A Step-By-Step Guide to Transfering Data On Nintendo 3DS

Step-By-Step Instructions for Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL

SD cards
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The Nintendo 3DS comes packed with a 2 GB SD card, and the Nintendo 3DS XL includes a 4 GB SD card. If you like to download lots of games from the 3DS eShop or the Virtual Console, a mere 2 GB will fill up in no time, and even 4 GB gets gobbled up with a couple of decently-sized games.

Fortunately, it’s easy to upgrade since the Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL can support third-party SDHC cards up to 32 GB in size.

Plus, you can move your information and downloads to your new card without a hassle.

How to Do a 3DS Data Transfer

Here’s how to transfer Nintendo 3DS data between two SD cards.

Note: Your computer must have an SD card reader for the data transfer to work. If your computer doesn’t have one, you can buy a USB-based reader from most major electronics stores, like this Transcend USB 3.0 SD card reader on Amazon).

  1. Turn off your Nintendo 3DS or 3DS XL.
  2. Remove the SD card.


    The SD card slot is on the left side of the Nintendo 3DS; to remove it, open the cover, push the SD card inwards, then pull it out.
  3. Put the SD card in your computer’s SD card reader and then access it through Windows Explorer (Windows) or Finder (macOS).


    Depending on the operating system you’re using, you may automatically receive a pop-up message asking what you’d like to do with the SD card; you might be able to use that pop-up window to quickly open the SD card's files.
  1. Highlight and copy the data from the SD card, and then paste it into a folder on your computer, like the desktop.

    Tip: You can quickly highlight all the files with the Ctrl+A or Command+A keyboard shortcut. Copying can also be accomplished with the keyboard, using Ctrl+C or Command+C, and pasting similarly: Ctrl+V or Command+V.

    Important: Do not delete or alter the data in the DCIM or Nintendo 3DS folders!
  1. Remove the SD card from your computer and then insert the new SD card.
  2. Use the same procedures from Step 3 to open the SD card on your computer.
  3. Copy the files from Step 4 onto the new SD card, or drag-and-drop the files from your computer to the new SD card.
  4. Remove the SD card from your computer and insert it into your Nintendo 3DS or 3DS XL.
  5. All your data should be just as you left it, but now with lots of new space to play with!
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