Got your hands on a brand-new Nintendo Switch? We’ve got the tips, tricks, and solutions that you won’t want to miss.
There’s a lot to the new portable hybrid that isn’t immediately obvious, like the ability to access the Japanese eShop or lock down the console with the parental controls feature.
Spotted something we’ve missed? Let your fellow Switchers know in the comments following this post.
Access the Quick Menu
While doing anything on the Switch, you can press and hold the Home button to access a quick menu. From here, you can adjust screen brightness, toggle airplane mode, and put the system in sleep mode (the same as pressing the power button). This doesn’t pause the game, so make sure you’re not doing anything first.
There’s No Need to Turn It Off
This might seem like an obvious point, but your Switch is designed to be left on all the time just like a modern tablet or smartphone. Sleep mode is incredibly power efficient, with the console only dropping a few battery percent overnight based on personal experience.
That goes for games too. While it’s always good to save your game before you stop playing, you can also simply suspend the Switch while playing anything and return to it later. No need to return to the system menu or kill the software.
Note: If you do decide to turn the system off by holding the power button, you’ll also kill the currently-running game.
Don’t Cover the Air Vents
Many users seem to think the vents on the back of the unit near the USB-C connector are speakers. This isn’t the case, and they are actually used by the Switch as air intakes as part of the unit’s active cooling. Put your hand above the fan vent at the top of the unit and you’ll feel a warm breeze, but that air entered the unit much cooler near the bottom.
This means you should avoid lying the Switch down on soft materials, even if you’re just taking a break. The unit heats up considerably when these intakes are covered even for a short while so to prolong the life of the hardware inside, don’t cover them while you’re playing games.
Browse the Japanese eShop
There are more digital games on the Japanese store than in other territories. Since Nintendo is a Japanese company, much of the software is coming from Japan. The delay in bringing these games to other territories is due to localization, translations, and sometimes a perceived lack of demand from Western audiences.
But you can access these releases simply by creating a Japanese Nintendo account:
- Head to the Nintendo Accounts page (you’ll need to log out first, or use an incognito window) and click Create Your Nintendo Account.
- Fill in the details, using a different email address and nickname from your primary account and set Country/region of residence to Japan.
- Once you’ve finished the process, create a new user on your Switch under System Settings > User > Add New User.
- Launch the eShop app, select the new account you just added, and link your Japanese Nintendo account by tapping Sign in and following the instructions.
In order to purchase games here, you’ll need a compatible credit or debit card that allows for international transactions. You may also be charged a foreign currency fee, so check with your bank. While these titles are in Japanese, many of them have English language support including the upcoming Disgaea 5.
There are more arcade games available, as well as demos of Puyo Puyo Tetris (shown above) and upcoming Dragon Quest Warriors titles (all in Japanese). Games you download can be used by any account on the console, though DLC is restricted to the Japanese account on which it was purchased.
VentureBeat confirmed that purchases made on the Japanese store are carried over to your local eShop when the software is made available in your region.
Restrict Games & Purchases With Parental Controls
If you want to lock down the Switch so that certain users can only access certain games, or to restrict purchases made in the eShop, you’re in luck. Nintendo has built that functionality into the Switch from day one. Head to System Settings > Parental Controls to get started.
The best way to do this is using the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls smartphone app for iPhone or Android. This allows you to monitor the console on the go, check play statistics, and even lock the console down completely. Some users have taken to using the smartphone app for analytics purposes, so they can see exactly how long they’ve played Zelda and other games.
You Can Play Imports
Switch games are not locked to any particular region, so you don’t need to worry about physical retail cartridges not working in your Switch. If you’re traveling abroad, any games you buy will be compatible with your console, though be aware some titles may lack English language support.
That also means you can import games from retailers like Play-Asia.
The Dock Might Scratch the Screen
Even though Nintendo is skeptical, there are plenty of reports of the dock possibly scratching the tablet. Nintendo used a plastic screen in the Switch — most other portable devices ship with glass screens that offer far better scratch resistance. The rough plastic of the dock and questionable “closed” design choice also raises concerns.
The news has sparked a wave of “fixes” online in the form of dock screen protectors. These cover the screen side of the dock, providing a smooth surface between the two surfaces. However, many have speculated that such covers may potentially cause more scratching by trapping dirt and sand over time. Fabric covers may also cause heat dissipation issues.
The solution is simple: get a screen protector. The cheap official plastic screen protector is notoriously bad, so we’d recommend opting for a tempered glass screen protector like this one from Orzly (UK). Tempered glass is stronger, bubble-resistant, easier to apply, and much more pleasant to touch and look at.
Think your dock scratched your Switch? Talk to Nintendo about it by contacting support in your region.
Repurpose Your Wii U Stand
A few weeks ago I came across the Wii U Gamepad stand that I received with Nintendo’s last console, still in its plastic packaging. I nearly threw it out before realizing it might be useful for the Switch. That was before I knew how truly awful the built-in kickstand is.
Turns out it’s a perfect fit, and holds the console at a kinder angle than the fold-out stand. You still can’t play and charge, but it’s worth digging out if you still have it.
You Can Use Wired internet
If you have a USB to Ethernet adapter, there’s a good chance it will work with the Switch. In addition to the official wired network adapter ($40), there are reports of the original Wii Ethernet adapter and other third-party adapters working too.
While the official adapter uses USB type-A and connects directly to the dock, it’s also possible to use a USB type-C converter to connect to the main tablet itself.
Transfer Screenshots Without Sharing
In terms of software, the single biggest issue with the Switch is a complete lack of save game and other data management. Oddly enough, you can transfer your screenshots. Simply insert a microSD card and head to System Settings > Data Management > Save Data/Screenshots > Manage Screenshots.
Here you can choose a default save destination (tip: choose external storage), and copy both to and from the internal or external memory. By transferring directly via external storage, you’ll avoid Facebook’s compression for better image quality.
Nintendo May Replace Your Left Joy-Con
Have you had connectivity issues with the left Joy-Con? This is due to a manufacturing issue which affects the antenna within this particular controller, resulting in a patchy Bluetooth connection. Nintendo has vaguely acknowledged the issue, and some customers have started to report that the company is replacing their controllers.
If you bought your console at launch then you may be affected by this issue, but environmental factors (like interference from other devices) can make it considerably worse. If you’re having problems, let Nintendo know.
Homebrew Could Be Incoming
News has broken of a 19-year-old Italian tweaker by the name of Lucas Todesco having repurposed an old WebKit exploit to run code on the Nintendo Switch. Another group called ReSwitched publicly released their hacking tool PegaSwitch with the aim of exploring “the functionality of the Switch from the domain of the WebKit process.”
Neither of these exploits are that big of a deal at this stage, but they represent an important step towards giving hackers the tools they need to run their own code on the Switch, including homebrew applications. Nintendo has yet to respond, but after the rampant homebrew effort seen on past consoles they’ll likely do something to try and avoid another Wii situation.
Share Your Switch Tips
Got a cool trick we missed? Why not share it with us and the rest of the community? If it’s really good we’ll even add it to this article!
Thinking longterm, what are your predictions for Nintendo’s latest console? Does the Switch have what it takes to make Nintendo’s venture a success? Let us know what you think in the comments!