Since its release, the Nintendo Switch has long been plagued by data management problems. With only 32GB of onboard memory, the Switch has all but begged gamers to buy additional storage. Thankfully, a new software update has made it easy for you to move Nintendo Switch games to SD card. Here is how to do it.
What You Need to Know First
Even as this feature satisfies the masses, there are some exceptions to Nintendo’s transfer rules. First and foremost, the transfer system works in two ways: Data is now moveable between internal memory and a microSD card or vice versa.
The next biggest requirement is that this only works with software that has been downloaded from Nintendo’s eShop. That means that any software that comes from physical cartridges cannot be transferred.
Additionally, Nintendo cautions that “downloadable software, update data and DLC” can be transferred back and forth. The company also warns that “save data and some update data cannot be transferred to an SD card.”
Of course, none of this matters if you are not on the most recent software update. To check that, head to “System Settings -> System -> System Update.” The Switch will automatically check to see if a new update is available. If that is the case, the download will begin on its own
Note: the Nintendo Switch can support a microSD card up to 64GB and above (for microSDXC). High-speed microSD cards are recommended. Make sure you are using a good SD card before transferring the data.
Time to Move Nintendo Switch Games to SD Card
Once you have all of the warnings out of the way, it’s time to make the transfer:
1. Select “System settings” from the main Switch menu underneath where your games are listed.
2. While looking at the left side of the screen, scroll until you see an option labeled “Data Management.” Click or tap on it.
3. If you are running the latest software update, you will now see an option labeled “Move Data Between System/microSD Card.”
4. You now have two options. The first is to move data from the microSD card to the system memory. The second option is to move data from the system memory to the microSD card. Most people will choose to move data to the microSD card, so you can choose that option.
5. A list of all your games currently stored in system memory now appears. Scroll through the list of games and select which ones you’d like to move by clicking or tapping on them so a blue checkbox appears beside them. If you have enough free memory, you can move multiple games at once.
6. Select all of the games you would like to move and then click “Move Data.” That option can be found at the bottom-right of the screen.
7. The Switch will confirm that you want to make this move, so you will need to click “Move” again. You will also notice that the system again reminds you that “Save data and some update data cannot be moved.”
8. A progress indicator will now appear showing how much time is left for the transfer. Depending on the game(s) size, the process of switching storage devices could take a few minutes. Once the transfer is complete, the pop-up will indicate “Data move complete.”
That’s it. Now go back and transfer any relevant saved data that relates to games moved from internal storage to expandable memory. Even as Nintendo cautions that saved data will not transfer, that isn’t always the case. It just does not apply to every game, so it’s a hit-or-miss opportunity. If you want to repeat the steps and move from the microSD card to your internal memory, you can just reverse which storage option you pick for transfer.
Why Does this Matter so Much?
Why has data transfer mattered to Switch owners for years? The biggest reason is that games saved on the microSD card can be transferred to another Switch. This is excellent news for anyone who has ever lost, broken or purchased a new Switch.
As the Switch continues to rise in popularity, this update is cause for celebration in the Nintendo community. It may not make much sense to Xbox or PlayStation 4 owners, but for Nintendo fans, it’s been years in the making. As rumors fly about a new Switch system in the future and the Switch Lite continuing to grow in popularity, this update could not have come at a better time. What’s your favorite part of owning a Switch?
Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox