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How to Open a Joycon (With and Without a Screwdriver)

How to Open a Joycon (With and Without a Screwdriver)

You’ve been playing away at your Nintendo switch, and you realize you may have a problem on your hand. It might be a drifting issue or something wrong with the Joycon. To fix that, you need to open up the body – so how exactly is that done?

Taking apart a Joycon is a moderately easy process when using the correct screwdriver, such as a Tri-wing screwdriver and spudger. However, you can also take it apart with everyday household items such as butter knives, pliers, and even a hacksaw.

Each technique is variable and may have differing degrees of success depending on the available tools. To learn the step-by-step process of opening up your Joycon, keep reading this article. 

Opening A Joycon With A Screwdriver

Being unable to open up a Joycon can be incredibly frustrating. This kind of frustration is especially the case when issues within the casing impact Joycon’s functionality. Interestingly, a Joycon is one of the few gaming consoles that can are easy to open. In contrast, others are notoriously built to make at-home repairs impossible.

The most straightforward way to open up a Joycon is pretty simple. It would help if you had a tri-wing screwdriver and a spudger to get it open to at least the primary level. This screwdriver comes in handy because the screws used to seal off a Nintendo Joycon are tri-point screws. 

Using a Tri-wing screwdriver to open up a Joycon (Gavin Lane, Nintendo Life)

To open a Joycon, you need to get started using the screwdriver. Carefully take out each screw. Remember that these are small screws and are easy to lose in the heat of the moment. Always keep a tray, plate, or some form of a magnetized object nearby to keep the screws safe. 

After all, losing one of the screws can be highly detrimental to future gameplay, and the right size and kind of screw is hard to come by. Once the screws can be put aside (safely), you can use a spudger to pull apart the casing, which opens up the case of the Joycon. 

You will need specialized tools to go further into the Joycon, especially when moving items like the motherboard or the battery. Always make sure to carefully move such articles as they can damage the inner wiring of the device.

Opening A Joycon Without A Screwdriver

In some cases, you may not have the option to use a screwdriver or the right screwdriver on your Joycon. For example, damage may strip the screws, or you might not have a Tri-wing screwdriver available at home. While the recommended method is to use a screwdriver for this operation, some alternates are available.

Scoring Stripped Screws

Stripped screws can be a significant issue. A stripped screw occurs when there is damage to the point of contact between a screw and screwdriver. This is a common issue with the Nintendo Switch as it is vulnerable to everyday wear and tear. And, to deal with them quickly, you can try scoring them. 

Related: How Long Does Joycon Repair Take?

Scoring involved repeatedly scratching the surface in a line to create a new point of contact. You can use some other screwdriver to open up the Joycon. You can use items such as a flat screwdriver, a butter knife, or even a hacksaw to score a screw. However, since these screws are small and delicate, a gentler approach is better.

Using An Elastic Band

For some stripped screws, you can use another screwdriver and an elastic band and press it into the screw. This move can help create a bonding point between the two in certain situations, making removal much more manageable. 

Utilizing A Hex Key

You can also use a hex key to open up some screws. If the tip of the key can hold the inside of the screw, you can pull it out. This is especially beneficial in the cases of screws embedded in lowered indentations.

Drilling Through The Screws

Another approach that you can consider is to drill through the screws. While this process can work, it might take a long time to drill through completely. While you may not want to use a giant power drill, even a simple drilling action may weaken the contact between the body and the screws.

So how does this work? You first try and create a hole through the screw manually. Using left-handed screws, you can pull the screws out. So how does this work? The drill lodges into the top of the screw through the hole. 

Remove A Stripped Joy-Con Screw With Left Handed Bits (Show-Me Retro)

The drill works in reverse, meaning instead of pushing the screw in, you can pull it out. This mechanism will pull the screwdriver out. However, this process can damage the Joycon if not done delicately.

When Should I Open Up My Joycon?

Deciding to pull apart your Joycon is a huge decision. It should not at all be made lightly or on a whim. If you have recently purchased your Nintendo Switch, you may still have a warranty.

Before you attempt a DIY fix, it’s a good idea to look at your warranty options. Most common issues, such as jammed buttons and drifts, can be easily fixed by Nintendo service centers. Make sure to visit your nearest warranty and service center as a first option before attempting to fix the device yourself. Not doing so can affect your warranty, as it breaks the warranty seal provided by the company. 

It’s also important to understand that not every issue requires opening the Joycon. If you face problems with how your Joycon works, there are several alternative ways to tackle the situation.


Opening up a Joycon can be necessary to improve your Nintendo Switch’s function. To make this happen, you can use a screwdriver adapted to the tri-point screws or try other methods. These methods include household objects such as tweezers, knives, and more.

However, this process can damage your Joycon. If necessary, we recommend using the appropriate screwdriver so your device isn’t damaged. You can also check if you are still under warranty by going to a nearby Nintendo service center.