GTA 5 Error Joining Session: How To Fix GTA Online Unable To Join Friends Session

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A plane flies over a bridge - GTA Online error joining session
Credit: Rockstar Games

If you are getting an error on GTA V Online when trying to join friends for a session, we can help with this pesky GTA 5 Error Joining Session problem.

Like the GTA 5 Script Hook V Critical Error, the GTA 5 Error Joining Session bug can also be frustrating. Especially after planning your latest bout of crime-related shenanigans. It's awful when those plans are immediately thrown into disarray when a key member of the crew can't get online.

But, like Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction, we're here to take care of everything, clean up the mess, and let you get back to whatever tomfoolery you and your friends were planning. We'll talk you through the best ways to fix this error. So let's get started.

How to fix GTA 5 Error Joining Session Online

There are a lot of general troubleshooting suggestions that may well resolve this Error Joining Session on GTA 5. There doesn't appear to be one, cast-iron solution that works for everyone, every time. This suggests that there may be a number of different reasons that players are experiencing this. But the most effective tips are as follows:

  • Restart your game.
  • Power cycle your console or computer.
  • Check for any outstanding updates, and make sure your device and your game are fully up-to-date.
  • Check your internet connection - test other devices, and other apps, and try to minimise the number of apps that are jostling for bandwidth. Restart your router if necessary.
  • As an extension to the above point, consider switching from WiFi to an Ethernet connection. A wired connection is almost always more stable than a wireless one.
  • Check the server status. You can do that by clicking this link. If the servers are down, then you'll need to wait for them to back up and running before trying again.
  • Having said this, you can try a VPN, in case a server issue is localised to your region.
  • Make sure that you don't have a firewall or antivirus blocking the game from working properly.
  • Try starting off in story mode, before switching to multiplayer.
GTA 5 error Joining Session GTA V error Joining Session
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More Fixes For GTA 5 Error Joining Session

More specific measures you can attempt include:

  • You can also try to get your friends to change lobbies, and see if each of them can send you an invite.
  • If you get a "Timed out locating session" error, try to enter Story Mode, and join your friend via the Social Club menu.

If nothing seems to be working, then you can consider submitting a support ticket to Rockstar support.

What causes GTA 5 Error Joining Session error?

Like so many errors, there doesn't appear to be a single, definitive cause for this. Different players report different solutions working for them, which may indicate that the problems don't all have the same underlying cause.

There does appear to be some correlation between this issue arising, and Rockstar releasing an update for the game. So while it isn't absolutely conclusive, that may indicate a coding problem, that gets fixed subsequently by another patch.

The good news is that in most cases, the fixes we outlined above help. And if not, quite often the issue disappears after a few hours, or within a couple of days in the worst cases. As frustrating as it may be, sometimes, waiting is the best, or only, option.


How To Join A Friends Session On GTA V

Now that you've overcome your joining error, you may want to join your friends in a session. After all, robbing a bank is much more fun with friends than with strangers.

You can invite friends to a session, or join their game. In either case, you'll need to pause the game. And because pausing the game doesn't stop the game, you are advised to do this somewhere safe, such as inside your apartment. Otherwise, someone could end up shooting you while you are minding your own business.

  • Once you've paused the game, navigate to the third tab, labelled Friends. There, you will see a list of any friends who are currently online. They will be highlighted blue.
  • Click on the friend who you wish to play with.
  • Depending on whether you are inviting them to join you, or vice versa, select the option to Send Game Invite or Join Game.

For more articles like this, take a look at our Gaming , GTA 5 , and How To pages.