How to Calibrate a PS4 Controller (Complete Guide)

The PlayStation 4 controller is a pretty good one and arguably the best design Sony has created thus far. It has a lot of features, including motion controls and a speaker.

However, for as good as it is, sometimes you may experience difficulties with it. For example, the PS4 controller may become uncalibrated, causing stick drift. But how do you calibrate a PS4 controller?

How to Calibrate a PS4 Controller

One of the most frustrating issues with the PS4 controller is stick drift, although it is not a problem that exists only on the PS4.

For example, the Nintendo Switch has a bad track record with stick drift, with all models of Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons having had this problem reported.

It was even the subject of a class action lawsuit, which led to Nintendo offering to repair Switches and Joy-Cons that experience stick drifts for free, even if the repair is done outside of the warranty period.

Even the Microsoft Xbox controller is no stranger to stick drift.

Calibrate your PS4 Controller 

Ensure both console and controller are turned off.

  • Press and hold the L3 and R3 Buttons simultaneously for 30 seconds
  • Release the buttons after 30 seconds, then rotate both analog sticks clockwise five times
  • Then rotate them counterclockwise five times
  • Now press and hold the L3 and R3 buttons for 30 seconds one more time
  • Release the analog sticks after 30 seconds, and that’s it. Your controller’s analog sticks should now be re-calibrated.

Hard Reset your Controller

If the above methods still haven’t solved the issue, then next, you can try solving the problem by hard resting your controller. Turn off both your controller and your console.

Make sure they’re completely turned off and not in rest mode. Now using a paper clip, press the reset button located on the back of the controller; It can be found in the top right corner.

Clean the sticks

It’s possible that there is something around the analog sticks that are causing them to drift. If this is so, gently wiping this area with a dry microfiber cloth may be your best bet.

If it seems dirty, use a slightly damp q-tip to clean off gunk or grime. After that, wipe with a dry microfiber cloth to pick up any moisture left behind.

Unplug the PS4

This option is, thankfully, fairly simple, although make sure that the PS4 is first powered off before you do it. Otherwise, something could happen that corrupts your save or download data. Once unplugged, give it half a minute to fully power off, and then plug it back in. If this fixes the problem, the stick drift should no longer be present.

Remove or drain the battery from your PS4 controller

This method is a pretty simple one as well, though you will need certain tools to successfully remove the battery. For instance, you will require a Philips #00 screwdriver, as well as a pry tool to help the battery come loose.

If you do not want to go through the steps of removing the battery, however, you can simply drain the battery in its entirety. This will take longer depending on how much charge the PS4 controller currently has. To drain it most efficiently, you can change the setting to make the PS4 controller not turn off automatically.

To stop your PS4 controller from automatically turning off, go to Settings, and then select Power Saver Settings. You will see a setting to Set Time Until Controllers Turn Off.

Disable this feature, and your PS4 controller should be able to drain automatically. This feature is automatically disabled if your PS4 controller is currently plugged into the PS4 via USB, but the charging effect of plugging it into the USB port negates the purpose of disabling the feature.

Once the PS4 controller has been completely drained, you can then plug the controller back in to charge it. If you want to re-enable the automatic turn-off feature, just go back into the Power Saver Settings, and set the duration of time for the controller to turn off to whatever time you had it set previously.

Is stick drift a serious issue on a PS4 controller?

Stick drift is not something you want in any controller, as it makes any gameplay you attempt often fail, even if the stick drift is only slight. Basically, what happens is that the stick will be pointed, ever so slightly, in a certain direction. It’s so slight that you would likely not even notice when it happens. However, if you do the calibration process discussed above, if you are experiencing stick drift, you will see the stick indicator ‘jiggling’. When moving the stick during the calibration process, it may experience difficulty returning to the center.

This problem may affect your play experience more or less depending on the kind of input. For instance, a minor stick drift may not be problematic for menu navigation, but if you are playing something with precision, even something as small as that may ruin the experience.

Does stick drift affect both of the PS4 controller’s joysticks?

If you experience stick drift with one of your joysticks, you won’t necessarily have it happen with both sticks. This is because stick drift typically occurs due to hardware failure, not software failure.

Thus, one stick may work perfectly fine, while the other may be completely out of whack.

Does Sony offer free repairs for controller stick drift?

If none of the above methods work, it may be best to get in contact with Sony.

However, do they have a service that allows free repair of stick drift like Nintendo does? Well, the unfortunate news is that they do not. Thus, if you want to get the problem repaired, you will likely either have to pay Sony, or, if it is under warranty, have it repaired for free.

Steven Carr

Steven is a certified IT professional and gaming enthusiast. He has been working in the tech industry for over 10 years, and specializes in all things Tech-related. When he's not geeking out over the latest hardware or software release, he can be found testing out the latest video game.

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