Pokémon Sword and Shield: How to delete your game and start over

Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite with Pokemon Sword and Shield on screens.
(Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

Now that Pokémon Sword and Shield have been out for a while and have proven to be some of the best Nintendo Switch games out there, you might have run through the game and beaten it already. Or, maybe life has just been so busy that you put the game aside for a while and finally have time to play again. If you want to start over from the beginning, you'll have to delete your game data. 

Since the game automatically launches into your file instead of going to a menu, it isn't immediately obvious how to delete your save data, but it is possible. You can use this same method to delete any other Pokémon games on Nintendo Switch.

How to delete your game Pokémon Sword and Shield

Follow these steps to delete your Pokémon Sword or Shield data and then start over. 

  1. From your Nintendo Switch's home screen, select System Settings.

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  1. Scroll down to Data Management.

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  1. On the right side of the screen, scroll down to Delete Save Data.

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  1. A list of your save files will appear. Click on Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield.

Pokemon Sword and Shield how to delete a game (Image credit: iMore)
  1. This screen will appear. Click Delete Save Data for (your user name).

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  1. Your Switch will remind you that deleted save data cannot be recovered. Click Delete Save Data.

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  1. Your save data will be deleted. When the process is done, select OK.

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  1. To get back to the Home menu, press the Home button on your right Joy-Con.

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  1. To start a new game, simply select Pokémon Sword or Shield from the main menu.

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  1. Enjoy your game!

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Once you complete a playthrough of Sword and Shield, you'll likely want to start the game over. Successfully delete your save data and you can experience the story of the Galar region all over again. Good luck catching your favorite Pokémon and becoming the Champion. Maybe you'll see creatures you didn't see last time you played.

How to delete your game Pokémon Sword and Shield

It's no wonder that Sword and Shield are listed among the best Nintendo Switch games of all time. The base premise of catching elemental creatures that can evolve and grow more powerful is incredibly exciting. Then of course, there is the possibility of catching rare creatures like shiny Pokémon or those with high EVs.

Just remember that the starters — Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble — are all shiny locked at the start of the game. So restarting over and over again will not net you a different colored starter. Your best chance of getting a shiny version of these Pokémon is by breeding eggs at the nursery.

If you haven't already experienced the Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass, then this might be the perfect opportunity to do so. There are additional Pokémon to catch and new locations to discover, including a tropical island with a dojo and a snowy mountaintop filled with Legendary Pokémon.

Additional Equipment

I use all of the following accessories with my Switch, and they make my gaming experience a lot easier. See if any of them catch your eye.

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.