How to Set Up the Nintendo Switch

Get started gaming in no time

What to Know

  • Turn on the console and follow on-screen instructions to set up preferences like language, region, and Wi-Fi network.
  • You can set up Wi-Fi and link a Nintendo account at a later time.
  • Press the home button, then insert a game cartridge to begin playing once you've set up the console.

This article explains how to set up a new Nintendo Switch and how to begin using it. Instructions cover the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Lite, and Nintendo Switch (OLED model).

How to Set Up the Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch setup is pretty straightforward and quite intuitive, but it's helpful to know what to expect. Here's a look at how best to set up the Nintendo Switch so you can be gaming in no time. 

Set up is the same for all Switch devices.

  1. Turn the Nintendo Switch on.

  2. Tap the language you wish to use the Nintendo Switch in.

    Nintendo Switch setup screen with language options
  3. Tap your geographical region.

    Nintendo Switch setup screen with geographical region options
  4. Tap Next.

    Nintendo Switch Setup screen with Next highlighted under important information
  5. Tap your choice of Wi-Fi network.

    Nintendo Switch setup screen with Internet Settings highlighted

    You can skip this step by clicking X to return to it later.

  6. Enter your network password.

  7. Tap OK.

  8. Tap on your time zone.

    Nintendo Switch setup with Time Zones highlighted
  9. Tap Next.

  10. Tap Create New User.

    Nintendo Switch setup with Create New User highlighted

    If you're moving from an existing Nintendo Switch console, tap Import a User.

  11. Choose your profile icon.

    Nintendo Switch setup Add User screen
  12. Enter your nickname and tap OK.

  13. Choose to link your Nintendo account or opt to do it later.

    Nintendo Switch setup with Sign in and link highlighted for linking a Nintendo account
  14. Add additional users or tap Skip.

    Nintendo Switch setup screen with Add User highlighted
  15. Tap Next.

  16. Tap Skip or select Set Parental Controls now to set up Switch parental controls.

    Nintendo Switch setup with Set Parental Controls options highlighted
  17. Press the home button to begin using your Nintendo Switch.

How to Use Nintendo Switch the First Time

Using your Nintendo Switch can be a little confusing at first, so here's how to get started.

  1. Insert a game cartridge into the top of the Nintendo Switch console, then tap on the game to begin playing it.

    Nintendo Switch home screen with a game highlighted for playing
  2. Alternatively, scroll down to Nintendo eShop (the shopping bag icon) to buy digital download games to play on the console.

    You need a Nintendo account to purchase games this way. 

  3. Adjust your Switch Settings by scrolling to System Settings (the gear icon) and tweaking anything you feel needs adjusting. 

How to Link a Nintendo Account to Your Nintendo Switch

If you've set up your Nintendo Switch and you wish to add a Nintendo account, here's how to do it.

  1. Tap Nintendo eShop.

    Nintendo Switch home screen with Nintendo eShop highlighted
  2. Tap Sign In and Link.

  3. Choose to sign in to an existing account via an email address or smartphone, or tap Create a new account.

    Linking a Nintendo Account screen on Nintendo Switch

    Creating a new account must be completed on your PC, Mac, or smartphone.

  4. Complete the process so you can now purchase items from the Nintendo eShop as well as add friends.

What Else Can I Do With My Nintendo Switch?

Besides playing games, you can also do other things on the Nintendo Switch. Here's a quick overview of what you can do.

  • Watch YouTube. You can watch YouTube videos on your Nintendo Switch just like doing so on your smartphone or computer.
  • Purchase Nintendo Switch Online. Nintendo Switch Online is a paid subscription that allows you to play online multiplayer games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and download games such as Tetris 99. It also gives you access to NES and SNES games in a growing library of free games.
  • Why can't I connect my Switch to Wi-Fi?

    If your Nintendo Switch won't connect to Wi-Fi, see if Nintendo Switch Online is down. If it's not, restart the Switch and check your network status. Move closer to your router or try a wired connection. If you have a firewall set up, you might need to disable it.

  • How do I set up Amiibos on my Switch?

    To use amiibos on Nintendo Switch, follow the in-game instructions for setting up amiibos. Then, touch your amiibo to the NFC reader on the right Joy-Con or a connected Pro Controller.

  • How do I set up a Nintendo Switch microphone?

    To set up a Nintendo Switch microphone, plug your headset into the jack or USB port on the Switch or the USB port on the dock. Then, connect the headset to your mobile device and use the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app.

  • How do I set up a Switch Pro Controller on my PC?

    To use a Switch Pro Controller on your PC, plug the controller into a USB port on your computer to play Steam games. Connect via Bluetooth to play wirelessly. For non-Steam games, use an adapter like the 8BitDo Wireless USB Adapter or a software wrapper.

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