How to reset your Nintendo Switch

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to reset your Nintendo Switch, from glitches to deciding that you’re going to sell it and wipe your data first.

There are also multiple different ways to reset your console, with slightly different steps that you need to take for each.

Since all of Nintendo’s Switch models run the same software, these steps should work on original Switches, Switch Lites and Switch OLED models in the same way.

How to hard reset your Switch

If you want to keep all your data but perform a total reboot of your Switch (for example, if it’s not turning on), the steps are quite simple.

  1. When the system is powered off, hold the power button for 15 seconds.
  2. Release the power button then press it to power on.
  3. If your console boots, the reset has been completed.

This won’t wipe your data, but is a good way of flushing things out of the system a little bit, and can often help to set things right if your console has been acting a bit weirdly.

How to factory reset your Switch

Switch OLED review 2

If you’re instead looking to wipe your Switch completely clean, ready for a new user to set themselves up on it without access to any of your data, you’ll want to factory reset the console. Do that by following these steps:

  1. From the console’s home menu, select Settings.
  2. Scroll down to System on the left menu bar.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of these options and select Formatting Options.
  4. Select Initialize Console then hit OK.
  5. Wait for the process to erase your data.

Once this is over, your console will be like new and all data will be gone. Back up anything you want to keep, first!

If you can’t do the steps above you can go a more in-depth route, with the steps below.

  1. With the console powered off, hold down the volume up and volume down keys, then hold the power button.
  2. Hold these buttons down until Maintenance Mode starts.
  3. From here, select Initialize Console to erase your data (an option is there to keep your saves instead).

Either of those routes should let you factory reset your console, as desired.

Does resetting my Switch wipe my data?

You’ll notice that the two routes we’ve described up above have slightly different outcomes – so it’s worth clarifying that only a full factory reset should delete your data.

A hard reset or reboot, which is the first option that we described, won’t delete your profile, saved games or downloads.

If you’re looking to clear your console up completely before selling it or for any other reason, then, you should pursue the second set of steps, to do a full factory reset.

Switch OLED review 5-1

Can I undo resetting my Switch?

Again, the two types of reset that we’ve laid out as options for Switch owners offer quite different options if you have regrets. Neither is something that you can technically undo, though.

If you perform a hard reset of your Switch, there’s no way to rewind and undo that, but you also shouldn’t have lost any data or downloads, so there should be no issue there.

If, on the other hand, you factory reset your Switch, you’ll have purged it of all your data and information, as well as all its downloads, so this will be even more impossible to undo.

Why should I reset my Switch?

We’ve already mentioned them both, but there are two main reasons that we think could prompt you to sensibly decide to reset your Switch totally.

One is if you start to notice glitches or slowdown while you use it – while loading times are normal in games, if you’re finding it slow to open apps or move around the console’s own menus, something could be up.

A reset can often help to kickstart things again and get you going with your console behaving like you’d expect, glitch-free.

The other bit situation for a factory reset is if you’re selling your console or even lending it to someone you don’t know that well for whatever reason.

Anytime you sell some tech you should try to make sure that you do so without giving away any of your personal data – and the Switch could easily have a storefront that you’re still logged in on, alongside your library of games that can be easily accessed.

Ensuring this doesn’t get misused is easy if you just reset your Switch before handing it over, since that means you’re basically just giving a like-new Switch with no user data embedded on it.

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