How to Perform a Hard Reset on Your Nintendo 3DS

Learn How to Troubleshoot a Locked up 3DS

Picture of a Nintendo 3DS
Minh Hoang/Flickr/CC 2.0

It might sound hard at first, but learning how to reset your Nintendo 3DS is actually really easy. Once you've reset the 3DS, you should be able to get into it normally without any problems.

How do you know if you need to reset your Nintendo 3DS? Like any computer, tablet, or other handheld video game console, it can crash or lock up and prevent you from using it.

If your Nintendo 3DS (or 3DS XL or 2DS) handheld video game system freezes while you're in the middle of playing a game, you will probably need to perform a hard reset in order to bring the system back to life.

A hard reset is not the same as resetting the 3DS back to factory default settings. A hard reset is just a full reboot. See the difference between reboot and reset to learn more.

If you just need to reset the PIN on your 3DS, that's a separate tutorial.

How to Hard Reset a Nintendo 3DS

  1. Press and hold down the Power button until the 3DS turns off. This may take about 10 seconds.

  2. Press the Power button again to turn the 3DS back on.

In most cases, this will reset the 3DS and you can return to playing your game.

Check for Updates to Nintendo eShop Software

If the 3DS freezes only when you use one specific game or application that you downloaded from the eShop, go to the eShop and check for an update.

  1. Select the Nintendo eShop icon from the Home menu.

  2. Tap Open.

  3. Choose Menu at the top of the screen.

  4. Scroll and select Settings / Other.

  5. In the History section, tap Updates.

  6. Look for your game or app and see if it has an Update icon next to it. If it does, tap Update.

If you had already installed the most current update to the game or app, delete it and download it again.

Use the Nintendo 3DS Download Repair Tool

When the 3DS freezes only when you play a specific game or app you downloaded from the eShop, and updating it doesn't help, you can use the Nintendo 3DS Download Software Repair Tool.

  1. Select the Nintendo eShop icon from the Home menu.

  2. Tap the Menu icon at the top of the screen

  3. Scroll and select Settings / Other.

  4. In the History section, select Redownloadable Software.

  5. Tap Your Downloads.

  6. Locate the game you want to repair and click Software Info next to it.

  7. Tap Repair Software and then tap OK to check for errors. You can choose to repair the software even if no errors are found.

  8. When the software check is finished, tap OK and Download to start the repair. The software download does not overwrite the saved data.

  9. To finish, click Continue and the Home button.

If you're still having issues, contact Nintendo's customer service department