There are several reasons you might want to get rid of a Nintendo Switch this holiday season. You might be upgrading it because you’ve got a newer model (like the OLED-screen version); you might be regifting it to a friend or family member; or you might be trading it in or selling it. (If you’re looking to sell a device for some extra money, there are many options, but Decluttr is a good place to start.)
No matter the reason, you always want to make sure your Switch has been factory reset and all your personal info has been wiped from it.
Factory-resetting your console has many benefits, but the primary one is that returning your device to its original default settings protects any sensitive personal information that could be left on the system. Even though many people don’t store as much private information on their gaming consoles as on, say, a phone or computer, completing a factory reset is a good practice to safeguard against potential privacy issues.
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Before you reset…
Nintendo offers a couple of tips and suggestions that you should keep in mind before you reset. First, the company advises that resetting your Nintendo Switch should take about five minutes for consoles that are running system OS version 10.0.0 or higher.
Additionally, the company outlines what data will be lost if you initialize (Nintendo’s term for factory resetting) your Switch. This list is pretty straightforward, and includes save data, screenshots and user information that has been stored on the device.
To move your account and game saves to a new Switch, follow the detailed instructions here.
If you want to erase only specific pieces of data, you can use Nintendo’s Data Management settings to pick and choose what gets deleted while not having to fully reset your device.
It is important to note that your Switch must be connected to the internet while you are factory-resetting or initializing your device, and that your Nintendo accounts will be unlinked during the reset process.
How to reset your Switch
Resetting your Switch is a fairly simple process. All you have to do is go to System Settings on the main menu, scroll down to System and select it. Once you are in System, scroll down to the bottom of the menu and select Formatting Options. It is important to note that, if you have Parental Controls active on your Switch, you will be prompted to enter your Parental Control PIN after selecting Formatting Options.
After you’ve entered Formatting Options, you need to select Initialize Console to factory-reset your Switch. Read through the information that is presented to you on the screen and click Next. Finally, select Initialize to complete the process of factory-resetting your Nintendo Switch.
How Factory Reset Your Devices
Make sure to wipe personal data before selling, trading in or regifting your gear.