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How To Reset Nintendo Switch: In 5 Steps With Photos

Resetting your Nintendo Switch console is a common maintenance task that can breathe new life into a sluggish, buggy, or glitchy system. Restarting and refreshing your Switch helps clear out old data, fixes software issues, speeds up performance, and even protects your privacy when selling or gifting the device. With a few simple steps, you can reset your Switch without losing game saves or downloads. Or fully wipe it back to factory settings if needed. This guide will walk you through how to reset a Nintendo Switch using different methods.

Overview of Resetting a Nintendo Switch

Resetting a Nintendo Switch allows you to restart the console and its software, clearing out issues without deleting progress. There are a couple ways to reset a Switch:

  • Soft reset – Quickly restarts the console without losing data
  • Factory reset – Fully wipes the Switch back to default settings

Reasons to reset your Nintendo Switch include:

  • Speeding up slow system performance
  • Fixing game freezing, crashes, or bugs
  • Removing personal information when selling or gifting
  • Resolving unusual technical problems

But how exactly do you reset a Nintendo Switch? The method depends on whether you want to keep your downloaded games and save data or totally wipe the console.

When to Soft Reset Your Nintendo Switch

A soft reset is the best way to restart your Switch if you don‘t want to delete any of your games, software, or progress. This type of reset will:

  • Refresh the operating system and interface
  • Clear out corrupt temporary data and files
  • Resolve minor technical glitches
  • Speed up general performance

Some common reasons to soft reset your Nintendo Switch include:

  • Games frequently freezing or glitching
  • Consistent error messages popping up
  • Laggy or slow performance in the interface
  • System acting unusually sluggish overall

Soft resetting essentially reboots the console to refresh the operating system without erasing any permanent data. It‘s a handy basic troubleshooting step for minor software issues.

Step-by-Step Guide to Soft Resetting a Nintendo Switch

Soft resetting a Nintendo Switch only takes a minute and is done right from the console:

Step Action
1 Power off your Nintendo Switch by pressing and holding the power button on the top until the power options menu appears. Select Power Off.
2 While the console is powered off, press and hold the Volume Up and Volume Down buttons at the same time.
3 While continuing to hold the volume buttons, press the power button again to turn the Switch back on.
4 When the Nintendo logo appears on the screen, release the volume buttons.
5 The console will boot up normally – the reset is now complete!

That‘s all there is to it. Your games, software, and save data will remain intact. Soft resetting just restarts the Switch operating system to clear out minor bugs.

When to Factory Reset Your Nintendo Switch

A factory reset completely erases all data and restores the Switch to original out-of-box settings. This is recommended when:

  • Selling or gifting your Switch to wipe personal data
  • You have a virus or severe technical issues
  • The console is very heavily used and cluttered

Factory resetting permanently deletes:

  • All user accounts and profiles
  • Downloaded games and software
  • Game save data
  • System settings and preferences

Only factory reset if you want to fully wipe your console. Otherwise, a soft reset is better for general troubleshooting.

Step-by-Step Factory Reset Instructions

Resetting your Nintendo Switch back to factory settings takes a bit longer but is straightforward:

Step Action
1 From the Home screen, press the gear icon to open System Settings.
2 Scroll down and select System on the left menu.
3 Select Formatting Options > Initialize Console to factory reset.
4 On the prompt, select Initialize again to confirm deletion of all data.
5 The console will restart and reset itself, which takes several minutes.

That‘s all there is to fully wiping your Nintendo Switch! Just be absolutely certain you want to delete all your data before factory resetting.

Resetting a Nintendo Switch Lite or OLED Model

The steps to factory reset are the same whether you have a standard Switch, slimmer Switch Lite, or the newer Switch OLED model.

Any Nintendo Switch can be reset by:

  • Soft reset – Hold volume buttons while powering on
  • Factory reset – Initialize console from System Settings

The reset options are consistent across different Nintendo Switch versions. Just follow the same guidance above.

Reset a Nintendo Switch Without Losing Saves

Don‘t want to delete all your gameplay progress and achievements? Here is how to reset your Nintendo Switch while keeping save data:

Step Action
1 Fully power off the console by holding the power button, then selecting Power Off.
2 Press and hold Volume Up + Volume Down buttons together.
3 While holding Volume buttons, press the power button to turn on the Switch.
4 When the Nintendo logo appears, release the volume buttons.
5 Select Initialize Without Deleting Save Data to reset.

This preserves your users, games, saves, while restarting the system. It‘s the best way to reset if you want to keep your progress intact.

Reset Individual Games That Are Glitching

No need to completely reset your console if only one game is having issues. You can reset glitchy games individually:

  • Press the Home button while in-game to leave the software.
  • On the Home screen, press X to bring up the close menu.
  • Select Close Software to force quit just that game.
  • Relaunch the game‘s icon to have it fully reload.

Resetting buggy games this way is much quicker than a system-wide reset. Best of all, it prevents any loss of gameplay progress.

Reset Joy-Con Controllers That Disconnect

Along with console resets, you may need to reset your Joy-Con controllers if they start acting up.

If your Joy-Cons are disconnecting or unresponsive, try resetting them:

  • Hold the small Sync button on each Joy-Con for 3-5 seconds. The LED light will flash.
  • This resets their connection so you can resync the controllers.

Resetting your Joy-Cons can resolve connectivity and responsiveness issues without resetting the entire Switch.

Fully Reset Your Switch Before Selling or Gifting

When you gift or sell your used Nintendo Switch, you‘ll want to factory reset it first. This protects your privacy by:

  • Removing all personal accounts and user profiles
  • Deleting associated credit cards and payment info
  • Wiping all game saves, purchases, and progress

Factory resetting prevents the next owner from accessing your sensitive data. It‘s an essential step before passing your Nintendo Switch onto someone else.

Troubleshooting Nintendo Switch Reset Problems

Resetting your console is usually straightforward, but here are some fixes for common issues:

Problem Troubleshooting Tips
Can‘t power off Hold the power button down for 15+ seconds to force power down
Won‘t turn back on Ensure battery isn‘t drained. Connect AC adapter.
Stuck on logo Wait 10+ minutes then hold power for forced reboot.
Errors resetting Power cycle, then carefully redo steps. Pick correct reset type.
Saves wiped Don‘t initialize if wanting to keep data. Choose "Keep Save Data" option.

For any other unusual issues, refer to Nintendo‘s factory reset support page.

Reset for a Faster, Smoother Nintendo Switch

With some simple steps, you can refresh your Nintendo Switch with a reset. Soft reset for spring cleaning after heavy use. Or factory reset when selling or extreme technical issues arise. Just be careful when resetting so you don‘t accidentally erase games and data you want to keep! Resetting your Switch returns it to like-new condition.

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