How to Troubleshoot When Your Nintendo Switch Won't Turn On

Nintendo Switch Wont Turn On Feature Image

Is your Nintendo Switch giving you the cold shoulder and not turning on? Maybe your Nintendo Switch Lite is seemingly taking a nap and refusing to wake up? Don't hit the panic button just yet. We've all been there, and we promise it's probably not as bad as it seems.

Good To Know: Many great Switch accessories are worth your money.

1. The Initial Checks

Before we dive into the more technical solutions, let's start with the obvious stuff. Ensure the Switch is fully charged and your charger is functioning correctly. If available, try using a different charging cable and adapter, as faulty cables can often be the culprit.

If you're sure your Switch has enough juice and still refuses to wake up, give it a hard reset. Hold the power button for about 15 seconds, then wait a few moments. Press the power button again and see if the console responds.

Tip: If you continue having problems with your device, you can factory reset your Nintendo Switch.

2. Power Cycle and Update

If a hard reset doesn't trick, try power cycling the console. Disconnect the AC adapter from both ends, wait a minute, then reconnect it. After the battery icon appears, charge it for three hours before powering it on.

Nintendo Power Restart
Image source: Unsplash

It's always a good idea to keep your console's firmware updated. Software glitches sometimes prevent your console from powering on or waking up. If your Switch is stuck in the middle of an update, reset your console and start the update again.

3. Check the Dock

The Nintendo Switch dock bridges your console and television, letting you enjoy games on a larger screen. However, like any other tech, it can run into issues and may sometimes be why your Nintendo Switch isn't turning on.

Nintendo Power Dock
Image source: Unsplash

Here are some steps to diagnose and potentially resolve dock-related issues.

  • Inspect the Dock: Start by examining the dock for any visible damage. This includes checking the USB-C connector where you insert the Switch, ensuring it isn't bent, loose, or broken.
  • Try a Different Power Source: If the dock is in good physical shape, plug it into a different power outlet. The problem may be with the outlet and not the dock itself.
  • Check HDMI Connections: Ensure the cable connecting the dock to your TV is inserted correctly at both ends. Also, try using a different HDMI port on your TV. You can also try a different HDMI cable if one is available.
  • Direct Console Charging: As a final check, try charging your Switch directly using the AC adapter instead of the dock. If the console powers up, the port could be the issue.

Remember, using third-party docks can potentially harm your console, so it's always best to stick with official Nintendo products for your Switch. If your issues are with a third-party dock, you may have to contact the manufacturer of that dock in particular.

Also Helpful: If your Switch charger is faulty, you may not have to replace it with an original Nintendo model. Consider a modern GaN charger as a potential replacement.

4. The Blank Screen Conundrum

A blank or black screen doesn't always mean a dead Switch screen. If your console's screen stays black after a charge or hard reset, use it docked in TV mode. Assuming TV mode works, it could mean that the screen is faulty but that the Switch is otherwise OK.

Nintendo Power Screenoff
Image source: Unsplash

It could be a hardware issue if your Switch Lite screen stays black. Unfortunately, the Lite doesn't support TV mode, so you can't check the output on a different screen. In such cases, you may have to consider a professional repair from the outset.

5. Battery Wear and Swelling

Battery issues can also prevent your Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite from turning on. Over time, the lithium-ion batteries used in these consoles can degrade, reducing their capacity to hold a charge. This is common in all devices that use rechargeable batteries, not just the Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo Switch Not On Battery
Image source: Pexels

If your Switch's battery life is significantly reduced or the console won't turn on even after being plugged in, battery wear could be the culprit.

Furthermore, battery swelling is a more serious concern. If your console is bulging or unusually hot, or the casing appears to be falling, the battery is likely swollen. This situation is potentially hazardous, as swollen batteries can leak or explode in extreme cases!

In both scenarios - significant battery wear or swelling - you should immediately stop using the console and contact Nintendo Support. It's important not to try and replace the battery yourself, as doing so could void your warranty and potentially cause damage to the console or injury to yourself. Nintendo offers a safer option, a paid battery replacement service for out-of-warranty consoles.

Remember, to maximize your battery's lifespan, it's recommended to keep your console updated, avoid extreme temperatures, and try not to leave it plugged in for extended periods once it's fully charged.

Tip: If you notice your battery isn't lasting, use these tips to increase your Nintendo Switch's battery life.

6. Contact Nintendo Support

If your Nintendo Switch is still not turning on after trying all these solutions, it's time to contact Nintendo Support. Here's how you can reach them:

  • Phone: You can call Nintendo Customer Service at 1-800-255-3700. Outside the US or Canada? Call 1 (855) 548-4693.
  • Online: Visit the Nintendo Support website and navigate the "Contact Us" page. Start a text chat with a support representative or email them from there. Be ready to provide your console's serial number and a detailed problem description.

It's important to remember that repairs may be covered if your console is under warranty. Even if it's not, Nintendo can estimate the repair cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will My Data Be Saved or Lost?

Generally, the troubleshooting steps outlined above should not affect your data. Hard resets and power cycling do not erase saved games or user data. However, if a more serious hardware issue is at play, there may be some risk to your data.

The Nintendo Switch offers cloud saves via the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service, which can be a lifesaver in such situations. If you have been using this service, your saves will be backed up and retrieved even if your console needs a factory reset or replacement.

If you haven't been using the cloud save feature, this might be a wake-up call to consider it. Knowing that your progress is safe, even when technical issues arise, can provide peace of mind.

Can I perform any repairs myself if my Nintendo Switch won't turn on?

It's generally not recommended unless you have the necessary skills and tools. Doing so could cause further damage and may also void your warranty. It's better to contact Nintendo Support for assistance.

I don't have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Can I still back up my saved data?

Nintendo only offers cloud saves via the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service. Your saves won't be automatically backed up if you don't have this service. There is no way to back up saves manually at the time of writing.

Image credit: Unsplash

Sydney Butler
Sydney Butler

Sydney Butler is a technology writer with a background in Psychology who has written for a wide variety of technology outlets including How-To-Geek, Online Tech Tips, Helpdesk Geek, 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, and many more. He has 25 years of technology troubleshooting experience as a technician and user-education practitioner.

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