Nintendo Advises Switch Owners With Joy-Con Connectivity Issues To Avoid Bundles Of Wires, Aquariums

In its first detailed acknowledgment of connectivity issues that some gamers are having with its new console's Joy-Con controllers, Nintendo has offered suggestions — some of them incredible — about how to alleviate the problem.

Nintendo advises that people don't put the Switch behind a TV, near an aquarium or "within three to four feet of another wireless device, such as a wireless speaker or a wireless access point."

The advice appears on a new page on Nintendo's support site entitled: "Joy-Con Not Responding Or Responding Incorrectly When Used Wirelessly."

The page describes the exact kind of problems that some Kotaku staffers and other members of the games media have been reporting about the Joy-Con for the last week:

When using the Joy-Con controllers wirelessly, the characters seem to move on their own or do not respond correctly.

When used wirelessly, the Joy-Con controllers respond intermittently.

The Joy-Con controller appears to lose connection with the console.

Kotaku staffers had this issue when playing The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild while using the Joy-Cons in TV mode — separated from the base console — and while sitting either somewhat far from the console or in a manner in which the console and the controllers were obstructed from each other.

The remedies? While some have wondered if Nintendo could improve the wireless signal in the controllers, the company is currently suggesting that the Switch simply be placed

Ensure your console has the latest system update.

Ensure the Joy-Con controllers are charged. How to

Try to decrease the distance between the Joy-Con and the Nintendo Switch console.

Ensure that the Nintendo Switch console is placed to minimise 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:

  • Cell phones, 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.

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. However, if you continue to experience this issue, please power these devices off while using the Nintendo Switch console.

It is still unclear if this issue affects all Nintendo Switch units or just some. We've seen discussion on social media by people who've run into the issue. Others say they have not.

When we asked Nintendo for an update about the problem earlier today, they provided the following statement:

"We have received some reports and are looking into them. As with all Nintendo video game systems, we will continue to monitor the performance of Nintendo Switch hardware and software, and make improvements when necessary. For help with any hardware or software related questions, visit"


    Nintendo is joking right? How can a device in today's wireless age been so sensitive to disruption that a cup of water could potentially cause the system to not function correctly?

      I don't see 'cup of water' listed.

      You're joking right? Have you ever used a bluetooth device? Unlike many other frequencies used, Bluetooth is a more limited range but higher bandwidth signal. Water can distort the signal, as with all broadcast frequencies, and some are more prone to issues with signal passing through water than others. In this day and age, this happens all the time with wireless devices.

        Bluetooth is not higher bandwidth, it's just about the lowest bandwidth protocol available. The only advantage of Bluetooth is power consumption.

        Obstructions aren't a new thing that lounge rooms have only just appeared since the launch of the Switch, there have been multiple generations of wireless console controllers to draw expertise from. Choosing the right technology for the job is pretty important because you can't hotfix your choice of hardware.

      Completely unacceptable really. Considering the range and stability of other console's controllers in this generation.

        Most people having issues have said they also have some issues with PS4 controllers.

          I dont have issue's with my ps4 controller when i put it behind a glass of freaking water

          Walked into the kitchen, 5 meters from the PS4 last night, with my controller, behind a wall. Despite some issues caused by the wall being between the console and the controller, it was still picking up a signal and the crossbar still reacted?

            My PS4 problems are quite sporadic in nature. I'd only get an issue for a couple of seconds every 10-20 hours of use. My PS4 controller also works from 8 metres away through a brick wall and a closed door.

              Full metal frame house here, with excessive cabling running down through the wall etc etc blah blah so I figured that put a dent in the bluetooth signal from the controller. The crossbar worked, it just got a tiny bit of lag from what I could see in the reflection in the window to the loungeroom.

      Aquarium, not fish bowl. Have you seen the gear aquariums have? Enough to interfere.
      Many people have a lot of WiFi and Bluetooth devices on all the time, especially their phones with both on in their pockets near the joycons.

        I think people are so eager to rubbish Nintendo that they are altering the facts to suit them.
        In this case Aquarium = glass of water.

          It's Nintendo themselves that released this statement, not other people. I find it amusing personally, but in time they'll revise the hardware, or through patches to work better no doubt, but in the meantime you should really stop trying to twist things to suit a false narrative.

            Yes, I know that. I'm just going by gabbertron and a few others were saying about a glass of water. At no point did Nintendo say anything about a glass of water. Not sure how I'm changing it to suit me =/

          Meanwhile, some people are so eager to defend Nintendo that they'll go around reaching for any explanation in order to defend them.

          Stories along the lines of, "Well I once had X device cut out due to Y, so its probably just that. No big deal." don't just automatically absolve Nintendo of blame.

          One could actually argue that quality hardware simply wouldn't have issues that require a warning list that basically reads, "This console might not work properly if you put it anywhere you might have put every other console made in the history of mankind."

          In this day and age it's absolutely ridiculous if your brand new hardware isn't capable of operating around phones, USB drives, etc.

          Last edited 05/03/17 12:42 pm

            If you're talking about my solar panel comment. It was supposed to be that loads of things stuff up.
            I then went on to say that the Joycons should work and that hopefully Nintendo will replace them, as annoying as it is.

        We've had an aquarium. It had a filter. That's about it. Most aquariums use a filter, possibly an oxygenation strip or pump for the water. The fact is, this is pretty poor on Nintendos part, considering you can have all this gear going and it won't affect your PS4, Xbox One, Wii or Wii U (We've all of this stuff, or have owned, in a house that has all of this stuff or has had in the past, with no issues).

        Last edited 05/03/17 12:12 pm

          I knew a person whose wifi would cut out when his sister was having a shower. Because the bathroom was between the router and the friends room, when the shower was on he had no internet. Perhaps this is something like that.

    "don't put this home console near your tv" goddamn

      They said behind, which seems pretty freaking reasonable to me. At no point did they say "don't put it near your tv"

        My TV is a smart TV, aka, a wireless access point. As is my Xbox One, my Steam link, and my phone is always nearby.

          I have a similar yet inverse problem. I got similar gear, but its all wired. Problem is its wired into my primary Wifi AP which sits behind the tv, about a foot away from where I initially had the Switch. Had to move the Switch out from a shelf so it's off to the side of the TV, which also makes it easier to dock. Still feels a little laggy/ghost inputty at times but it hasn't dropped out since I moved it.

          I guess it would depend on if the joycons would work for you then.

    They focused on getting the "gimick' form over function right, Now it's in the wild & experiencing issues, Unless you have a cement bunker with nothing but a tv, It's probably best to avoid the Switch for now atleast.

    Wait.. What you can't have it near a USB thumb drive lol wat? Seriously Nintendo your a joke

      Death by a thousand devices that cause interference.
      USB drive that broken the joycons back...

      I guess that's why there's no external hdd support for the dock.

    "Please do not use your Joycons in the 21st century..."

    This is Nintendo's version of Apples "You're holding it wrong" lol

    Last edited 05/03/17 12:06 pm

    My solar panel reporter suffered from the same issues and it is wired.
    Yes, it's annoying. Yes, they should work perfectly, but there will always be issues.
    Sometimes those issues are the joycons themselves, and other times, it could be outside interference. Sounds to me that if they still don't work after following this list, the Nintendo will help the afflicted person. This is an assumption on my part, but it would make no sense not to do so.

      My solar panel reporter suffered from the same issues and it is wired.

      If it's wired, it's automatically not the same issue as it's not using a wireless signal but using wires to transfer the signal between the hardware and the reporter, sorry.

      Last edited 05/03/17 12:16 pm

        They said electronic devices were causing interference and preventing the signal from getting through. Sounds fairly similar to me

          Once physical wiring enters the situation, it's automatically *not* the same thing unfortunately as a wireless signal transferring the information is not part of the equation. If your reporter wasn't working that route of wiring, you have the option to get extra wire and reroute a different way through the house (we've done this for our weatherstation in our house as interference from being too near other cabling has been a factor in the past), you can't exact say to your Switch "Aye, you, wireless signal, ping off out the window and come back through the back door can ye?"

            Ah sorry. I stand corrected then. I wonder if a wired component would help in this case for the joycons then.

    They need to sort out interference from "Cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc.
    Wireless headsets" SOON. Because after all they've stated that to use online chat you'll need the app on your phone !!

    Explains with the HDMI cable is 5 ft.

      It's 5ft because the Wii U cable was 5ft :P Exact same cable for both, except this one's black - in fact it's still coded WUP-008 as a Wii U accessory (Switch accessories are HAC-###).

      What bugs me most is that the whole power cable for this is barely the length of the Wii U's between the brick and the powerpoint - nearly half the total length from powerpoint to console.

    What that list boils down to is : dont deliberately have your switch in places that will hurt its wireless range.

    Maybe a high-gain mode for the controllers buried in options with MASSIVE warnings about battery life could be added :P (people would still whine about the lower battery life though)

    My own personal issue with the switch is that the docks cables come out of the wrong side for my cabinet setup to keep it neat and tidy :P

    Powered down my phone, tablet, Ps4 and Xbox. I've sold my fish. I'm eating my pizza pocket frozen. Am I ready to play Zelda now?

      No, you must also power off your smart television and wireless router.

      Are you naked, standing on one leg, doing the 'tuck', smeared in nutella to dampen the wifi around you, singing acapella the star wars theme, while wearing a Mario hat, having wrapped everything in tinfoil and painting your walls shiny new gold?

      Only then are you ready...

        Have a few filling. Booked in to have my teeth removed, then it will be time to play Zelda.

    My house is a wireless minefield, two routers, 4 phones, PS4, 360, Wii-U, wireless controllers and rockbound setup.
    The switch has zero issues at my place, the PS4 controllers have issues occasionally and the remote for my amp plays up a lot. But so far, the switch is solid.
    There is a lot of hyperbole in this thread, an aquarium is very different to a glass of water, and some aquarium pumps put out a shitload of RF noise.
    The only thing that kills connections in my house is the microwave, if the kids make popcorn, the PS4 controllers stop working and the internet gets flaky.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now