Nintendo Switch troubleshooting: The ultimate guide

Two Nintendo Switch consoles
Two Nintendo Switch consoles (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

Playing your Nintendo Switch console should be an easy and relaxing experience. But as technology goes, sometimes you may run into a problem that you aren't sure how to fix. We've compiled all your potential Switch issues into one spot so you can quickly find your problem and solve it — then get back to enjoying your console.

My controller got jammed on the wrist strap!

Nintendo Joy Con Strap

Nintendo Joy Con Strap (Image credit: Alex Huebner / iMore)

We've been there: you're so excited to play a game that you quickly throw together your Joy-Con straps and all of a sudden it clicks. You look and it's not attached how it should be. Don't tug and pull in despair! There's a surprisingly easy way to fix a jammed Switch controller.

It may feel like they will never separate but don't worry, they will and nothing is broken. You will get back to playing in a matter of minutes.

My Switch is HOT, like maybe too hot?!

Hot, portable technology has been an issue for many years now. Hearing the horror stories of overheated equipment may have you worried that your Switch is running too hot. We used a thermal camera to put that to the test and put your fears to rest.

My Joy-Cons seem too loose when I snap them into the Switch. Is that normal?

When you're playing in handheld mode you may feel that the Joy-Cons are loose on your Nintendo Switch. A slight wiggle is nothing to be concerned about, but if the controller seems like it isn't actually attached that's a different story. If you're still feeling that much give after making sure it's in the right place, you have a problem.

Why is the sound on my television out of sync with my Switch game?

It's very distracting when the sound of any media doesn't match up with the visuals. If you're finding your Switch game sound is lagging behind the picture while you're playing docked, there are a few ways you may be able to fix it. They're pretty simple steps from rebooting your Switch to changing your TV settings and are easy to follow.

The Switch keeps changing the channel on my TV

Whenever your Switch is activated it causes the TV to change to the channel your Nintendo Switch is setup to run through. This is supposed to be a convenient feature but if it is happening on accident regularly it may not feel so convenient. Luckily it is a setting that you can change so your Switch will stop taking over your television.

The dock is scratching my Switch, how do I stop it?!

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch (Image credit: iMore)

A downside to the way the Nintendo Switch dock is built is that this is a common problem. If the plastic of the dock rubs the plastic of the screen it is prone to damaging the display. The best way to protect your console's screen is with one of the best screen protectors or a dock sock to cover the screen while docked.

I want my Switch to stop changing the screen brightness. Help?

A default setting when you get your Nintendo Switch is that it will change the screen brightness based on the light in the room. While this may work around the house, it may not work everywhere. Or maybe you just prefer your screen to be a different brightness level than what the sensors determine is right. You can turn off the auto-brightness setting and adjust the brightness to your liking.

My Switch has completely frozen and nothing works, what can I do?

Some users have reported having a strange situation where their Nintendo Switch randomly stops working no matter what button you hit. This includes the power button. We do have a few ways to fix your Nintendo Switch if it's frozen so you can get back to gaming.

I'm worried I might break the Switch kickstand!

This is understandable as it is a very thin piece of plastic. However, it does seem to be pretty hardy! But in the case you do manage to take it off your Switch, it is possible that it's not broken since it's removable. I know you think you might break it, but the likelihood is that you're not going to snap the kickstand off your Switch.

I accidentally bought a game that I don't want. How do I return it?

Nintendo Switch eshop

Nintendo eShop (Image credit: iMore)

So, let's just say it depends. For physical games this is pretty simple, as long as you didn't open it you can probably return it to the store you bought from. For eShop digital games, Nintendo is very strict on their no refunds for digital games policy.

Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons

Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

These Joy-Con controllers are just too small. They're cramping my style...and my hands!

There are a lot of mixed reviews on how people feel about the Joy-Con controllers. If you're among those who think the Joy-Cons cramp your hands, or are otherwise uncomfortable, there are things you can do to help. Having a good comfort grip or thumb grip can make a big difference in how it feels to your hand.

What's this blinking green light on my Switch dock, and how do I fix it?

Every Nintendo Switch comes with a green indicator light. When it's solid it means your connection is as it should be. When it's blinking while in the dock that is a bad sign. Your instinct may be to contact Nintendo about a repair, but there are a few quicker solutions that you may want to try first.

How to fix controller drift on your Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons

The most prevalent issue: the Joy-Con drift. Having your character and surroundings moving in ways you aren't telling them to makes enjoying a game impossible. This can happen on any controller but there are ways to fix it if your Joy-Cons seem to be drifting.

I'm running out of memory on my Nintendo Switch

MicroSD Nintendo Switch

MicroSD Nintendo Switch (Image credit: iMore)

The Nintendo Switch is not limited to memory storage that comes with the console and expanding your memory with one of the best microSD cards isn't that expensive. This saves you the trouble of deleting your old games and you can even move them to the microSD card.

From troubleshooting to enjoyment

These issues can put a damper on your experience while you're trying to play, but luckily they're temporary. You don't have to fight with the system and try to figure out your issue alone. With these guides you'll be getting back to relaxing and playing in no time.

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.