What to do if your Nintendo Switch Joy-Con are losing connection

3 min read


I’ve spent much of the weekend getting to grips (and falling in love) with Nintendo’s newest hybrid handheld/home console, the Switch. It promises that you’ll be able to take the games you’d play at home, and play them on the go in all their splendour – and in that regard it delivers.

This weekend saw me carting the thing around, getting my fix of the incredible Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the go. Y’know – when I wasn’t lying in bed playing, because getting out of bed is for suckers. On the odd occasion, I even docked the system – playing it as a traditional console. And that’s where I ran in to a few problems.

Yes, like many others, I’ve run in to the issue where my left Joy-Con loses connection, making control erratic for a second or two. I may have figured out why. My Switch dock is about a hand’s distance away from my Wi-Fi router – and that could be causing the problem. Nintendo’s aware of the connectivity issues, and has dispensed a bit of sage wisdom on how to get around them.

Other appliances, like microwaves, wireless equipment or even speakers could be causing the connection drops, so Nintendo suggests moving your Switch dock just over a metre away from everything else that may interfere with its 2.4GHz signal.

“In most cases it will be enough to move these devices three-to-four feet away from the Nintendo Switch console and/or Joy-Con controllers,” Nintendo said. “However, if you continue to experience this issue, please power these devices off while using the Nintendo Switch console.”

Nintendo also suggests keeping the system far from aquariums, because your fish will get jealous. And also because the water has a horrible habit of absorbing all those necessary wireless signals.

To sum:

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Ensure that the Nintendo Switch console is placed to minimize interference with the Joy-Con. It is best if the Nintendo Switch console is placed out in the open and that it is not:

  • Behind a TV
  • Near an aquarium
  • Placed in or under a metal object
  • Pressed against a large amount of wires and cords
  • Within three to four feet of another wireless device, such as a wireless speaker or a wireless access point.

Check for possible sources of interference and turn them off. Interference can be caused by devices, such as:

  • Laptops, tablets, etc.
  • Wireless headsets
  • Wireless printers
  • Microwaves
  • Wireless speakers
  • Cordless phones
  • USB 3.0-compatible devices such as hard drives, thumb drives, LAN adapters, etc.


Last Updated: March 6, 2017

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • I hope this can be fixed with a simple update.

    • MonsterCheddar

      How? Its a hardware problem.

    • It’s a much smaller problem than it’s being made out to be, to be honest. I have since moved the dock to the other side of my Tv – and voila, no problem

      • Good to hear. The FOMO fight continues then for me… xD

        • I am seriously, seriously impressed with the Switch. It definitely has a few glaring flaws, but it absolutely delivers on its core promises.

    • HvR

      Nope, but except for microwave 30cm to 50cm should more than enough

  • MonsterCheddar

    O.o Great start……

  • So basically goto the desert if you want to play

  • MonsterCheddar

    Luckily this console isn’t even on my “might one day buy” list.

    • Same here, even when I heard of the switch, I decided for the 3ds

  • Captain JJ

    Feet as measurement? What year is it? 😛

    • MonsterCheddar

      Americans and some other countries still use the Imperial system.

      I LOL’d while typing this

  • Original Heretic

    If you have space in your home, then this isn’t a problem.

    But what about some guy living in a little bachelor pad? I speak from experience, having lived in a tiny place many, many years ago.

    This seems like something Nintendo needs to get fixed up. You can’t expect people to turn off all their appliances every time they want to game.

    • HvR

      Sweet buggerall they can do.

      Inherent problem of using 2.4GHz with small form antennas

      • Original Heretic

        So basically, for fix the issue, they’d have to change the frequency for later consoles produced?

        • HvR

          433MHz and 2.4GHz is the only short range device comms bands open in all countries. And 433 is even worse in regards to noise since every single RF remote is in that band and the device ranges are much longer. So now instead of your rotuer being the problem it is your 4 neighbours open their garage doors or locking their cars.

          The only other ISM bands you can use the sub 1Ghz bands but they differ from region to region.
          America use the full 915MHz band, most of Asia use the top half of the 915Mhz band and Africa dn Europe use the 868MHz band. So that means a console for each region ie hardware region locking.

          They can probably minimize the problem with some with better frequency hopping and interference detection but these normally come at battery life cost and that will not help if the small antenna gets completely saturated standing right next the router.

          • Original Heretic

            Sounds like quite the conundrum Nintendo has on their hands. Region locking might be the only viable option to go to completely eliminate the problem, but if they do that, we can expect an outcry of No Mans Sky proportions.

  • Ir0nseraph

    Well Zelda seem to be good and Mario on the way, so I will have a look for a Switch on special next year, at the moment not worth it for me.

  • Sock-puppet

    This is by far the sneakiest way I have ever seen a console maker get their console to be at the front of all the TV room clutter.

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