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How to transfer user data from one Nintendo Switch device to another

Nintendo Switch Lite Transfer To Oled Model
(Image credit: iMore)

Whether you are getting a new Switch Lite, Nintendo Switch V2, or Switch OLED model, you'll want to keep your old user settings and save data when you move to your new Switch. No worries, while it may seem like a daunting task, it can be done relatively easily. The process is the same regardless of which Switch you are using. Here's how to make the transfer.

What you need to know before you transfer

  • You'll need both the old and new Switch consoles to perform the transfer.
  • Both the old and new Switch need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
  • Both the old and new Switch need to be charging with an AC adapter.
  • The firmware for both the old and new Switch must be 9.0 or higher.
  • The old Switch has to have a Nintendo account linked to it.
  • The new Switch can't already be linked to the same Nintendo account that you want to transfer data from (you'll connect to the new Switch during the transfer process).
  • The new Switch can't have more than seven users already set up (the Switch's user limit is eight).
  • The new Switch has to have enough internal storage space to support the new data.
  • Once the transfer is completed, the data won't be on the old Switch anymore. You can't have it on both.
  • Screenshots and video captures saved to internal memory won't be transferred. They will stay on the old Switch. However, anything on your microSD card will stay on the card.
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons game data cannot be transferred this way. You will need to use a special transfer tool to get your island on the new Switch. Do this before you transfer your user data to your new console.
  • Some Nintendo games, including Pokémon games, do not back up to the cloud and therefore, your save data for those games cannot be transferred to a new Switch.

Step 1: Start on the old Switch

Make sure both Switches are on and plugged in during this process.

1. Select System Settings from the Home screen on your Nintendo Switch.

2. Select Users from the side menu.

(Image credit: iMore)

3. Select Transfer Your User Data.

(Image credit: iMore)

4. Select Next.

(Image credit: iMore)

5. Select Next.

(Image credit: iMore)

6. Select Source Console to identify that this is the device you'll transfer data from.

(Image credit: iMore)

7. Select the account you want to transfer.

(Image credit: iMore)

8. Select Continue.

(Image credit: iMore)

9. You will see this screen. Now it's time to turn to the new Switch.

(Image credit: iMore)

Step 2: Continue on the new Switch

Now pick up the new Switch and follow the next set of steps.

1. Select System Settings from the Home screen on your Nintendo Switch.

2. Select Users from the side menu.

(Image credit: iMore)

3. Select Transfer Your User Data.

(Image credit: iMore)

4. Select Next.

(Image credit: iMore)

5. Select Next.

(Image credit: iMore)

6. Select Target Console to identify that this is the device you'll transfer data to.

(Image credit: iMore)

7. Select Sign In.

(Image credit: iMore)

8. Select your preferred Sign in method.

(Image credit: iMore)

9. Enter your login credentials.

(Image credit: iMore)

10. Select Sign in.

(Image credit: iMore)

11. Select Next.

(Image credit: iMore)

12. You will see this screen. Now it's time to head back to the old Switch.

(Image credit: iMore)

Step 3: End the process on the old Switch

At this point, the old Switch should start talking to the new Switch to initiate the transfer. Pick up your old Switch to complete the process.

1. Select Transfer to start the data transfer.

(Image credit: iMore)

2. Wait for the transfer to finish. It might take some time depending on how much data you have stored on your old Switch.

(Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

(Image credit: iMore)

3. Select End on both devices once the transfer is complete.

(Image credit: iMore)

Now, all save data that can be moved over has done so. However, if you play Animal Crossing: New Horizons, that save data will not have transferred yet. You'll need to do something extra to bring your island to the new Switch.

How to transfer your Animal Crossing island to a new Switch

(Image credit: iMore)

For whatever reason, Nintendo didn't make it so that Animal Crossing: New Horizons can back up to the cloud. However, the Japanese gaming company has released an Island Transfer tool to help you bring your island and villagers to your new Switch. You'll need to first download the tool on your old Switch, backup the data there, then download the tool on the new Switch, and transfer the island to it.

Watch the video instead

If you're more of a visual person, check out Nintendo's three-minute video showing the steps on both the source and target Switch devices.

Switching it up

Congratulations, you've made the transfer. Now you'll be able to continue playing from your current game saves on your new Switch device. Just keep in mind that screenshots and videos don't transfer over. If you're going to use a new microSD card on your new Switch then you might want to transfer your data from one microSD card to another

I initially used this process to transfer my original Switch to the new Switch V2. I later used this same process to transfer my account to my Switch Lite. It will also work on the Switch OLED model.