Which size microSD card is best for Nintendo Switch?
Best answer: The amount of memory you need depends on how many Switch games you buy and whether they are physical or digital copies. We recommend no less than a 64GB microSD card for either format, but anyone who only purchases digital games should invest in a larger one.
How much internal storage does the Nintendo Switch have?
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The Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite only offer 32GB of internal storage, while the Switch OLED isn't much better, with only 64GB. That's a bit of a problem given that many of the best Nintendo Switch games require 10+ GB of space.
For instance, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Pokémon Sword and Shield take up 13.4GB and 10.3GB of space, respectively. You'll quickly run out of room after about three large Switch games on Switch or Switch Lite. It isn't much better on Switch OLED since you'll run out of room after roughly six large games.
If you mainly purchase digital games or buy a lot of physical copies, you will want a larger microSD card regardless of which system you have. It will take you a bit longer to run out of space if you're purchasing physical copies, but if you plan on playing several Switch games, then you're going to need a microSD card soon enough.
Minimum recommended microSD card size for Nintendo Switch
Our recommendation is to go no smaller than 64GB. This comfortable size lets you hold a few big games at around 14GB each, a few medium-sized games at around half that mark, and a smattering of smaller games to fill out the bottom.
You should expect to delete, archive, and reinstall Nintendo Switch games sometime in the future at that size. You'll get by just fine as long as you are OK regularly downloading your games as they rotate in your playing list. Don't forget that you can simultaneously use the internal and external storage, so think of it as having 96GB! Of course, if you plan on playing several Switch games, we recommend you go larger than that.
The right microSD card size for digital Switch games
Considering that Nintendo Switch games are launching with bigger and bigger file sizes every week, anyone who prefers downloading digital games should try to aim for the biggest microSD card they can afford. We highly recommend getting a 256GB card. It has the space to hold plenty of saved data, screenshots, and videos.
Of course, if you have all the games in the world and want to play any of them at a moment's notice, you'll want to look at something much larger, like a 512GB card for maximum storage.
The right microSD card size for physical Switch games
The Nintendo Switch is one of the few gaming consoles remaining that doesn't install game data when using physical media (cartridges). As such, the 32GB of internal storage inside might be more than enough if you're only planning on buying a few physical copies here and there.
Now, if you're planning on purchasing a tangible copy of just about every major title that Nintendo releases, you'll run out of the Switch's internal storage and will want to invest in a large microSD card. I am partial to the SanDisk 128GB card, as it has allowed me to acquire and play several physical versions of Switch games without having to archive or uninstall anything.
Officially licensed microSD cards
Nintendo partnered with SanDisk to produce officially licensed microSD cards for Switch. These include a wide range of cards with various game designs on them. There's a 64GB card with a Zelda logo on it, a 128GB card with a Mario mushroom, and if you really want a ton of space, there's a 512GB card with an Animal Crossing leaf on it.
These officially licensed SanDisk microSD cards often go on sale on popular retailers like Amazon and Best Buy. In particular, the Mario 128GB card often sells at a reasonable price that is lower than other competitors of the same size.
Tips for buying a trustworthy microSD card
There are hundreds of memory cards for sale on the internet, but that doesn't mean that you should go for the cheapest option you can find. It's possible that cheaper cards could have malware or won't work nearly as well as others. To keep yourself safe, only purchase from trusted sellers, and be sure to check reviews for a microSD card before deciding on a purchase. We highly recommend purchasing memory cards from the following brands:
- Silicon Power
Transferring game data from one microSD card to another
Unfortunately, the process for transferring your game data from one microSD card to another isn't the most intuitive thing. Whether upgrading your storage or just wanting to go with a different memory card, you will need to use a computer to make this transfer possible. While it isn't easy, it is possible if you follow the right steps.
The microSD cards to get for Nintendo Switch
Since the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite only have 32GB of internal storage and the Switch OLED isn't much better with 64GB, you will need to purchase a microSD card if you plan on purchasing several large Switch titles. If you tend to buy more digital versions, you'll want a larger microSD card, while those who buy cartridges won't need as big of a memory card to get the job done.
Fast, solid, and balanced.
This SanDisk card won't break the bank. Its size for the price makes it a great value, and it offers a balance of speed and capacity.
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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.
- Alex HuebnerContributor