How To Fix Nintendo Switch Controller Won’t Turn On | 2020

When it comes to console gaming, controllers are the ones to usually break first, especially if you don’t care for them properly. While Joy-Con controllers are typically durable and can endure years of beating, they still can go down for a number of reasons. In this article, we’ll show you how to fix a Nintendo Switch controller that won’t turn on. 

What are the reasons why Nintendo Switch controller becomes unresponsive or not turning on?

Some users may notice that their Nintendo Switch may freeze or become unresponsive if used for too long. If such an event occurs infrequently, it may be due to a software error, which may go away on its own. The same thing can happen to the Joy-Cons. 

Just like a computer, your Switch controllers can encounter bugs that may lead to errors the system can’t resolve. If this happens, you simply have to restart the console and make sure that controllers are charged too. Controller power issues on the Nintendo Switch are typically not serious.

In some cases, a Nintendo Switch controller may have drained the battery to a certain level that it may refuse to start up right away. You may need to leave the device charging for several minutes in order to power up the system.


In more severe cases, bad hardware may be the underlying reason. If your Switch or its accompanying controllers are physically damaged or exposed to elements such as heat or water, they may not not turn on at all. In this situation, you may need to let a professional check the console and controllers to see if they can still be repaired.

In general, a Nintendo Switch controller that won’t turn on permanently is rare, unless there’s hardware failure such as a dead battery or a broken component.

How to fix a Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controller that won’t turn on

If your Nintendo Switch controller is not turning on, or if it seems to be regularly becoming unresponsive, you’ll need to perform some troubleshooting steps to know the cause. Below are the steps that you must do.

  1. Power cycle the charging adapter.

    If your Joy-Con controller won’t turn on or appears to be not charging at all, the first thing that you would like to do is to see if the charging accessories are working. Here’s what you must do:
    Unplug AC adapter from both ends for about a minute. This means disconnecting the power cable from the dock or console and from the wall outlet.
    -Once you’ve disconnected cable from the dock or console, do a quick visual check if there’s any visible signs of damage on the cable or dock. 
    If you’re only having an issue charging one controller, you can assume that your charging accessories are working fine. Proceed to the next solution if you are positive that the dock and AC adapter are all good.

  2. Disconnect and re-sync the Joy-Con controller.

    Once you’ve checked the charging accessories, don’t attempt to charge right away. Instead, you want to re-sync your Joy-Cons to the Nintendo Switch. This is an effective way to fix controller pairing issues. 
    Follow these steps to re-sync a Joy-Con controller to the Nintendo Switch:
    -Detach the Joy-Con controller from the console.
    -Press the SYNC button on the Joy-Con controller once. Check the image below to know where the sync button is. If you’re having troubles with the two controllers, resync both of them.

  3. Charge the console in Sleep Mode.

    If your Joy-Con controller is still not turning on or charging at this point, try to charge it while the console is on Sleep Mode. You can do this either by directly connecting the console to the AC adapter, or when it’s docked.

  4. Use a Joy-Con Charging Grip.

    If you have a Joy-Con Charging Grip, try using that to charge your controllers. Keep in mind that the regular Joy-Con pictured below has no USB port so it can’t be used to charge the controllers. If this is what you have, you may want to invest in a special Joy-Con Charging Grip as shown below.


    NOTE: Getting a new Joy-Con Charging Grip won’t guarantee that it will fix your Switch controller that won’t turn on. If you don't need the Charging Grip, don't invest in it. You may need to keep the money instead in getting a new controller in case there's a hardware problem with the one you have.

What to do if your Switch Joy-Con controller still won’t turn on or charge?

If the above solutions did not help at all, there may be a hardware problem with the controller/s involved. If there’s a nearby Nintendo store that you can get to, try to bring the accessories there to have them checked. Otherwise, consider sending them for repair or having them replaced.

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