How to transfer your Nintendo Switch user and save data

The ol’ switcheroo

In its most recent 4.0 software update for the Switch, Nintendo has made it possible to transfer user and save data from one Switch console to another. 

Though this isn’t quite the data backup feature that most people have been hoping for, it is a small but promising step towards this. 

At the very least it means if you’ve been sharing a Switch console with a friend and have now decided to buy your own, you can move your profile onto your brand new Switch and take all of the game saves and eShop purchases tied to your specific Nintendo account with you. No need to start afresh.

Preparation

Before you start your transfer there are a few things you have to get organised first:

  • Have both the console your profile is currently on (the source console) and the console you wish to transfer it to (the target console) with you in person. 
  • Ensure both of these consoles have the latest 4.0 software update installed, are connected to the internet and are plugged into a power source.
  • Make sure the target console has fewer than 7 users at the time of transfer as this is the maximum number of profiles a Switch console can support. 
  • Also be sure that the target console has enough memory available for the new profile’s data. If you’re not sure it might be useful to have an SD card to hand just in case.   

Once you have everything prepared, you’re ready to begin.

The source console

Starting with the source console, you have to make sure that you’re on the user profile that you want to transfer. When you are, simply enter the system settings, select Users and then Transfer Your User and Save Data.

Hit next twice and then select source console to confirm that this is the console you’re moving your data from. 

The target console

Now you can move to the target console.

On this console go into the system settings and once again go into Users and select Transfer Your User and Save Data.

You’ll have to hit next twice again and this time select Target console to indicate that this is the console you’re moving the data over to.

After this you can sign in using your Nintendo Account e-mail address or your Sign-in ID before turning your attention back to the source console.

Back to source

Once the target console is signed into your Nintendo account it’ll start searching for the source console. When it finds it, hit transfer on the source console and your data will begin to move over.

Wait for this process to be completed, hit end and there you have it – you’ve switched Switches. Congratulations!

Unfortunately because both Switches are required for this process, it isn’t any help for someone looking to restore their user data from a lost, stolen or broken console. 

It’s also worth bearing in mind that you can’t have your user data straddle two consoles – once it’s transferred from the source console, your user profile will no longer be accessible on that first machine. Unless, of course, you decide to transfer it back, which can be done as many times as you like.