How to Reset Nintendo Switch

Restart your console without losing your games

The Nintendo Switch is a fairly resilient games console, but for those rare occasions when you run into a major issue (or you're planning to sell it), it's useful to know how to reset it. Here's how to reset various parts of the console, as well as how to perform a factory reset, completely wiping out its contents.

The instructions in this guide apply to both the standard Nintendo Switch console and the Nintendo Switch Lite.

Why Do You Need to Reset a Nintendo Switch?

It's a question worth thinking about—why do you need to reset your Switch? Is it acting up? Is there a specific problem? Are you wiping the contents so you can sell it? Each of our solutions covers a different issue. 

Don't rush into anything until you know exactly what you want to do. Some of these solutions can be permanent. 

How to Perform a Hard Reset on a Nintendo Switch

If your console won't start up or come out of sleep mode, try performing a hard reset before anything else. Here's how:

  1. With the system powered down, hold the power button until the console resets. This can take up to 15 seconds. 

    Nintendo Switch console with the power button highlighted
  2. Release the power button, then press it once to start the console like normal.

  3. Your console should boot up without any issue. Congrats!

How to Reset the Nintendo Switch's Cache

Like any internet-connected device, the Nintendo Switch has a cache that stores all your IDs, passwords, and browsing history. Sometimes, you might want to delete all this so no one else can check it or simply due to security concerns. Here's how:

  1. On your Nintendo Switch home screen, select Settings.

    Nintendo Switch Home Screen highlighting Settings cog
  2. Scroll down and select System on the left-hand menu.

    Nintendo Switch System Settings screen
  3. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the screen, and select Formatting Options.

    Nintendo Switch System Options with Formatting Options highlighted
  4. Select Clear Cache.

    Nintendo Switch Formatting Options screen

    From here, you can also delete the keyboard's learned predictions and select Reset Keyboard instead.

  5. Select Reset.

    Nintendo Switch Reset Cache Screen

How to Reset Your Nintendo Switch Without Losing Your Game Saves

If you need to reset your Nintendo Switch more comprehensively than simply clearing the cache, there's the option to delete everything from your console except for your game save data, screenshots, videos, and user information. 

This is the best option when your Nintendo Switch is running into issues, but you don't want to lose everything while fixing it. Think of it like Safe Mode on a PC.

  1. Turn the console off.

  2. Hold down the volume up and volume down buttons, then press the power button.

    Nintendo Switch's physical power and volume buttons
  3. Continue holding them until Recovery Mode loads on your Nintendo Switch.

    Nintendo Switch Recovery Mode
  4. Select Restore Factory Settings Without Deleting Save Data > Next.

  5. Wait for the console to finish resetting, restoring it to factory settings.

How to Reset Your Nintendo Switch to Factory Settings Using Recovery Mode

If you're selling your Nintendo Switch, it's sensible to restore it to factory settings and delete all your files so the new owner can't access them. 

This is a permanent fix. It erases all your data, including all save files, game downloads, and your linked Nintendo Account. Only perform this restore if you're absolutely certain you don't mind losing these files.

  1. Use the previous instructions to put your Switch into Recovery Mode.

  2. From there, select Restore Factory Settings > Continue.

  3. Wait for the console to finish erasing all of your data. 

How to Factory Reset Nintendo Switch From the Settings Menu

Alternatively, you can perform a full reset from the console's Settings menu. Here's how:

  1. On your Nintendo Switch home screen, select Settings.

    Nintendo Switch Home Screen with Settings highlighted
  2. Scroll down and select System on the left-hand menu.

    Nintendo Switch System Settings
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and select Formatting Options.

    Nintendo Switch Formatting Options
  4. Select Restore Factory Settings > Next.

    Nintendo Switch Formatting Options screen with Restore Factory Settings highlighted
  5. Wait for the console to finish erasing all your data.

    This process also unlinks your Nintendo account from the system.