Enabling a microSD card on your Nintendo Switch allows you to expand the console’s storage capacity so you can download more digital games and content from the Nintendo eShop. Here are some quick answers about enabling a microSD card on your Switch:
What do I need to use a microSD card on my Switch?
To use a microSD card with your Switch, you’ll need:
- A Nintendo Switch console
- A microSD card that is compatible with the Switch
What microSD cards are compatible with the Switch?
The Nintendo Switch is compatible with microSD, microSDHC, and microSDXC cards up to 2TB in capacity. The Switch supports UHS-I interface cards that have a speed class of 10 or higher.
How do I insert a microSD card into my Switch?
To insert a compatible microSD card into your Switch:
- Turn off the power on your Switch completely.
- Locate the microSD card slot on the top of the console, behind the kickstand.
- Open the microSD card slot cover.
- Insert your microSD card into the slot with the label facing up.
- Gently push the card into the slot until it clicks into place.
- Close the microSD card slot cover.
How do I enable the microSD card in the system settings?
Once your microSD card is physically inserted, you need to enable it in the system settings:
- Turn on your Nintendo Switch and open System Settings.
- Select the System tab.
- Scroll down and select “microSD Cards”.
- Select your inserted microSD card.
- Choose “Format as internal storage” to enable the card.
This will format the SD card and allow the Switch to install games and apps to it. Be sure to back up any existing data first!
How do I move games and data to my microSD card?
Once formatted, your microSD card will show up as usable storage space on your Switch. To move games or data to the SD card:
- Go to System Settings > Data Management.
- Select “Move Data Between System / microSD Card”.
- Choose the game or data you want to move.
- Select “Move to microSD Card” to transfer it.
What should I look for when buying a microSD card?
When selecting a microSD card for your Switch, look for:
- Minimum 64GB capacity, up to 2TB
- UHS-I interface
- Speed class 10 or higher
- Reputable brand like SanDisk, Samsung, or Kingston
How can I check the available storage on my microSD card?
You can check how much free space is left on your enabled microSD card by:
- Going to System Settings
- Selecting System > Storage
- Viewing the info under “microSD Card”
What should I do if my Switch won’t detect the microSD card?
If your Nintendo Switch is not detecting a inserted microSD card, try these troubleshooting steps:
- Reinsert the microSD card and make sure it clicks into place securely.
- Try inserting the card into a computer to verify it works properly.
- Check for debris or damage in the Switch’s microSD card slot.
- Try formatting the SD card using a computer if the Switch cannot format it.
- Try a different brand of microSD card that is confirmed to be compatible.
- Update your Switch system software to the latest version.
- If the issue persists, contact Nintendo Support for further assistance.
Can I use the same microSD card in multiple Switch systems?
Yes, you can use the same microSD card in multiple Switch consoles. However, the card can only be formatted for one Switch at a time. To use it in another Switch:
- Remove the microSD card from the original Switch console.
- Insert the card into the new Switch console.
- Go to System Settings and choose to format the card.
This will erase all existing data on the card and reformat it for use with that particular Switch.
What should I do if my Switch can’t read games on the microSD card?
If your Nintendo Switch is unable to recognize or load games installed on the microSD card, try these steps:
- Make sure the microSD card is seated properly in the console.
- Reinsert the microSD card and restart the Switch.
- Check for corruption – scan and repair the card using a PC if needed.
- Re-download any affected digital games.
- Format the microSD card using the Switch’s system settings.
- If the issue persists, your microSD card may be faulty and need replacing.
Can I transfer game downloads from one microSD card to another?
Unfortunately, you cannot directly transfer game downloads from one microSD card to another on the Nintendo Switch. To move games between SD cards, you would need to:
- Archive any downloads on the source card so they are stored in system memory.
- Insert the new SD card and format it as extra storage.
- Go to Data Management and move the archived games onto the new card.
This process will require available system memory to temporarily store the archived games.
Should I remove the microSD card when the Switch is not in use?
It’s generally safe to leave the microSD card inserted in your Switch console full-time. There’s no need to remove it when the system is powered off or not in use. Leaving it in place will allow you to access your downloaded games, saves and other data as soon as you turn on your Switch.
However, if you plan to store your Switch for an extended time without use, you may want to export your save data and remove the microSD card to prevent data corruption. Be sure to securely store the card.
Can I use the same microSD card for my Switch and other devices?
While it is technically possible to use a microSD card in both your Nintendo Switch and other devices like cameras, phones, or laptops, it is not recommended.
Sharing an SD card can lead to data corruption or loss. Your Switch may also not be able to properly read games and data stored by a different device. It is better to have a dedicated microSD card just for your Switch.
What speed class rating do I need for my Switch?
Nintendo recommends using microSD cards with a speed class rating of 10 or faster when used as storage on the Switch. This ensures fast loading times for your games.
Some examples of compatible speed classes include:
- UHS Speed Class 1 (U1)
- Speed Class 10
- UHS Speed Class 3 (U3)
Using a lower speed class card may result in slower load times and poor game performance.
Does the microSD card need to be inserted for the Switch to work?
No, the microSD card does not need to be inserted for your Nintendo Switch to power on and function properly. The Switch has 32GB of internal storage on which games and system software are installed.
A microSD card is completely optional as additional expandable storage. All system functions will work as normal without a card inserted, though you may have less space for downloaded content.
Can I recover data if I format my microSD card on the Switch?
Unfortunately, formatting a microSD card on the Nintendo Switch completely erases all data in a way that cannot easily be recovered. Before formatting, be sure to backup any important files by copying them to a PC.
Some data recovery programs exist for undeleting files after quick formatting a card. However, these do not work if you full format the card using the Switch’s system settings due to encryption.
Is there a limit to how many microSD cards I can use with one Switch?
No, there is no limit on how many microSD cards can be used with a single Nintendo Switch console. However, you can only have one card formatted for use as internal storage at a time.
You can physically insert multiple microSD cards to access their content. But only the one set as active internal storage will store games, saves, and other data.
What file system do Switch microSD cards use?
The Nintendo Switch formats microSD cards using the exFAT file system. This allows the cards to store files larger than 4GB that are common for Switch games.
When inserting a new microSD card, the Switch will automatically prompt you to format it to exFAT if it does not already use this file system.
Can I use the same microSD card on a different model Switch?
Yes, you can use the same microSD card on any model of Nintendo Switch, including the original, Switch Lite, or OLED model. The card is interchangeable between different Switch consoles.
However, you will need to reformat the card for use when moving it between devices. The games, saves, and data are encrypted to work with only one Switch at a time.
Are there ways to access Switch data from a PC?
While microSD cards used in the Switch are encrypted to that device specifically, there are some limited ways to view Switch data from a PC:
- Insert SD card into PC – Can access screenshots and videos captured on Switch
- Use file explorer to access SD card folders – Downloaded games are encrypted
- Extract save data via hidden system memory partition
- Use homebrew software to decrypt microSD data
However, directly viewing game data is difficult and may violate Nintendo’s terms of service if circumventing encryption.
Can I use a single microSD card with multiple Switch profiles?
Yes, a single microSD card can be shared across user profiles on the same Nintendo Switch console. All profiles will have access to the extra storage and can install games to the card.
Save data and screenshots/videos are also written separately per account to allow multiple users to share the SD card. No special formatting is needed to use one card across profiles.
What are the best microSD cards to buy for the Switch?
Here are some of the top recommended microSD cards to expand storage on your Nintendo Switch:
|128GB – 400GB
|A1 / U1 / Class 10
|128GB – 256GB
|U3 / UHS-I
|128GB – 512GB
|U3 / V30
|128GB – 256GB
|U3 / UHS-I
Aim for at least 128GB capacity, UHS-I speeds of U3/V30/A2, and a reputable brand for a reliable Switch memory card.
Using a microSD card is an easy way to add significant extra storage to your Nintendo Switch for digital games, DLC content, and media. Make sure to get a compatible high speed card and follow the proper setup steps.
With a microSD card installed, you’ll be able to download and enjoy more of your favorite Switch games and software without worrying about filling up the internal 32GB capacity. Just be sure to properly eject the card when removing it from the console to avoid any data corruption issues.