Most people that uses the Nintendo switch never knew it can perform a whole lot of functions in addition to the ones they already know. I have a list of what you can do with a Nintendo switch to make life easier and much fun for you.
Track How Long you’ve Been Playing:
When you first boot up your Nintendo switch, you won’t be able to see how many hours you’ve spent exploring Hyrule, the New Donk City, Inkopolis, and all of the other worlds you can access with Nintendo’s latest device. Be patient. After using the system for 10 days, you’ll unlock the Activity Log, which keeps track of how long you’ve been playing each and every game on your console.
It’s not a perfect system, however. While the timer is getting more and more specific, if you want to see how much time you’ve invested into a game, you’ll have to deal with a rough estimate and not a down-to-the-second total. To get around that, some have linked their Switch to Nintendo’s Parental Controls app (hopefully using the delightful instructional video), which catalogs exactly how much time users spend on the Nintendo switch every day and which games they’ve played. You can’t break that number down by individual game, however, so there’s still some guesswork involved.
Ultimately, maybe the amount of time you’ve been playing should remain a mystery. After all, do you really want to know how much time you wasted trying to track down that last Power Moon? Yeah, maybe not.
Skip the User Select Screen:
If you have multiple people playing on a single Nintendo switch console, the User Selection screen is very, very important. Yes, selecting a new profile every time that you boot up a game can be a hassle, but it’s the only way to keep your Breath of the Wild save safe. With a separate user profile, the members of your family can start their own adventures, making your precious save files yours and yours alone.
But if you’re the only person who uses your Nintendo switch, it’s an extra and completely unnecessary step. Thankfully, you can turn it off, although it’s easy to miss the option unless, ironically, you’re managing multiple accounts. Go to System Settings, then Users, and toggle Skip Selection Screen to “on.” That’ll save you a couple of button presses the next time you start up a new Switch app—just make sure to turn the selection screen back on if someone wants to start a new game. Your saved games are precious, and you don’t want anyone mucking ’em up.
Accept User-Made Nicknames:
Not only can you change nickname that graces your Nintendo switch profile, adding some personal flair to those Splatoon 2 match-up screens, but you can also rename the console itself. Open the System Settings, choose System, and then select the Console Nickname option. There, you can change the Switch’s nickname to whatever you want. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, Switch owners on Reddit have a few recommendations.
Changing the Switch’s nickname doesn’t really do much, although it’ll help your console stand out from the crowd when you and your Nintendo-crazy buddies get together for a multi-Switch gaming party. Still, it’s your hardware. Give it a personal touch.
Locate Lost Joy-Cons
Nintendo’s Joy-Cons are great little controllers. They’re surprisingly versatile, have better rumble functionality than any other controller, and handle motion controls surprisingly well.
They’re also tiny. You probably won’t misplace your Joy-Cons while playing the Switch in handheld mode, but if you’ve detached the Joy-Cons from their harness—which is the best way to play motion-control enhanced games like Super Mario Odyssey—you’ll probably end up misplacing them. It’s not your fault, of course. The small devices are the perfect size for getting lost between couch cushions and for disappearing underneath the stack of papers on your desk.
Nintendo knows this, and the Switch comes with a built-in solution. Choose Controllers on the main menu, select Find Controllers, and then select the appropriate Joy-Con. Wherever it is, your lost peripheral will start buzzing, making it easier to hunt down and find. The longer you press the button, the harder the Joy-Con vibrates. It’s a handy feature, and if you’re wondering how you’ll navigate the menu if all your controllers have gone missing, don’t worry—in handheld mode, the Switch’s touch screen will let you move through the system just fine.
Of course, if you misplace the Switch console itself, you may have bigger problems to figure out.
Transfer Save Data between Switch Systems
This one comes with a big caveat: if your Nintendo switch is broken, you’re hosed. Nintendo got many things right with the Switch, but online infrastructure isn’t one of them, and there’s currently no way to back up your save files online. Nintendo knows that’s a problem, but right now, it doesn’t have an answer. In order to transfer data between two consoles, both need to work. If one doesn’t, you’re out of luck.
If you have two working consoles, however, you’re welcome to move data between them, ensuring that you’ll always have your saved games on your preferred device. You’ll need a user account linked to a global Nintendo Account on the source console, and space for a new user profile on the target machine. Once you’re set up, navigate to System Settings, then Users, and then Transfer Your User and Save Data on the source machine. Go through the prompts, and select “Source Console” where appropriate. Do the same thing on the target device, but choose “Target Console” instead. Now, sign in to your Nintendo account, hit the Transfer button when it appears, and wait.
Right now, this will only help if you somehow end up with two Nintendo switch consoles. If Nintendo’s 3DS line is any indication, however, Nintendo will introduce some new models at some point. When that happens, you’ll be able to upgrade without losing any progress.
Use Your Joy-Pads and Pro Controller on Your Phone and Pc
There’s nothing special about the wireless connection that links the Switch’s controllers to the console. It’s just Bluetooth. That means that you can use the Switch’s palm-sized Joy-Cons or its more traditional Pro Controller on your phone or computer. Pairing the devices is easy, too. Simply set up your machine to search for a new Bluetooth device, and then hold down the sync buttons on the controllers to link everything up.
However, not every game will recognize with the Joy-Cons and the Pro Controller right off of the bat, and on your Mac or PC you might need some extra software to get all of the buttons working. Additionally, your computer will recognize the dual Joy-Cons as two separate devices. That’s nice for split-screen multiplayer, but will make it hard to play games that require more than one Joy-Con’s worth of buttons. Finally, Apple is picky about third-party accessories, and the Switch’s controllers probably won’t work with your iPhone or iPad.
While this isn’t a catch-all solution, the Joy-Cons are great for retro titles and emulators, and Switch’s Pro Controller is one of the best gamepads ever made. Getting everything set up can be a hassle, but it’s absolutely worth it.
The Nintendo switch has a built-in web browser, but Nintendo won’t let you use it (supposedly, the browser is only there for logging into public Wi-Fi hotspots). That’s fine. These days, most people have phones, computers, tablets and—in worst case scenarios—other consoles that do web browsing just fine. If you need social media access on all of your devices, however, you can use your Switch to check Facebook, thanks to a minor and completely harmless loophole.
To reach the site, go into your profile’s user settings and click on the button to connect your console to your social media profiles. From there, you’ll be able to link off to the main Facebook site, where you can watch videos and check your news feed. The layout can get kind of funky—this isn’t a robust, well-tested, or even intentional feature—and clicking off-site links brings up error alerts. Still, if your phone is dead and you absolutely must read the latest political ramblings from confused relatives or see the newest photos of your friends’ kids, it’s not a terrible alternative.
Use an External Keyboard
Entering text with a gamepad sucks. It always has sucked, and it always will suck. That’s why the Nintendo switch gives you another option. Like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the Switch supports external USB keyboards, although they’ll only work when the console is docked with your television. Just plug the keyboard into the dock’s USB port and start typing. It’s not the most exciting feature, and the Switch doesn’t have any games that rely heavily on text-entry (not yet, anyway), but it’s there if you need it.
Use Wireless USB Headsets
Nintendo got a lot of things right with the Switch. Online multiplayer isn’t one of them. If you want to join friends for a few rounds of Splatoon 2, and if you want strategize using in-game voice chat—a standard feature on almost every other modern console—you need to do everything through an app on your phone. Add in a headset and an adapter (you want to hear the game itself while you talk, after all) and things get unwieldy very, very fast.
A solution might be on the way. Officially, Nintendo hasn’t said anything about streamlining its online service, but a system update that hit in late 2017 added support for wireless headsets. Journalists have tried a bunch of options, and almost all of them seem to function fine. That includes the regular old PlayStation 4 headset, which many gamers probably already have. Plug the wireless dongle into the Switch’s dock and it should just work. You’ll even be able to set change the headset’s volume using the Switch’s UI. You still can’t use chat your Switch friends without resorting to a tangle of wires and a stack of accessories, but a little bit of progress is better than nothing.
Read Micro SD Cards
This is a well-documented feature, but it’s also an incredibly useful one. The Nintendo switch comes with 32 gigabytes of internal memory. If that sounds like a lot, think again. Many Switch games consume over 20 gigs all by themselves. If you’re buying games digitally (which is a lot easier than lugging around a bag full of cartridges when you’re playing on the go), you’ll run out of storage pretty fast. Even if you stick with cartridges, online patches will slowly chip away at your free space until you’ve got nothing left.
Thankfully, you can use micro SD cards to cram a few more games on your system. According to Nintendo’s website, the Switch supports micro SD, micro SDHC, and micro SDXC formats, meaning that you can easily add up to 256 gigabytes of space to the console. You can also swap cards in and out. That means that as long as you’ve got a spare micro SD card or two lying around, you’ll always have the space that you need. Just make sure to keep everything well organized—most micro SD cards look more or less the same, and you don’t want to miss out on a great game because you can’t remember which card it’s installed on.
At launch, the Switch could only take still screenshots, but since then it’s gotten the ability to capture short videos, too. If you make an interesting find in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or pull off a surprise win in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you can immortalize the moment by holding down the Switch’s capture button, which will store the past half minute’s worth of gameplay to the console’s drive. From there, you can go into the Switch’s album and edit the clip before saving it to your micro SD card or posting it on Twitter or Facebook.
Of course, Nintendo being Nintendo, the Switch’s video capture isn’t perfect. The clips are only 30 seconds long, which is fine for social media but won’t work for longer YouTube videos, and every game needs to implement video capture on its own. The list of Switch games that support video capture is quickly growing, but not every title supports the feature. If you play games because of you like sharing your experience with others, choose wisely.
Download Games from International E-shops
Back in the old days, if you wanted to play a game that only came out in a foreign country, you’d have to mod your console and pay exorbitant fees to video game importers. Now, you can just change a few settings and download it. All you need is an extra email address and a little bit of patience.
To access the Japanese eShop from another territory—like North America, for example—simply create a brand new Nintendo account using a new email address, select “Japan” as your region, sign in, and shop away. The eShop interface will be in Japanese, but there are lots of pictures, and it shouldn’t be too hard to find what you’re looking for. After the game’s been downloaded, you can log back into your normal account and play away. If you end up with a cartridge from a different region, don’t worry. That’ll work too—the Switch isn’t region locked—but downloading games directly from the eShop is easier and cheaper than importing physical copies.
The Nintendo switch uses the console’s native language whenever it can, so if you’re playing a Japanese game with an English language option, your system should use that automatically. However, some of the biggest and best region-exclusive games, like including Monster Hunter XX, don’t have English menus or subtitles, so don’t throw that Japanese-to-English dictionary away quite yet. You never know when it’s going to end up being useful.