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Introduction

Use this guide to replace the buckle lock in a Nintendo Switch Joy-Con with a metal one, or a new plastic one.

There are a few minor differences between the left and right Joy-Cons, but none that will affect the procedure. These steps apply to both Joy-Cons.

  1. Use a Tri-point Y00 driver to remove the four 6.3 mm-long screws from the back panel of the Joy-Con.
    • Use a Tri-point Y00 driver to remove the four 6.3 mm-long screws from the back panel of the Joy-Con.

  2. Insert an opening pick into the seam at the bottom edge of the controller (opposite the L and ZL buttons). Slowly slide the flat edge of your opening pick up the side of the Joy-Con. Be careful not to slide the opening pick too far inside the Joy-Con. This may damage the inner components. The back panel loosens easily, so not much pressure is needed.
    • Insert an opening pick into the seam at the bottom edge of the controller (opposite the L and ZL buttons).

    • Slowly slide the flat edge of your opening pick up the side of the Joy-Con.

    • Be careful not to slide the opening pick too far inside the Joy-Con. This may damage the inner components. The back panel loosens easily, so not much pressure is needed.

  3. With the charging rail facing away from you, open the the Joy-Con like a book. Don’t try to fully remove the back panel. There are still two cables connecting the charging rail to the motherboard.
    • With the charging rail facing away from you, open the the Joy-Con like a book.

    • Don’t try to fully remove the back panel. There are still two cables connecting the charging rail to the motherboard.

  4. Use a Phillips #00 driver to remove the 2.5 mm screw securing the charging rail.
    • Use a Phillips #00 driver to remove the 2.5 mm screw securing the charging rail.

  5. Pull the back panel straight off of the charging rail to remove it. There's a chance the rail unlock button will fall out of the back panel. During reassembly, make sure it is installed correctly, with the tab on the button slotted into the notch in the back panel.
    • Pull the back panel straight off of the charging rail to remove it.

    • There's a chance the rail unlock button will fall out of the back panel. During reassembly, make sure it is installed correctly, with the tab on the button slotted into the notch in the back panel.

  6. Use a Phillips #00 driver to remove the screw securing the buckle lock retaining bracket.
    • Use a Phillips #00 driver to remove the screw securing the buckle lock retaining bracket.

  7. Slide one side of a pair of pointed tweezers under the flat part in the middle of the buckle lock bracket. Grasp the bracket with the tweezers and pull the bracket straight away from the charging rail to remove it. Grasp the bracket with the tweezers and pull the bracket straight away from the charging rail to remove it.
    • Slide one side of a pair of pointed tweezers under the flat part in the middle of the buckle lock bracket.

    • Grasp the bracket with the tweezers and pull the bracket straight away from the charging rail to remove it.

    This step takes some considerable force by the way.

    IkBenAnders - Reply

  8. Lift the buckle lock slightly out of its slot in the charging rail, just until the spring is exposed enough that you can grab it with tweezers. Grab the buckle lock such that the tweezers are around both sides of the lock and holding the spring inside the lock. When you pull the lock out, the spring can shoot out. Make sure you have a firm grip with the tweezers.
    • Lift the buckle lock slightly out of its slot in the charging rail, just until the spring is exposed enough that you can grab it with tweezers.

    • Grab the buckle lock such that the tweezers are around both sides of the lock and holding the spring inside the lock.

    • When you pull the lock out, the spring can shoot out. Make sure you have a firm grip with the tweezers.

    • Pull the buckle lock out of its slot in the charging rail.

    • During reassembly, make sure to move the spring from the old lock to the new one.

    Upon reassembly of the buckle lock make sure the notch on the back is facing downwards.

    Kallon Lewallen - Reply

    Dude, the shooting spring has to be a warning, PLEASE. I didn’t read the whole thing and it spring out once I lifted the buckle lock. I spent like 30 MINUTES finding it AND HAVING A MENTAL BREAKDOWN. I got so angry and once I found it it was AMAZING. So PLEASE AT ALL COSTS DO NOT LOSE IT PLEASE. I WAS GOING THROUGH THE STAGES OF GRIEF.

    Alexander Munoz Solis - Reply

    ALSO be careful when screwing because I stripped the screw meaning the head of a screw has worn out from not pushing down enough and screwing it back in which ruined the screw. So BE VERY VERY CAREFUL, be sure you know everything you’re doing because if you don’t it’ll MESS you up.

    Alexander Munoz Solis - Reply

    There used to be a photo and a procedure step showing the buckle lock orientation. Some important stuff got deleted here.

    Jim Nugent - Reply

    Unbedingt darauf achten den richtigen Metallsicherungsriegel zu benutzen!

    Es gibt einen für den rechten Joycon und einen für den linken!

    Am besten genau mit dem alten aus Plastik vergleichen

    Peter Ullrich - Reply

Conclusion

To reassemble your device, follow the above steps in reverse order.

Take your e-waste to an R2 or e-Stewards certified recycler.

Repair didn’t go as planned? Check out our Answers community for troubleshooting help.

84 other people completed this guide.

Adam O'Camb

Member since: 04/11/2015

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28 Comments

I tried to do this carefully, but I ended up removing the side rail ribbon cables and I had to disassemble the whole thing just to try to get to the inside of these babies. However it seems I messed up, and now I could use some help here. I don't want to lose my left Joy-Con.

Francisco Q. - Reply

It seems rather strange.. Its pretty easy to reattach. All I have is a $@$*!& ph00 + y00 that stripped the screws so I broke the cover. Technically not my fault. I have done multiple reshells.

[deleted] -

I tryed to do this but the 2nd at the bottom would not come out now my buckle is chiped

TAQI HASSAN - Reply

You mean the screws? Break off the shell! A perfect opportunity to put some clear ones :))

[deleted] -

I bought this kit of replacement metal buckles, and they work beautifully: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BDH...

This kit comes with four buckles, two for the left Joy Con, and two for the right. If you happen to have two sets (or plan to get a second set) of Joy Cons, a whopping $9.00 will set you up right.

I did have a bit of trouble replacing the metal cover that holds the buckle in place, but that was my own stupidity as I was trying to do this repair with insufficient light. Once I shed some light on the subject and I could see what I was doing, everything went back together smooth as silk. I replaced the buckles on both of my Joy Cons, and they’re both rock solid now.

itpurchasing - Reply

I just bent that and refitted it. Force INDEED works.

[deleted] -

i held the latch in one hand and gently pulled it out and the spring went flying! never found it again. just printed a shorter one with a pen spring.

Kobedie - Reply

I saw a recommendation to remove the latch while holding the controller inside a zip lock bag, i thought that was pretty clever :)

Martin Refseth -

Strange.. I did both and never had such issues. I just do this trick; first I cover the area, 2nd I remove the energy by when raising at pushing slowly grabbing back if you understand. Kinda hard to explain.

[deleted] -

pretty easy solution, don’t think it’s fixed the wobbly joycon issue much but I feel safer in the knowledge that these new buckles shouldn’t wear out as easily (if at all)

thegreatcraftings - Reply

It really shouldn’t. In my opinion, metal to metal is more prone to break, maybe the rail or the joycon, but yeah feels much sturdier. So worth it.

[deleted] -

Be careful with the small metal screw that attaches joycon shell to the black rail thingie - it’s very easy to damage the screw hole when reassembling the joycon by not properly aligning it with the shell.

Alexandr Oleynikov - Reply

Followed this guide. Was super easy. I replaced the locks in both my joycons in under 30 minutes.

NOTE: Often the metal locks come with some tools when you order them. IN my experience these are not high quality and can damage the screws. I recommend getting ifixit tools.

Gavin McFall - Reply

RIP my springs. IDK how you’re meant to take the latches out but I definitely didn’t do it right. Good thing Aliexpress sells replacements lol

UnicornsOnLSD - Reply

I bought a kit of metal buckles and put them in using this guide and it worked perfectly. Thanks! :)

Alex - Reply

If you drop your switch on the side the joycons would probably be the first thing to break… sooo by making a joycon component that makes contact with the console out of metal, wouldn’t that mean the mechanism in the console itself would break in case of a drop?

BadamAdam - Reply

That’s almost certainly why the JoyCon latches are plastic to begin with… they’re probably engineered to give way under extraordinary circumstances.

Jim Nugent -

I can tell you from experience the joycons are sturdy enough to survive serious stresses. My granddaughter somehow managed to remove one by snapping off the mounting screws on the rails. Not easy to do, as the rails are mounted directly on the metal midframe. So I got the honor of pioneering the midframe replacement guide here.

Jerry Wheeler -

I also bought this kit of replacement metal buckles, and they work beautifully: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08HPD3Z46/ref...

This kit comes with four buckles, two for the left Joy Con, and two for the right. If you happen to have two sets (or plan to get a second set) of Joy Cons, a whopping price will set you up right.

Ray Rivera - Reply

So my joycon is loose, Should I buy a spring or just need to replace the buckle lock only?

yusuf afandi - Reply

If the button still goes in and out when pressed the spring should be fine. That said, if you see a good offer that includes both it never hurts to have spares since they are very easy to lose.

David R. -

I replaced the buckles in my joycons but now my left joycon slides off more easily (without pressing the button) than before? Can someone help me with this?

Rick Houtzager - Reply

Are you sure you’ve put the right buckle in? The buckles for each joycon are different and if you put in the wrong one, it’ll be hard to slot in but easy to remove (the opposite of what you want). It happened to me on my first repair lol

David R. -

Worked like a charm! Well, expect for that &!%& spring, which I almost lost twice. :)

Alfy B - Reply

I was able to do this easily, and it works great! However, I did have to do it twice because the first time I put in the wrong side of buckle. For other people like me who might forget that these things are different whether left or right, I think a big disclaimer at the beginning could help, something like “Make sure you are installing the correct side of buckle for your joycon” for example. Thanks for the guide!

David R. - Reply

Can the people who changed the original latches, to the metal ones, tell me if this repair ended up damaging the console, because it is no longer plastic? Thank you.

JELLERET - Reply

It does not damage the console. The metal latch only interfaces with the metal bars on the side of the screen, which are very robust.

Jim Nugent -

Echoing David R’s comment; I did the exact same thing. The buckles are sided, meaning one’s for the left side and the other’s for the right. Be sure you’ve got them in the correct position before you button it all up again or like me you’ll be disassembling them again so you can swap the buckles to their proper positions. Once they were on the correct sides, the controllers latch down nicely.

Jerry Wheeler - Reply

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