How to Transfer Data From a Nintendo 3DS SD Card

Copy and paste 3DS games from one console to another

Two Nintendo DS systems

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 Virtual Console, a mere 2 GB will fill up in no time. Even 4 GB gets gobbled up fast.

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 Copy and Paste 3DS Games From One Sim Card to Another

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

Your computer must have an SD card reader for the data transfer to work. If it does not have one, you can buy a USB card reader from most electronics retailers.

  1. Turn off your Nintendo 3DS or 3DS XL.

  2. Remove the SD card from your 3DS.

    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. Insert the SD card into your computer’s SD card reader. Access its contents through Windows Explorer (Windows) or Finder (macOS).

    Depending on your operating system, you may receive a pop-up message asking what you’d like to do with the SD card. You can use this pop-up window to quickly access the SD card's files.

  4. Highlight and copy the data from the SD card, then paste it into a folder on your computer.

    You can quickly highlight all the files with the Ctrl+A (PC) or Command+A (Mac) keyboard shortcut. Copying can also be accomplished with the keyboard using Ctrl+C or Command+C, and pasting with Ctrl+V or Command+V.

    Do not delete or alter the data in the DCIM or Nintendo 3DS folders!

  5. While those files are copying, insert the new SD card into your 3DS and let it initialize the new card. Then turn off the 3DS again and eject the new SD card.

  6. Remove the SD card from your computer, then insert the new SD card.

  7. Use the same procedure from Step 3 to open the SD card on your computer.

  8. Copy all the files from Step 4 onto the new SD card, or drag-and-drop the files from your computer onto the new SD card.

  9. Once copying is done, open the folder called “Nintendo 3DS”. Open the folder named with a long string of letters and numbers. You will see two folders. One is for the old card and one for the new card. The old card folder has a larger file size. Copy the contents (not the folder) of the old card folder to the new card folder. Delete the old card folder to save space.

  10. Remove the SD card from your computer and insert it into your Nintendo 3DS or 3DS XL. All your data should be just as you left it, but now with lots of extra space.

How to Network Transfer Data Between Nintendo 3DS Systems

Here’s how to transfer Nintendo 3DS data over a home network.

The following procedure works on Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL, and Nintendo 2DS systems. Before starting this process, insert the new SD card into the target system where you want to transfer the data.

  1. On the source system, go to the Home menu and select the System Settings icon. Select Open > Other Settings > 3 > System Transfer.

  2. Select Transfer from Nintendo 3DS. Select Agree, then select Send from This System.

  3. If you haven't linked your Nintendo Network ID, you'll need to do so. If you already have, select Next and enter your Nintendo network ID and password.

  4. On the destination system, go to the Home menu, then select the System Settings icon. Select Open > Other Settings > 3 > System Transfer.

  5. Select Transfer from Nintendo DS. Select Agree, then select Receive from Nintendo DS.

  6. Back on the source system, select the system to send the data transfer to, then select Yes to accept the transfer. Select Next to continue, then select Yes to confirm. Select the blue Transfer button to initiate the data transfer.

  7. On the target system, select Delete to confirm that it's okay to delete all data on the target system's SD card. Select the blue Delete button, then select Yes to start the transfer.

    If have enough room on the card, you can transfer data and select Do Not Delete. Even if you do not delete data, you will still need to reinstall existing games on the target system.

  8. When the data transfer is finished, select OK on the target system to restart it and complete the transfer.

Now that you've transferred all of the data, you can eject your SD card from the source system and insert it into the target. Now all of the games you played on the source Nintendo DS will work on the new one.