How to Set up and Use a Nintendo Switch Microphone

Voice chat with peeps while playing your favorite games

A young man playing a video game while wearing a headset with a microphone and headphones.

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The Nintendo Switch may make it easy to play with others online, but there’s no denying that this console makes actually communicating with others via a microphone incredibly confusing and convoluted.

Unlike the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, which feature traditional native voice chat options built into each system, the Nintendo Switch often requires the use of additional apps or devices to get online communication to work and sometimes doesn’t support native voice chat for some games at all.

Here’s everything you need to know about each method for chatting with other gamers via mic on a Nintendo Switch console.

Use the Audio Jack With a Nintendo Switch Gaming Headset

Each Nintendo Switch console features an audio jack along its top and a USB-C port on its bottom. Both of these can be used to connect compatible earphones or headphones and they also support most microphone models as well.

Microphones connected to either port can be used to voice chat natively while playing either Fortnite or Warframe. All you really need to do is plug in the microphone and begin talking. No Nintendo Online subscription is required.

When your Nintendo Switch is docked for TV play, you can also connect a USB mic to the USB port on the dock for voice chat.

Unfortunately, Fortnite and Warframe are the only video games that support microphone chat via this method. It’s also incredibly unstable in Fortnite with the game often not registering a mic at all on random occasions.

What We Like

  • Very easy to connect your microphone to the Nintendo Switch.

  • Doesn’t require a Nintendo Online subscription to work.

  • Basic earphone models with built-in microphones can be used.

What We Don't Like

  • This voice chat method only works with Fortnite and Warframe.

  • Fortnite voice chat is incredibly unstable on the Switch.

  • Wireless headsets aren’t supported.

Nintendo Switch Voice Chat Online App

Nintendo runs its own first-party voice chat solution, but it's incredibly limited and convoluted. It requires the use of an iOS or Android device, the Nintendo Switch Online app, and an active Nintendo Switch Online subscription.

While it’s definitely more complex than simply plugging your mic into your Nintendo Switch and talking, it does work well and supports all headphones and mics you can connect to your smart device, including Bluetooth headsets and mics. You can also use your device’s built-in microphone for voice chat, which is useful for those times when you can’t find your accessories.

The downside, though, is it requires a paid monthly subscription and it only supports around 10 or so games.

What We Like

  • Most major Nintendo video games are supported.

  • Bluetooth microphones are supported.

  • Supports smartphone and tablet built-in mics.

What We Don't Like

  • The number of supported titles is ridiculously small.

  • Requires a Nintendo Switch Online subscription.

  • Using a Nintendo Switch and smartphone for gaming at the same time is messy.

Use Third-Party Gaming Chat Apps with Nintendo Switch

Ironically, the most-popular way to voice chat with a microphone while playing video games on a Nintendo Switch is to use a third-party app on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Using another voice chat service or app is often completely free, can be used while you’re playing any video game, and can also involve friends on other consoles like the Xbox One and PS4. What’s more, this method can support most headset and microphone models if using a smart device.

Pretty much all models are supported when using a modern computer or laptop.

When using an app on a smart device for voice chat, make sure to connect to Wi-Fi so you don’t use all of your cellular data.

Essentially, all you need to do to voice chat via this method is have all of your friends download the same app onto their devices, then begin a group call or chat.

Here are some of the most-popular apps used for video game voice chats:

  • Discord: An incredibly popular service that supports free text-based chat rooms and group calls.
  • WhatsApp: One of the most-popular phone call alternative apps. Also great for video game voice chats.
  • Skype: Not very popular with kids nowadays, but most parents will already have an account they can use.
  • Xbox. The official Xbox app on iOS, Android, and Windows 10 supports voice chat. A good option if you have a lot of Xbox Live friends.
  • Line. Line is kind of the WhatsApp of Japan and is popular with those who live in Japan and international users interested in Japanese culture, anime, and video games. It can support group calls with up to 200 people.

Until Nintendo introduces better support for mics, headsets, and voice chat, this third method is the best way to communicate while playing games on the Nintendo Switch for now.

What We Like

  • Using these apps is completely free.

  • Supports communication with friends on different platforms.

  • Voice chat continues when changing games or turning off the Switch.

  • All microphone and headset models supported.

What We Don't Like

  • Using an additional device for voice chat may frustrate some.

  • Initial planning with friends can take a while.

What’s a Good Nintendo Switch Gaming Headset?

When looking for a mic for Nintendo Switch, it’s important to keep in mind which method you’ll be using to voice chat with your friends. In general, any microphone or headset with support for a 3.5mm audio jack will work on a Nintendo Switch, in addition to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Android devices, and computers.

If you’re planning to use an iPhone or iPad for Nintendo Switch voice chat, make sure to check the port at the bottom of the device, as newer models no longer support 3.5mm connections. They use Apple’s proprietary lightning port instead.

While there are several Nintendo Switch-branded microphones and headsets, such as the Turtle Beach Recon 70N Gaming Headset for Nintendo Switch, you don’t need to buy one of these to voice chat.