Before Gaming

Oils and dirt from your hands can transfer onto the controller, potentially causing drift. Washing your hands before gaming can help prevent this.

Use a Controller Skin or Grip

Adding a silicone skin or grip to your controller can help protect it from dirt and oils from your hands. It can also provide a more comfortable grip.

Store Your Controller Properly

When you’re not using your controller, store it in a clean and dust-free area. Avoid leaving it in places where it can get bumped or crushed.

The Impact of Controller Drift

Controller drift can have a significant impact on your gaming experience and, in some cases, even affect your overall enjoyment of gaming.

Here are some of the key impacts of controller drift:

Inaccurate Gameplay

The most immediate and noticeable impact of controller drift is that it makes your gameplay less accurate. When the analog sticks register movement even when you’re not touching them, it can lead to characters or in-game objects moving unintentionally.

Frustration and Disruption

Controller drift can be incredibly frustrating, especially in competitive or fast-paced games. It disrupts your ability to control your character or perform precise actions, leading to moments of frustration and annoyance.

Reduced Performance

In games that require precise aiming or movement, such as first-person shooters, sports simulations, or racing games, controller drift can significantly reduce your performance. It may result in missed shots, slow reaction times, or poor maneuverability.

Difficulty in Menu Navigation

Controller drift isn’t limited to gameplay; it can also affect menu navigation. Navigating through menus and selecting options can become cumbersome and time-consuming when your controller is registering unintended inputs.

Shortened Controller Lifespan

If left unaddressed, controller drift can accelerate the wear and tear on your controller. The constant strain on the analog sticks and other internal components can lead to more significant and irreparable damage over time, potentially shortening the lifespan of your controller

Person Holding Black Xbox Controller

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take To Fix the Xbox Controller Drift?

The time required to fix Xbox controller drift can vary depending on the specific issue and individual circumstances. It is recommended to contact customer support or consult online resources for troubleshooting steps and potential repair options.

Can I Fix the Xbox Controller Drift Without Disassembling the Controller?

While there are temporary methods to alleviate Xbox controller drift, such as recalibrating the controller through the console settings or using compressed air to blow debris from around the analog sticks, a permanent fix typically requires disassembling the controller and addressing internal components or contacting Microsoft support for a potential replacement.

Is Controller Drift Covered Under Warranty?

Controller drift may or may not be covered under warranty depending on the specific terms and conditions of the manufacturer. It is recommended to consult the warranty documentation or contact customer support for accurate information regarding coverage.


Controller drift can have a significant impact on gaming experiences, causing frustration and hindering gameplay. However, with the right knowledge and tools, players can address this issue effectively. By understanding the causes of controller drift and utilizing appropriate repair techniques or preventive measures, gamers can ensure that their Xbox controllers remain in optimal condition for an enhanced gaming experience.

Nial Setterfield


Product Information Only

This website and its content (including links to other websites) are presented in general form and are provided for informational purposes only. does not sell any products on this site and, to the maximum extent permitted by law, excludes all liability and makes no warranties or representations that the products written about on this site are fit for any particular purpose, or are suitable for any particular use or by any particular person. is not responsible for the practices of owners of other websites and makes no representations or warranties about the products available for sale on those other sites.

Please check product content information carefully before purchasing any product on another site via a link provided on this site or otherwise.