Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

The Nintendo Switch’s mix of innovation and nostalgia pushed it into the hands and hearts of the greater game-playing public. While the direct, user-friendly interface makes it easy for a newcomer to play their favorite games, the beloved Mario machine still holds some surprises for even the most enfranchised player.

1 Change Your Region to Access Region-Restricted Games

Nintendo Switch Region Menu
Robert Griffey / How-To Geek

Anyone who has hunted down a Japan-only shooter knows the pain of region-locked games. That sinking feeling that arises as you realize that the freshly eBayed copy of Raiden DX is just expensive shelf decor.

But thanks to a small loophole courtesy of Nintendo, you can now access a broader selection of games by going to “System Settings” and simply changing the region under the “System” tab. Launch the eShop and grab whatever you like.

2 Check Your Battery Life Anytime

Have you looked up from your “just one quick Hades run” only to realize that darkness has fallen? Double-checking the battery life of your Switch mid-game to avoid lost progress is easier than you’d expect. When you press and hold down the Home button, a quick menu will pop up and display the current battery life alongside other options.

3 Make Additional Profiles

You can circumvent the one-save-per-game crisis by creating extra user profiles. Go to System Settings > Users, and then select “Add User.” Each profile maintains its own game progress and preferences, allowing you to experience different simultaneous playthroughs of your favorite games. We’re looking at you, Tears of the Kingdom.

4 Find Hidden Sounds on Unlock Screen

If you ever wanted to unlock your Switch to the sound of a honking clown horn or a series of other amusing sounds, then you are in luck. You can discover a series of similarly silly sound effects on the unlock screen by pressing ZL, ZR, or the control sticks.

5 Ease Eye Strain with Dark Mode

Nintendo Switch in Dark Mode
Robert Griffey / How-To Geek

The bright white background can start to strain even the strongest of eyes after a few hours. For a more comfortable viewing experience, especially at night, enable Dark Mode. Go to System Settings > Themes, and choose “Basic Black” to darken the home screen and menus.

6 Move Game Save Data to MicroSD Card

As games get larger, hard drive space becomes more precious. You can free up internal storage by transferring game save data to a microSD card. Once you insert a card of your choice, just head to System Settings > Data Management, and select “Move Data Between System/microSD Card.”

7 Pair Bluetooth Headphones

You can enjoy a wireless audio experience on the go by pairing Bluetooth headphones with your Switch. Head to System Settings > Bluetooth Audio, and follow the pairing instructions.

8 Pair Joy-Cons with Other Devices

Did you know Nintendo’s Joy-Cons can also be paired with your trusty smartphone, Mac, or PC? Hold down the sync button on the Joy-Con until the lights start flashing—indicating it’s in pairing mode—and connect it through the Bluetooth menu on your device.

9 Use a USB Keyboard

Top view of the Alienware Pro Wireless Keyboard with the caps and switches removed
Jerome Thomas / How-To Geek

Even with the comfortable size of the Switch’s keyboard, touchscreen typing can feel a bit sterile. Thankfully, the Switch allows you to simply plug the keyboard of your choice into one of the USB ports on the dock. The console should be able to read it as a peripheral, and you are set for a more satisfying typing experience.

10 Find a Lost Joy-Con

Have you ever woken up after a wild night of caffeinated beverages and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe to find that one of your Joy-Cons has disappeared? Head over to “Controllers” on the home screen and select “Find Controllers.” Use the vibration function to help locate the missing controller.

11 Perform a Hard Reset

It’s a rare occasion that a Switch will freeze to a degree that necessitates any action. If the situation arises, a hard reset should resolve most issues. Hold the power button down for about 12 seconds until the console powers off, wait a few moments, and then press the power button again to restart your system.

12 Adjust Brightness Quickly

You don’t need to break your concentration if you’re on-the-go and the screen becomes harder to see because the ambient light keeps changing. You can adjust the screen brightness quickly by holding down the Home button during gameplay. A quick menu will appear, allowing you to adjust the brightness without exiting your game.

You can also enable auto-brightness here, which will adjust the brightness automatically as the light conditions change.

13 Remap the Buttons on Your Joy-Cons

For all of us who are sent into a fit of rage by an A-mapped jump button, you can customize your Joy-Con button layout by going to System Settings > Controllers and Sensors, and then selecting “Change Button Mapping.” From there, you can change the controls to suit your play style.

14 Save Battery by Changing Sleep Settings

You can easily extend the battery life of your Switch by setting a shorter duration for sleep mode. Conserve power by going to System Settings > Sleep Mode, and choosing “Auto-Sleep (Playing on Console Screen)” and insulate yourself from the pitfalls of a dead-system surprise.

15 See How Long You’ve Played a Game

Whether you’re worried you’ve spent too much time speed-running Metroid Dread or just need hard proof to win an argument with a significant other, you can check your playtime by selecting your user icon on the home screen and choosing “Profile.” This will show you an estimate of the number of hours you’ve sunk into each game.

16 Send a Screenshot to Your Phone with a QR Code

Sharing and saving in-game screenshots is made super simple with a QR code. Open the “Album” on the Home screen, select the screenshot, and choose Sharing and Editing > Send to Smartphone to generate a code to send to others or keep to yourself.

17 Transfer Data to a New Switch

ROG Ally Next to OELD Switch
Sydney Butler / How-To Geek

The ROG Ally next to an OLED Nintendo Switch. Both devices offer impressive screens in their own right.

Upgrading to an OLED Switch? Transfer user and save data to a new Switch by going to System Settings > Users, and then “Transfer Your User and Save Data.” Follow the prompts to move data wirelessly between consoles.

18 Turn on Your TV

If you’re tired of having to press a confusing series of buttons to boot up your entire entertainment system, the Switch can do it for you. In the “System Settings” menu, select “TV Settings,” and toggle “Match TV Power State” on. Now you can turn on your TV and Switch by pressing the Home button on your Joy-Con or Pro Controller and prove to yourself just how over-rated standing and moving actually is.

19 Voice Chat with Friends

Outside of exceptions like Fortnite, the Switch has a very limited ability to allow in-game voice chat. Luckily, you can keep up with your friends during multiplayer gaming sessions by using the Nintendo Switch Online app. Download the app for iPhone or Android, add your friends, and you are ready to talk.

20 Zoom Function

The Switch has a handy zoom feature for anyone who finds it difficult to read its tiny stock. Enable it by going to System Settings > System, and then turning on “Zoom.” Once activated, you can zoom in during game-play by pressing the Home button twice.

Want even more Nintendo Switch tips? Learn how to customize your Home Screen, how to charge your console without a dock, and what to do if your Switch won’t turn on.

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By John P.

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