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9 tips and tricks for Nintendo Switch



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Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite are both great gaming devices.


Sarah Tew / CNET

Games are one of many ways you can entertain yourself while practicing social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic . Nintendo Switch adds versatility to your gaming exercises by letting you switch from docked and connected to your TV to a portable handheld mode – you can go from your sofa to your bed or patio without skipping a beat. Add to the growing game library, including the recently released Animal Crossing Super Smash Bros. and the classic Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you'll find yourself playing for hours on end. (See our Animal Crossing game tips here .)

The Nintendo Switch Lite is cheaper and a touch smaller, but as capable as the standard model. You can't connect to your TV, but it comes in some fun colors. The small has also received high praise from CNET's Scott Stein, who called it his "favorite game console right now, no contest."

Whether you are just arriving on the Nintendo Switch train (welcome aboard!), Or you are a seasoned professional, we have some tips and tricks to help you run the small gaming unit that can full. And while you're at it, be sure to check out our list of switches accessories that you will benefit from downloading .

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Do not share user accounts on your Switch.


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Set up user accounts directly

If you plan to share your switch with a friend, roommate or your children, make sure you set up user profiles. Using a profile allows each person to use their own Nintendo account (if they have one), save their own data for each game and customize personal settings. You can have up to eight users on a switch.

To add a user account, open System Settings and then select Users > Add User and click Next . From there, you will be asked to choose a character, background and nickname for the account.

In the future, you can switch accounts and keep all your progress separate from other switch users.

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Click the square button just below the d-pad on the left Joy-Con to take a screenshot.


Óscar Gutiérrez / CNET

Take a screenshot or record a video clip

There is a square button with a circle in it just below the left panel of Joy-Con which you can press to take a screenshot or long press to save the last 30 seconds of video game play.

Not every game lets you record a video, so you can see a warning after long pressing the unsupported button. For example, Fortnite originally launched with support for video clips but eventually removed it to improve performance.

Don't forget, the clip or screenshot will be saved in your Switch storage, which you can later access and share on Twitter or Facebook, but it also means it takes up storage. (The moral of the story here is to buy a microSD card and never have to worry about completing storage.)

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Good activity


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

View your or your friend's activity flow

Curious about how much time you wasted – sorry – invested in a game? Your activity flow knows everything. You can view your own feed as well as your friends feed by tapping on the user's profile avatar.

View the same profile screen where your friend code is located to see your own activity statistics in the section Play activity or select Friend List on the left side of the screen to find a friend and see their play activity . As far as I know, there is no way to make this information private. So if you don't want anyone to know how often you play on your Switch, it's best not to add them as a friend.

Sign up for Switch Online

Nintendo subscription service, Switch Online is an important part of getting the most out of your system. It sets you back either $ 3.99 per month, $ 19.99 per year for an individual plan or $ 34.99 for a family plan. But in exchange for your money, you get to play all Switch games that offer online games (like Splatoon 2 or Minecraft) and access to NES and Super NES titles.

You can also save your game data to the cloud and use the Nintendo Switch Online app (for Android and | iPhone), which adds voice chat features to some games.

Register for Switch Online directly on your Switch by opening the eShop app and selecting Nintendo Switch Online from the menu on the left. Have your credit card handy when you do.

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Managing your Switch storage is easy.


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Manage your Switch's storage

Switch and Switch Lite each have 32 gigabytes of storage. And even though it may feel like a lot, after you account for the space required by the switch's operating system and a few games, it is not uncommon for it to fill quickly.

You have some options for managing shrinkage storage. You can either buy a microSD card (it supports up to 2 terabytes), or you can use the built-in storage manager to fine-tune which apps and games are taking place.

Manage your Switch storage in System Settings > Data Management to help hold if you run out.

When you look at the software section, each selected game will show how much space it takes on the right side of the screen – along with the exact storage location (internal or microSD card).

There you can archive or delete a game (more about the difference in one minute), as well as manage saved screenshots and videos.

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If you quit, try to archive games you no longer play. You thank yourself along the way.


Sarah Tew / CNET

Do not delete old games, archive them

If you run out of storage and need to clear old games that you have already conquered or no longer play, do not delete them – if you can help it.

Removing a game from your switch will delete the game and all its files, including any saved progress and other important information. Use the archive option instead. If you do, the core game files will be deleted (and what takes up the bulk of your Switch storage), but leave your progress and saved information on your Switch. If you ever download or install an archived game, it will be like nothing has ever happened.

Of course, if you're really in a bind and need as much storage space as possible, delete the game and all its data.

Archive or delete a game in System Settings > Data Management .

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Do you see the extra long friend code? Yes, you want to know how to find it.


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Find and share your friend code

If you link your Facebook or Twitter account to your Nintendo Switch, you can find friend suggestions for your friends and followers who have also linked their social accounts to their own consoles. But how about adding friends without a presence on one of the social networks?

You must find your friend code. Find it by selecting your profile icon and selecting the profile option at the top. I suggest you take a picture of the screen with your phone and send it to your friend, who will then have to enter it after you have selected Add friend to their profile page. It's cumbersome and ridiculous, but there's not much we can do about it.

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Joy-Cons is easily lost.


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Finding a Lost Controller or Joy-Con

If you often fail with your Joy-Cons, there is good news – your Switch has a built-in tool to help you find them. Select the Controllers icon on the home screen followed by Find Controllers . A grid with nearby controls pops up and prompts you to hold the L or R button on another controller, which then causes the lost controller to vibrate until you find it.

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You can have up to 100 Mii characters on your switch.


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Creating your very own Mii

Mii avatars are still a thing on Switch, although a bit hidden. You must enter System Settings > Mii > Create / Edit a Mii to get started creating a character you can use for your profile avatar as well as in game.

From there, you can edit all current creations or add new up to 100 Mii to your collection. Miis will then appear in any apps or games with which they are compatible. But even after a couple of years of use, I have yet to see mine appear anywhere other than my avatar profile.

Now that you have a good understanding of your Switch, be sure to check out the seven Switch games you should own. Don't forget to check out these highly recommended accessories.





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