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How to reset a Nintendo Switch

Switch acting up, or are you selling it on? Here’s how to reset it…


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Most Nintendo consoles run smoothly without many (if any) problems. In fact, I've still got an old N64 that's alive and kicking — and it's more than 25 years old! But sometimes the odd glitch can crop up. And if you've got some issues with your Nintendo Switch, then resetting it is probably the best way of getting it ready for some Mario Kart action again.

In this guide, we’ll show you three different ways of resetting your Nintendo Switch. Starting off with a soft reset to fix a simple problem, before looking at hard and factory resets for tackling bigger concerns.

Reasons why your Nintendo Switch might need resetting

Before we look at each method, here are a few common reasons why you might need to reset your Switch:

  • Frozen screen: If your Switch's display has frozen and won't respond.

  • Internet connectivity issues: If you're having trouble connecting your Switch to the internet.

  • Game crashes: Sometimes games can crash and get stuck.

  • Software updates: Resetting your console might be necessary when installing a new software update.

  • Parental controls: If you've forgotten your PIN number for parental controls, you'll need to reset your Switch to remove them.

  • Selling or gifting your Switch: If you're looking to pass your Switch onto someone else, you'll want to wipe your data with a factory reset.

How to perform a Nintendo Switch soft reset

If you're just experiencing some small software gremlins, like a crashed game or a game card that your console won't read, then a soft reset might do the trick in fixing them.

Here's how to soft reset your Nintendo Switch:

  1. Press down the main Power button on your Switch and hold for up to 15 seconds.

  2. Your Switch should turn off, then just wait a few seconds.

  3. Power your Switch back on.

And that's it! A soft reset should clear up your Switch by refreshing any software and background activity. Meaning you can carry on your Pokémon or The Legend of Zelda adventure.

Steps to hard reset your Nintendo Switch

If your Switch has a more serious issue that affects the way you use it, like preventing access to certain things, you could try a hard reset. This isn't quite as drastic as a full factory reset, as a hard reset can restore your console to factory settings but without wiping saved data for your Nintendo Switch games.

Follow these instructions to hard reset your Nintendo Switch:

  1. Make sure your Switch is off, then press and hold the Power, Volume Up, and Volume Down buttons at the same time.

  2. This will boot up your Switch in Maintenance Mode.

  3. Select 'Initialize Console Without Deleting Save Data' to keep your game saves, screenshots, videos, and user info.

  4. After that, your Switch will restart.

Factory reset your Nintendo Switch

A full factory reset will wipe all the data on your Switch, so it'll load up just like it did on the first day you brought it home. This is a good idea if you're looking to sell your Switch, but it might be necessary to fix a more serious issue as a last resort.

These are the steps you'll need to follow to factory reset your Nintendo Switch:

  1. Boot up your Switch and select 'System Settings' at the bottom of the menu screen.

  2. Select 'System' on the left side bar.

  3. Scroll all the way to the bottom and choose 'Formatting Options'.

  4. Select 'Restore Factory Settings' at the bottom of the list.

  5. Click 'Next' to wipe your Switch of its data.


How do your restart a Nintendo Switch?

Restarting your Nintendo Switch can help fix smaller bugs, like if the audio doesn’t work when you start playing a game. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Press and hold the Power button down for 3 seconds.

  2. The Power Menu will appear, then select ‘Power Options’.

  3. Choose ‘Restart’ and your Switch will turn off and back on again in a few seconds.

How do you wipe a Nintendo Switch?

To delete all content and settings on your Nintendo Switch, you must perform a full factory reset. This can be done from the System Settings menu on the home screen. Just head to ‘System’ > ‘Formatting Options’ > ‘Restore Factory Settings' to wipe your Switch so it boots up in a like-new state.

Any more questions?

Want to learn more about the Switch? Check out our everything you need to know about the Nintendo Switch article. And if you can’t decide between the standard Switch, Switch Lite and Switch OLED — read our best Nintendo Switch console comparison guide.

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