Skip to main content

How to use Animal Crossing amiibo in New Horizons

Animal Crossing New Horizons Amiibo
(Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

If you're like me, then you have an adorable set of Animal Crossing amiibo figures as well as Animal Crossing amiibo cards sitting around your house somewhere. Each figure or card can bring a specific villager to the game either for a photoshoot or so that you can invite them to become a permanent resident. What's more, using amiibo cards, you can invite one of the 390+ villagers to your island to recruit them. Even more functions are available to those who purchase the paid DLC.

If you've been playing for a while and still haven't found out how to use amiibo in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you can only use them once amiibo functionality has been unlocked. There are a few different places you can use amiibo including the Campsite, Harvey's Island, and The Roost cafe. On this page, we'll explain how to unlock amiibo functionality, what amiibo do in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and also explain how to use them.

The amiibo figures vs. the amiibo cards

There are a few different ways to use amiibo in New Horizons. We'll step you through how to unlock each amiibo-related activity and how to use amiibo to bring characters to your island.

(Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

There are over 400 Animal Crossing amiibo that you can use if you count the 18 NFC figures and the hundreds of Animal Crossing amiibo cards. Both the figures and the cards feature NFC chips and get scanned the same way using your Nintendo Switch. However, in New Horizons, the amiibo cards are more useful since they allow you to invite new villagers to your island. The amiibo figures are fun to collect, but they can only be used to invite the unique characters they depict to photoshoot sessions while you're on Harvey's Island.

If you have your heart set on inviting a specific villager to your island, you might want to scour eBay for a particular Animal Crossing amiibo card as many sellers will let you buy them individually. But be warned. Some of the more popular villagers' amiibo cards are incredibly pricey.

A full list of Animal Crossing amiibo cards can be found on Animal Crossing's official website.

Sanrio amiibo cards

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Now that the 1.9 update has gone live, Animal Crossing players can get six unique Sanrio villagers and their items by scanning Sanrio amiibo cards. Unfortunately, these cards are currently in limited supply and are hard to find.

New Series 5 Animal Crossing amiibo cards

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The newest wave of Animal Crossing amiibo cards released November 5, 2021. There are 48 new cards total and six come in each pack. This set includes the newest characters added into the Animal Crossing franchise via New Horizons. For instance, the fan-favorite Raymond, Shino, and others.

How to unlock amiibo in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

There are three different ways that amiibo can be used in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which means there are three different areas to unlock for amiibo usage. There's also a use for amiibo cards in the Happy Home Paradise DLC for those that purchase the expansion.  

Scanning areaWhat you can do thereHow to unlock
Harvey's IslandScanning an amiibo card or figurine brings the depicted character into Photopia for you to arrange and take pictures with. Upgrade Resident Services to a building then fly to Harv's Island.
Resident ServicesScanning an amiibo card here invites a Villager to your island. Scan three days total to make them permanent residents.Upgrade Resident Services to a building then use the kiosk.
Brewster's coffee breakScan the amiibo figures or cards to invite a character to chill at the café with you. Unlock the art wing of the museum and make sure you've donated at least one fossil, fish, bug, and art. Then talk to Blathers.
Happy Home ParadiseScanning the figure or card makes that character a client. Build seven vacation homes after your first facility.

Keep reading to learn more details about what each area offers along with more step-by-step instructions on how to unlock them. 

What can you do at Harvey's Island? Villager Photopia

Animal Crossing New Horizons Villagers

(Image credit: iMore)

If you've played Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you might recall a hippy dog named Harvey as one of the particular villagers. After a few days of playing in New Horizons, this dog will randomly appear on your island. Make sure you talk to him, and he'll invite you to visit his island home. The awesome thing is that the airport allows you to fly to him for free. No Nook Miles Tickets required.

(Image credit: iMore)

Instead of foraging for materials, bugs, and fish, Harvey's island only lets you walk into Harvey's house. Once inside, you'll be able to set up a scene in one of his rooms and take pictures with your favorite villagers. That is, as long as you have that villager on your island or have a corresponding amiibo to invite them with. You can place different furniture, change the lighting in the room, and position your favorite Animal Crossing villagers in various locations before taking pictures with them. You can have up to 10 animal villagers in one room at a time.

However, it should be noted that not every amiibo works with New Horizons. So far, the game has warned me that Digby and Resetti can't be invited to Photopia. This had also been the case for Reese, Cyrus, and Rover up until another update arrived. I'm guessing that any amiibo figures that currently don't work with New Horizons will be usable once future updates are released.

Animal Crossing New Horizons How To Use Amiibo (Image credit: iMore)

If you scan a character's amiibo figure or card into the game while at Harvey's Island, a poster depicting that character will becoming available to purchase at the NookStop in Resident Services. This works even for characters that I wasn't able to invite into Photopia. All you have to do is go up to the kiosk, select Nook Shopping, and then press R to view all available posters. Use these awesome images to spice up rooms in your home.

How to use amiibo at Harvey's Island

1. Talk to Orville at the airport and tell him I wanna fly.

(Image credit: iMore)

2. Next, tell him that you want to Visit Harv's Island.

Acnh How To Use Amiibo. Tell Orville Visit Harvey's Island (Image credit: iMore)

3. Confirm that it's Time for takeoff.

(Image credit: iMore)

4. After a brief cutscene, you'll find yourself on Harvey's Island. Enter Harv's house.

(Image credit: iMore)

5. Now that you're inside, you'll find six different rooms that you can take photos in. To use your amiibo, press the down button on the left side of your Switch.

(Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

6. Hover your amiibo figure or your amiibo card over the NFC reader. If you're playing in handheld mode, the NFC reader is near the right joystick. If you're playing with the Pro Controller, the NFC reader is over the Nintendo Switch logo. The characters you scan will appear in the room. You can have up to 10 animal villagers in a room at a time.

Acnh How To Use Amiibo. Scan your amiibo over the right joystick (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

7. While still in this viewing mode, hover over the character and more options will appear on the screen.

(Image credit: iMore)

8. You can make them emote by pressing ZR and then selecting one of your available Reactions.

(Image credit: iMore)

9. If you hold down A while highlighting a villager, you can pick them up and then place them somewhere else in the room.

(Image credit: iMore)

10. If you want to select multiple characters, hold down the R button and then highlight the characters you want to move.