How to Transfer Save Data Between Users on the Nintendo Switch

There are a handful of ways to transfer data on the Switch

Two Nintendo Switch controllers on a wooden table

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If you're thinking about getting a new Switch Lite, you might want to know how to transfer Nintendo Switch save data and user data from one Switch to another. It's possible to transfer your Nintendo Switch games to a microSD card, or you can use the Switch's built-in NFC capabilities. You can also back up your Switch save data to the cloud.

Instructions in this article apply to the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite.

Can You Transfer Nintendo Switch Save Data Between Users?

While it's possible to transfer user and save data between Switch consoles, you cannot share save data between different user profiles. In other words, if you're playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on one user profile, you can't copy your save file to another player's profile. You can, however, access your games and save data via your user profile across multiple consoles, so long as they're linked to your Nintendo account. Each Switch can have up to eight Nintendo accounts and user profiles associated with it.

While your Nintendo account can be linked to multiple Switch consoles, only one can be your primary system. When playing on a non-primary system, you must be connected to the internet to play titles you've downloaded unless you have the game data saved to an SD card.

Since the Switch Lite is meant to be played on-the-go, consider making it your primary device so you don't have to worry about finding a Wi-Fi connection. Log in to your Nintendo account via a web browser to change your primary console.

How to Transfer Save Data Between Switch Consoles

To transfer save data between two Nintendo Switch systems, both consoles should be connected to the internet and in close proximity to one another:

  1. Select System Settings on the home screen of the source console.

    Select System Settings from the main menu on the source console.
  2. Select Data Management > Transfer Your Save Data.

    Select Data Management > Transfer Your Save Data.
  3. Select Send Save Data to Another Console.

    Select Send Save Data to Another Console.
  4. Select a user account, then select the save data you wish to transfer.

    Select a user account, then choose the save data you want to transfer.
  5. On the other Nintendo Switch, navigate to System Settings > Data Management > Transfer Your Save Data and select Receive Save Data.

    On the other Switch console, go to System Settings > Data Management > Transfer Your Save Data and select Receive Save Data.

How to Back Up Nintendo Switch Save Data to the Cloud

If you have a Nintendo Switch Online account, you can back up your Switch save data to the cloud. That way, you can download your save data on another console linked to your Nintendo account without going through the process described above.

  1. On the home screen, highlight the game you want to back up and press plus (+) on the Switch controller.

  2. Select Save Data Cloud and choose your user profile to copy the save data to your Nintendo Switch Online account.

    Press plus and select Save Data Cloud to back up your save data to your Nintendo Switch Online account.
  3. On the other system, download your save files by going to System Settings > Data Management > Save Data Cloud.

    On the other system, download your save files by going to System Settings > Data Management > Save Data Cloud.

How to Transfer User Data Between Switch Consoles

To transfer user data between Switch consoles without an SD card:

  1. Select System Settings from the home screen of the console containing your user data.

    Select System Settings from the main menu on the console with your user data.
  2. Select Users > Transfer Your User Data.

    Select Users > Transfer Your User Data.
  3. Select Next.

    Select Next.
  4. Select Next again.

    Select Next again.
  5. Select Source Console.

    Select Source Console.
  6. Select Continue.

    Select Continue.
  7. Repeat steps 1-4 on the other Switch system, then select Target Console.

    Repeat steps 1-4 on the other Switch system, then select Target Console.
  8. After the source console detects the target console, select Transfer on the source console.

    Once the source console detects the target console, select Transfer on the source console.

How to Transfer Nintendo Switch Data to an SD Card

You can transfer games and other software you've purchased through the Nintendo eShop to a microSD card for use on another Switch console:

  1. With your Nintendo Switch turned off, insert the microSD card into the back of the system.

    With your Nintendo Switch turned off, insert the microSD card into the back of the system.
  2. Power on your Switch and select System Settings on the home screen.

    Power on your Switch and select System Settings on the home screen.
  3. Scroll down and select Data Management > Manage Software.

    Scroll down and select Data Management > Manage Software.
  4. Select the games you wish to transfer.

    Select the games you wish to transfer.
  5. Select Archive Software.

    Select Archive Software.
  6. Select Archive.

    Select Archive.
  7. Select OK, then press the Home button on your Switch controller to return to the home screen.

    Select OK, then press the Home button on your Switch controller to return to the home screen.
  8. Select the game from the home screen, then select Download to save the game data to the SD card.

    Insert the SD card into the other Switch console, select the game from the home screen, then select Download.

    When a microSD card is inserted in the Nintendo Switch, it becomes the default destination for downloaded software.

  9. You can now insert the SD card into a non-primary console to play the game without an internet connection.

While you can play games off the microSD card, save data will always be stored to the Switch's internal memory. It is not possible to transfer save data via SD card.