How to buy a Nintendo Switch with firmware 3.0.0 so you can jailbreak it right now

Nintendo Switch out of the box
Nintendo Switch out of the box

If you've been waiting to buy a Nintendo Switch, or are looking to buy a second one, specifically for the purpose of jailbreaking it, there's good news and bad. Thanks to some work by a handful of creatives, Nintendo Switch is now capable of loading a Homebrew launcher for "Switchbrew" content. There's one catch, though. Your Switch system has to be running firmware 3.0.0 in order to download and install the jailbreak.

Before you go out and buy a jailbreaker Switch all willy-nilly, check out some important advice about how to make sure you're getting one that was packaged and distributed with version 3.0.0 (and not updated in the meantime).

Check the serial number

Serial number on Switch

Every Nintendo Switch comes with a unique identifier: a serial number. Luckily, that number can be found on the bottom of an unopened Switch in a viewable window.

Thanks to some very helpful community sharing, some in the Independent Gaming Community have come up with a confirmed list of serial numbers for Switch consoles running firmware 1.0.0 through 4.0.1. To jailbreak a switch right now, look for any Switch that is running firmware 3.0.0 or older. Use the list when shopping for a jailbreaker Switch and you'll (hopefully) find the right one.

Visit your local game store


Reddit users on Switch Haxing have noted that some Gamestops, in particular, are more likely to have older stock in the store, and therefore more likely to have a Switch running version 3.0.0. Head over to your local game store, whichever it is, and check the serial numbers of stock on the shelves. You might even ask to see if there is any stock in the back.

If you're looking at used Switches for sale, be sure to ask a staff member to turn on the Switch and show you the operating system version in the System Settings section under System. Used Switches are more likely to have had their operating system updated before being sold to the retailer.

Check Splatoon 2 Switches

Splatoon 2 Switch

This one is a bit risky, but some Reddit users on Switch Haxing claimed that they ordered a Splatoon 2 themed Switch on Amazon and received units running firmware 3.0.0 and older. Since you can't check the serial number in person and the Splatoon 2 themed Switch will run you about $450 on Amazon right now, it's a very high risk that I'm not sure is safe to take.

That being said, if you're local game store has the Splatoon 2 version of Nintendo Switch, it's probably better priced and you can actually check the serial number before buying it. So go for it!

Be careful buying a previously-owned Switch

Firmware on Switch

You can find used Switch consoles on reseller markets like eBay for great prices. Keep in mind that a used Switch, even one that was purchased on launch day, might not have an older firmware, no matter what the serial number might be. There's every possibility that the owner updated the software.

Don't buy a previously-owned Nintendo Switch unless the seller can prove that it hasn't been updated past version 3.0.0. Don't just ask for the serial number. Ask the seller to provide a picture of the System screen showing what version the firmware is. If the seller isn't willing to show that, find another seller that is.

Read more: How to update your Nintendo Switch from 1.0.0 to 3.0.0 so you can jailbreak it

Any advice?

Have you been successful at finding a Nintendo Switch on store shelves that is still running firmware 3.0.0? Share your success story in the comments.

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).