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Nintendo Switch problems: 12 common issues and how to fix them

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There's an awful lot to love about the Nintendo Switch, but it's not a perfect console. Here are some common Nintendo Switch problems, issues and bugs – and how to fix them where there is a known solution.

We’ll be regularly updating this page with all the latest issues, so be sure to bookmark it. Also, feel free to leave a comment with any problems you have and we’ll try to find a fix!

1) Nintendo Switch Dead Pixel Problem: What is it and what can I do?

The latest Nintendo Switch problem to rear its head is the 'dead pixel' issue, whereby users are noticing dark patches on their device's touchscreen as a result of stuck or dead pixels.

This might be the most frustrating problem yet, as Nintendo is currently refusing to cop to it being a legitimate complaint.

Instead, the Japanese games giant has issued a statement saying that "small numbers of stuck or dead pixels are a characteristic of LCD screens," adding that this is "normal and should not be considered a defect."

Worse still, this isn't the first time Nintendo has experienced this issue with one of its handheld console – the DS also suffered from dead pixels when it launched back in 2004, and other manufacturers like Sony (with the PSP) have had similar issues.

That's the bad news.

The slightly better news is that you have a couple of options at this early stage.

The first is to try and return your Switch, though your mileage may vary here.

As Nintendo is sticking to its guns and refusing to class this as a 'fault', High Street stores don't technically have an obligation to refund you, especially as you'll have to have broken the seal to have noticed the problem in the first place.

However, it's worth a shot, as in our experience you might get lucky and encounter a sympathetic fellow gamer behind the counter.

Related: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Switch

If you bought the Switch online, you've got an even better chance, thanks to the Consumer Contracts Regulations. This stipulates that all products purchased online can be returned for up to 14 days. So long as the seller didn't specifically state that "dead pixels may occur in this product" (or similar), you should be covered.

Your final option is probably the least attractive, but it's still worth mentioning. Back when the DS suffered a similar fate, Nintendo eventually backtracked on its initial stance and started offering refunds.

Given the amount of negative publicity the dead pixel problem is getting, we suspect Nintendo may opt to do this sooner rather than later, but we don't know for sure.

2) My Switch won't turn on, how do I hard reset?

Some users have found their console won't turn on. Besides the obvious flat battery, which we're sure you've already thought of, your next option is hard reset. Here's what Nintendo says:

"There is a chance that the console has frozen with a black screen. Look at the console in a darkened room and see if any light is coming from the screen. If so, the console has frozen. Hold the POWER Button for 12 seconds or more to turn the console off.

Then, press the POWER Button again [emphasis added] to turn the console on again."

That last bit is important. You can't just hold down the button to reset the console, you have to then press the button again to turn it on.

If you have this problem and this solution didn't help, please let us know in the comments.

Related: Nintendo Switch vs PS4 and Xbox One

3) Joy-Con L doesn’t work properly [RESOLVED]

This has unfortunately been a pretty common problem among early units, and a particular issue for us.

While playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild with the Switch in its Dock and the Joy-Con either in the Grip or held in each hand, at times players can lose control of Link on the left analogue stick, housed in the left Joy-Con. Link will continue wandering in a direction for a few seconds before the player regains control, which can significantly hamper the gameplay experience.

After testing, it seems that when the line of sight between console and Joy-Con is impeded, the console has huge problems reading the input of Joy-Con L. I’ve tested this myself in the console’s analogue stick calibration options and it’s clear that even by simply placing my hand over the controller the Switch has real trouble tracking the analogue stick input.

Nintendo has acknowledged the problem, and now has a fix:

"A manufacturing variation has resulted in wireless interference with a small number of the left Joy-Con. Moving forward this will not be an issue, as the manufacturing variation has been addressed and corrected at the factory level. We have determined a simple fix can be made to any affected Joy-Con to improve connectivity."

Switch con

The fix involves adding a small piece of conductive foam to eliminate interference, as the above photo from Cnet shows. If you have this problem, call your local Nintendo customer service number and they will arrange for your Joy-Con to be fixed for free within days.

Related: Splatoon 2 preview

4) My battery pack won’t charge the Switch

The Nintendo Switch supports USB-C, meaning you can theoretically charge the device using any portable battery pack. However, the Switch includes a substantial battery to power it, and therefore you’ll need a pretty powerful battery pack to charge it quickly enough.

A standard battery pack's voltage output may be too low to charge the device. Also, the Switch seems to require a USB-C to USB-C charger in order to get its power fast enough. In our review battery testing, for instance, an Anker PowerCore 20100 was only able to charge the device 3% in 15 minutes, despite having a powerful enough output to match the Switch AC Adapter's 5V/3A charge. It’s important to pay attention to a battery pack’s potential output as well as how much charge it can hold.

We can confirm, however, that the USB-C version of the same battery pack charged the console properly, so if you're planning on buying a power pack for your Switch, make sure it has the correct output level and a USB-C port and your should be ok.

Related: Nintendo Switch Accessories and Case Guide

5) My game cartridge doesn’t work

It’s possible that, when you place a cartridge in the Switch, the console won’t acknowledge that there's a game inserted. Try removing and then re-inserting the cartridge into the console and seeing if the game works then.

If the cartridge still doesn’t work, try inserting another game (if you have one) to see if it's a hardware or software issue. If this isn’t possible, the best bet is to return the game and try another cartridge before being able to assess whether it's the Switch or game that's at fault.

6) Can I use my wireless headphones?

Nope, sorry. The Nintendo Switch doesn’t support wireless headphones. Although the device has Bluetooth, this is reserved for the Joy-Con and Pro Controller. To use headphones they must be plugged directly into the Switch.

This is less than ideal when gaming on the go or even at home on the TV and you want to keep the volume down. If you’ve got a pair of wireless headphones which lack a headphone jack, you may want to invest in another, cheaper pair to play the Switch on your travels.

Alternatively, there are Bluetooth adapters that will plug into the headphone jack so you can connect to wireless headphones.

Related: Upcoming Nintendo Switch Games

Nintendo Switch

7) Does the Switch support Backwards Compatibility?

Again, you’re out of luck. Because of the Switch offering proprietary software storage in the form of game cartridges, you won’t be able to play your Wii U, GameCube or any other previously released Nintendo console games with this device. You could, however, buy them again via the Switch Virtual Console, but then we have another problem…

Where’s the Virtual Console?

So, the Virtual Console – one of the major selling points behind any Nintendo system – won't be ready in time for the Switch launch.

Nintendo is keeping its cards close to its chest about when the VC will be coming to the Switch, stating that an announcement will be made in the future. Unfortunately this is a “wait and see”.

8) I’ve run out of storage – what do I do?

Good news! It’s very easy (and relatively cheap) to expand the storage of the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo has been pretty poor with its offering of only 32GB of internal storage on the Switch, 6GB of which will be taken up by the operating system, meaning it won’t be long before you’ll need to expand.

Thankfully, the console supports microSD cards, which aren’t too expensive at retail outlets. Simply stick your microSD card in the slot found underneath the kickstand.

9) My kickstand broke off – what now?

Did you shove your console in the dock without closing the kickstand? You silly billy, don’t worry, Nintendo has thought about this and built it into the design of the Switch. The reason why the kickstand is made from a cheaper and flimsier piece of plastic than the rest of the device is because of this very situation. Nintendo expects players to snap the stand off.

Simply stick it back in and it should clip back in place. Nintendo does, however, warn against continuous wear and tear, so try to learn from your mistake.

Related: Nintendo doubling Switch manufacturing

Nintendo Switch

10) My Joy-Con Grip isn’t charging the controllers

That’s because the Grip that comes with the console doesn’t charge the controllers. Yup, that’s right, to charge the Joy-Con they need to be attached to the Switch itself. The Joy-Con include a battery life of around 20 hours, but when they run out of juice, they must be attached to the Switch.

You can, alternatively, buy a Joy-Con Charging Grip which allows you to play and charge the controllers at the same time. But, as noted in our review, for £30 it’s an incredibly pricey accessory considering its tacky build and limited functionality. You’re better off saving your money and just playing in handheld mode for a while to get you through the evening before charging the Joy-Con overnight.

11) My game cartridge tastes funny, what's up with that?

Nintendo coats the cartridges with a substance that makes them taste unpleasant to discourage children from putting them in their mouths. So, you know, find something else to chew on...

Related: Zelda Breath of the Wild review

12 ) My Nintendo Switch Wi-Fi isn't working

A number of Nintendo Switch users have reported issues of the console's wi-fi suddenly borking out. If this happens to you, restarting the system seems to fix the issue almost everytime. Manually reconnecting to the network is a lost cause, so simply hold the power button to restart or switch off the console.


Try not to confuse this with Sleep Mode, which is an easy mistake to make. 


Got any other problems and/or solutions? Let us know in the comments below.

jimmy

March 2, 2017, 9:49 am

hmm, not the best start. How can the controllers not communicate with the console when pressing the top buttons etc? Surely that issue must have cropped up in testing?! That's a pretty shocking state of play for a console to have controllers that drop out - no gamer will want that, it would make FPS games unplayable.
They also need to add wireless headphones in a patch. having a portable console with Bluetooth that you can't use wireless headphones on is bonkers.
The Virtual Console is also pretty poor, not being ready for launch. Why is it Other manufacturers can have their systems ready at launch day, but Nintendo can't get an online shop sorted with a couple of years development time?!
fingers crossed for a significant early patch.

RaminNoodles86

March 2, 2017, 10:52 am

For point 4, about the wireless headphones, I just bought a Bluetooth Transmitter off Amazon for around £20 to work with my Bose QC35.

It's not the most elegant of options - and may look a bit weird sticking out of the Switch - but I just can't go back to being tethered by a wire since I've gone so long being wireless. I travel a lot by underground, and it would be difficult travelling with a wire that can easily get caught on things while moving about.
It may not suit everyone, but the only option I can think of if you still want to use your wireless headphones, wirelessly.

Anyone else got any other suggestions?
-----------------------------

Thanks for the credit guys. It's funny how when I first posted this message, it was pending. So I posted it again and the story gets updated with my suggestion.

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andyvan

March 2, 2017, 5:57 pm

It was pending due to the link. Any comment with a link get gets put into a queue as we got a lot of link spam otherwise. And thanks for taking the time to comment.

Taynor Darn

March 3, 2017, 5:38 pm

I have a wonderful extra issue you can add in: Unable to find any wireless or wired network connection. No, it's not in flight mode.

Jenna Hutchins

March 3, 2017, 7:53 pm

We can't get it to turn on again - got this afternoon and set it up, including 1 hr time limit on parental-control (but had not yet added Zelda) and then left it charging. When kids got home later, it won't turn on - have tried to hold power button for 12-15 sec to reset - still nothing. Took it out, put joy-cons on... nothing.

Thought it might be the parental control (maybe it timed out while charging?), but thought it would still turn on and say "over time limit" or something?

Help - kids so disappointed! So are we :(

Gaming parents

andyvan

March 3, 2017, 8:02 pm

Argh, sorry to hear that. Really sucks. I have heard some reports like this. I'm guessing from your comment you've already tried the suggested fixes out there. We'll keep researching this and see if we can find out what's going on.

andyvan

March 3, 2017, 8:03 pm

Is it picking up networks and not connecting, or can it not find any at all?

andyvan

March 3, 2017, 8:11 pm

Did you press the power button again after holding it down? That might be the bit you're missing.

Jenna Hutchins

March 3, 2017, 8:36 pm

Tried to - since we had never used the power button to turn it on, we weren't sure how long to press it. Tried it a few times, for 1 sec, then 3, then 5... still nothing. We'll try a few more things, but really appreciate any ideas.

We were on hold with N for 20 min before we gave up - we'll call again after we get kids in bed (it's 8:30pm here)

OldManRupee

March 3, 2017, 8:48 pm

Problem I'm having: the docking station just won't connect to the TV. Yes I've tried using a different hdmi cable just in case. Whenever I try to dock the system, the green dock light flicks on quickly but doesn't stay on like it's supposed to, and no picture appears on the TV.

Enzo Bonello

March 3, 2017, 10:21 pm

Problems with wi-fi, I think that the antenna is poor or it has some defect. Wi-fi works only if the switch is not too far from rooter, 2 meters max. I hope it can solved. Thanks

henri

March 3, 2017, 10:57 pm

hi my switch is finding network but canot connect what must i do?

thanks

Taynor Darn

March 3, 2017, 11:09 pm

It's randomly started working after several restarts and a factory reset. It was originally showing an odd Mac address of 00-00-00-00-XX-XX. It's now showing a normal Mac address and finds wireless networks.

Dean Rose

March 4, 2017, 12:35 am

Mine is over 5m away. Its all down to your house and sources of interference

Kacper

March 4, 2017, 8:39 am

I played 1-2-Switch for 15 minutes. After it I wanted to update my console. Update complete. I had to wait for reset but it takes a lot of time so I decided to turniej off and on it. After it i saw the logo Nintendo and black screen. I tried a lot of things included reset or holding volume buttons and nothing can run my console. Please help me guys.

Moose23

March 4, 2017, 12:56 pm

Is anyone having a problem playing Zelda in portable mode? The graphics on my screen keep fluttering and changing different colors, when I have Link near water, the water will disappear and reappear every few seconds, but it works fine in Dock mode.

Noomi

March 4, 2017, 1:37 pm

My left joy con controller is not working! It keeps searching to link with the pre-delivered controller, but whatever I do, it does not want to connect! Help now! I feel cheated out of money if this doesn't get fixed immediately.

Noomi

March 4, 2017, 1:39 pm

And this only doesn't work if its connected to the TV. Fix please!

Karla Pokemon

March 4, 2017, 7:33 pm

My joycons won't charge beyond 2/3s full. No idea what's going on. :( they'll charge, get 2/3s full then just stop charging. And the left one dies after 4-5 hours of play. Busted? Or am I missing something? Anyone else have this issue?

Derek Tomes

March 5, 2017, 6:19 am

my joy cons wont work in tablet mode. work fine in the grips, but when i connect them to the tablet i am unable to play the game. i can navigate the menus with both of them while connected. as soon as i try and start zelda it acts like they are not synced. any suggestions?

Kieron

March 5, 2017, 12:41 pm

Has there been any update on the channel changing issue with the Samsung 7000 series TV's as I'm having major problems with my Switch console when docked.
Every few seconds my TV (a Samsung KS7500) is switching over from terrestrial TV to the Switch’'s HDMI source and I have to use the remote to go back to what I was watching only for it to happen again 20 seconds later.
I've tried various brands of HDMI cables including the one that comes with the Switch and also disabled HDMI-CEC in the TV settings but the problem still persists.
I can no longer watch my TV without completely disconnecting the Switch's HDMI cable and then re-attaching it when I want to use the Switch on the TV.
I've contacted Nintendo and Samsung regarding the issue but they haven't got back to me yet.

Zeetek 76

March 5, 2017, 6:06 pm

Im also having the same issue as you. I have a ks7000 4k. I think it might be just a Samsung ks7000/8000 problem which kinda makes me think its not on Nintendos side but its a Samsung issue so might ave to wait for a firmware update from them

Kieron

March 5, 2017, 6:36 pm

Yes, it could be a Samsung problem,I've just tried the console on my other TV (Panasonic) with no issues whatsoever.
I don't know if the problem is occurring with other Samsung models or just limited to ours.

Zeetek 76

March 5, 2017, 6:59 pm

Most people who seem to be having this problem looking thru the reddits etc are from the ks7000 range and also certain LG models too. My tv does change to my ps4/xboxone source when i turn said consoles on even tho hdmi-cec is turned off which is handy but not when you are playing horizon zero dawn and the tv decides to say hello to the switch which causes a blank hdmi source channel followed by the sound of aloy dying at the hands of a sawtooth from my headphones.

Kieron

March 5, 2017, 7:04 pm

Haha, switch by name, switch by nature. I might pester Samsung too to see what they say.

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