How to transfer Nintendo Switch games to a microSD card

Official Licensed Sandisk Microsd Card Mario Mushroom
(Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

If you plan to download many games to your Nintendo Switch, the 32GB storage won't get you very far. However, by picking up a microSD card, you can expand your Switch's storage to better accommodate your downloading habits. If you have already downloaded games onto your Nintendo Switch system memory and you want to transfer them to your microSD card, you'll have to jump through a few hoops.

How to transfer Nintendo Switch games to a microSD card

It's not quite as easy as transferring a screenshot, but here's how you transfer Nintendo Switch game data to a new microSD card. 

1. You'll first need to turn your Switch off. Hold down the power button until this screen pops up.

2. Select Power Options.

(Image credit: iMore)

3. Select Turn Off.

(Image credit: iMore)

4. If you haven't done so already, now is when you want to insert your best microSD card into the Nintendo Switch console. The slot is located behind the kickstand.

(Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

5. Turn your Switch on by pressing the power button.

(Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

6. Select System Settings from your Switch's Home screen. 

7. Select Data Management. You'll need to scroll down a bit. 

(Image credit: iMore)

8. Select Manage Software.

9. Select the game you want to transfer.

(Image credit: iMore)

10. Select Archive Software.

11. Select Archive.

(Image credit: iMore)

12. Press Home button to go back to your Home screen. It's on the right Joy-Con underneath the thumbstick.

(Image credit: Rebecca Spear /iMore)

13. Select the archived game from your Home screen. 

14. Select Download.

(Image credit: iMore)

The game will download onto your microSD card automatically. Remember that you can play the game off the microSD card, but save data will always save to your system memory.

This is also useful for quickly transferring your games over if you've decided to upgrade your console. If you're now rocking a Nintendo Switch OLED, you don't want to redownload all those games. Spare yourself some pain and invest in a solid SD card to make the process simple.

Check out the best microSD cards available!

If you are planning on transferring games onto a microSD card, you will likely be in the market to buy one. If you're uncertain about which microSD card to get, read our article to know which size microSD card is best for Nintendo Switch.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend. 

With contributions from