How to Solve Common Nintendo Switch Problems

Fix common Nintendo Switch problems yourself

The release of the Nintendo Switch in 2017 was remarkably smooth compared to the disasters of the past, but it hasn't been without a few issues. If you experience one of these common problems with your Switch, you can take steps to fix it yourself.

The Left Joy-Con Has Connection Problems

One of the most common problems of the Nintendo Switch is a flaky left Joy-Con controller. The Joy-Con works properly most of the time, but intermittently, it disconnects for a few seconds. This is a big deal. You don't want half your controller going dead in the middle of a fight.

Nintendo Switch Video Game
Nintendo

This problem can be partially fixed on your own. It happens more often when the line of sight between the Joy-Con and the Nintendo Switch is obstructed, so moving the Switch's dock to a spot where this is unlikely can cure the problem in some cases.

However, this is impractical for some people, and let's face it, if you are having bad problems with the left Joy-Con, you probably don't want to rearrange the room as a temporary fix until you can send it in for repairs.

Nintendo acknowledged a manufacturing variation as the root of the problem and offered a program for sending in your Joy-Con to be quickly fixed and shipped back to you. Contact Nintendo support to take advantage of this program.

The Nintendo Switch Won't Turn On or Is Frozen

The most common reason for the Switch not powering up is a drained battery, which can be solved by setting it in the dock long enough to power back on. However, if your Switch has been in the dock for a while and still won't power on, it might be frozen with a black screen or frozen in suspend mode.

You can do a hard reset on the Nintendo Switch by holding down the power button for 12 seconds. If the screen is dark, you may want to hold it down for at least 20 seconds to be sure. Wait a few seconds after letting up on the power button to allow the Switch to power down, and then press the power button again to power back on. That last step can be easy to forget if the Switch was frozen with a dark screen.

The Nintendo Switch Won't Charge

One problem some people have with the Switch is the inability to charge via a battery pack. The Switch takes more voltage than some battery packs can handle, so using a battery pack may not work as well as it does with charging a smartphone or tablet. Make sure you are using a USB-C to USB-C charging cable. Some battery packs can output enough power, but without the right cable, the Switch doesn't charge fast enough.

If you are having problems charging the Nintendo Switch at home, make sure you are charging via the AC adapter and not with a USB cable attached to a computer. That might be fine for your smartphone, but it won't do it for the Switch. If you are using the AC adapter and it isn't charging the Switch, try using a different outlet in another room. If that doesn't work, do the hard reset explained in the previous section to see if it is an issue with the console itself. If both of those fail, you may need a new AC adapter for the dock.

If you're running out of space on your Switch, buy a standard microSD card and install your new games on it. The slot is located behind the kickstand.

The Nintendo Switch's Dead Pixel Issue

If you are having a problem with dead pixels, you won't be reassured by Nintendo's proclamation that dead pixels are a problem with LCD screens and are not considered a defect. To a point, Nintendo is correct; LCD screens have had a problem with dead pixels for years.

Dead pixels are pixels that remain black when the screen turns on or that remain the same color when they should change to a different color. They are pixels that get stuck on a color. It is a problem with LCD screens because each pixel acts on its own, and any pixel can have a failure.

One suggested workaround from the LCD monitor days is to press down on the screen in the area having the problem in hopes of realigning it just enough for the problem to go away. It's a bad idea to press down too hard on a touch display, but applying a little bit of pressure might help the issue. You can also try cleaning the Switch's display to see if that helps the situation.​

If there are enough dead pixels to be noticeable, you can try returning the unit. While Nintendo may not admit fault, individual stores may still take a return as long as you are within the time frame for the store's return policy.

Add a screen protector to your Switch to avoid the inevitable scratches it'll get when you put it in and take it out of the dock.

The Nintendo Switch Won't Connect to the Internet

If you previously had your Switch up and running on the internet without any problems, but suddenly, it's screaming about DNS servers, there's an easy solution. You need to restart the Switch. You can do this by holding down the power button until a menu pops up. Choose Power Settings and then Restart to reboot the Switch. You can keep holding down the power button to perform a hard reset, but it is better to reboot through the menu when you can.

If you continue having problems connecting to the internet, you can walk through network settings again by going to the System Settings (the gear icon on the home screen), choosing Internet, and then tapping on Internet Settings. This searches for available Wi-Fi networks. You can also troubleshoot your Wi-Fi connection's strength by moving the Switch closer to your router.

The Nintendo Switch Doesn't Recognize a Game Cartridge

If the Switch doesn't immediately recognize a new game cartridge inserted into the port, don't panic. Wait a few seconds and then try taking the cartridge out and reinserting it. If that doesn't do the trick, put in another game cartridge, wait for the Switch to recognize it, and then replace that cartridge with the one it didn't recognize. Most of the time, this solves the problem. If not, try the hard reset.

The Kickstand on the Nintendo Switch Broke Off

The kickstand on the back of the Switch is built so that it is easy to pop off. This is a good thing. It saves you from breaking the kickstand when you apply too much pressure or when you try to dock the Nintendo Switch with the kickstand out. You should be able to pop the kickstand back into place.