The Nintendo switch comes only with 32GB of internal memory, which is small if you plan to have more than just a handful of games and apps downloaded to your handheld console. The solution is to use a microSD card to expand the Switch's storage. But what is the easiest way to do that? And if you already have a microSD card and want to use a new one with more capacity, how do you migrate your files? Do not worry; We will go through everything.
Before you start, it's always a good idea to back up your games to a desktop computer with a microSD card. Of course, all titles downloaded from Nintendo eShop (they are linked to your account) can be archived and downloaded directly if needed. But it takes much longer to download the entire library. Having a local copy will save you time.
What you need to get started is: a computer (the OS player does not matter as long as you have storage space), a microSD card adapter (if the computer does not have a microSD card slot) and finally, a microSD card. Nintendo recommends that you use a simple microSD card compatible with UHS-I (Ultra High Speed Phase I), with transmission speeds of 60 to 95 MB / s. The higher the better. Do not use multiple microSD cards with different games on the same switch, as this may cause conflicts.
The installation process should be performed in the handheld mode (ie not docked) together with the computer, as you need access to the storage location during the kickstand.
Move your games from the Switch to a microSD card
If you do not have a microSD card already installed and your Switch internal memory is full, you can migrate data to a microSD card. To test this, I moved Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from local storage to a 128 GB microSD SanDisk microSDXC UHS I card for the Nintendo Switch ($ 27.99 on Amazon).
- To turn off the power switch, hold down the power button, scroll down to Power Options, and then select Turn Off.
- Turn the controller over, then lift the kickstand next to the right Joy-Con control unit. Under the plastic stand you will find a microSD card slot.
- Insert your new microSD card into the slot. You should hear a small click when it is properly docked.
- Turn on your Nintendo Switch. Navigate to the System Settings icon at the bottom right and press the "A" button (or double-click your finger).
- Scroll down (with the touch screen or Joy-Con control unit) to select Data Management. Your cursor switches to the storage management screen.
- Navigate to and select Manage software, just below Quick archive.
- From here you can read through the list and find out which games / apps are stored locally and which are stored on the microSD card. There is no easy transfer tool between the changer's internal storage and the microSD card, so you have to archive your game first – one game at a time.
- Once you have determined which game (s) you want to migrate, select and select the first one in the list.
- From the game information screen, scroll down to File Software and select it. A confirmation popup should be displayed warning that game data will be archived; However, your saved data and game icon will remain on the exchanger's home screen. Confirm your choice by pressing File.
- There is an alternative method for game archiving: Instead, select the game in question on your home page, press the "+" button to the right of Joy-Con, scroll down to Manage software, and then select Archive software. Finally, confirm your selection by tapping File from the popup.
- Anyway, now press the Home button to the right Joy-Con to go to the home screen. From there, navigate to the game icon that you just archived. Press the "A" button to display a confirmation popup. Confirm it by pressing Download, then wait for the download to complete.
- Press the Home button again for the home screen and then navigate to the System Settings page as you did earlier. Go down to data management and then navigate to the game you just downloaded. You should see the storage amount directly next to the microSD card icon, just below the game / app title.
- Repeat as necessary for each game you wish to download directly to the microSD card. Future purchases and downloads come correctly to the microSD card instead of internal storage space.
Move games on your existing microSD card to another
If you already have a microSD card installed and want to replace it, say a faster or bigger card, you need a computer (with a microSD slot or adapter) to back up your files.
- Turn off your Nintendo Switch by holding the power switch, selecting Power Options, and then selecting Shut Down. Throw out your old microSD card (placed under the kickstand on the right side) by gently pushing it down; it should pop out easily.
- Insert the microSD card into the computer slot or into an adapter connected to your system. (If you don't already have an adapter, we recommend the SmartQ C307 USB 3.0 Portable Card Reader, $ 7.77 on Amazon, as it also doubles as an SD card adapter). Once the microSD card is known, go to File Explorer on Windows or Finder on Mac. You should see the mounted USB device as a form of external storage (the name depends on the hardware). Within the device there should be a folder named Nintendo. Your valuable files are inside!
- Select the "Nintendo" folder, then drag and drop it to the desktop. When selected, you can also hit the Ctrl + C keys on the Windows or cmd + C key on a Mac to copy the folder. To paste it onto the desktop, press Ctrl + V on Windows or cmd + V on a Mac. Wait for the folder to be transferred to your computer – since it contains multiple folders and files, it is usually more than a few gigabytes in size.
- Now that all game files are backed up to your computer, you can remove the microSD card from the track (or the adapter).
- Replace your old microSD card for the new one, insert it into the computer slot or the adapter. Go to your File Explorer or Finder and navigate to the mounted storage device. Because the new card is empty, you will of course not see any folders or files.
- Copy the "Nintendo" folder you saved to the desktop, transfer them to the new microSD card as it is (do not change any file names or folders). You can drag and drop, or use the copy / paste function.
- Wait for the transfer to finish. Remove the adapter from the computer port or microSD card from the slot.
- Insert your new microSD card into the switch slot.
- Turn on your Switch. Navigate to System Preferences> Data Management> Manage Software again. Browse through the list and make sure your games have been successfully transferred to the microSD card.
- You can also clearly say that the files are on the card by looking at the free space indicator on the right side under System memory.
If your files were not transferred to the new microSD card or are not recognized by the switch, you can always delete the transferred files from the card with the computer file manager. You must download games / apps from Nintendo eShop again, using the Nintendo account with which they are associated. If they do not automatically save on your microSD card, use the archive and download the trick that we previously described.
There you have it! You have successfully migrated your Switch files from one microSD card to another and / or added a microSD to expand your game library.
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