Nintendo Switch is one of the most iconic handheld video games ever produced. Even though it was only released in 2017, it’s right up there with the Game Boy’s various iterations and the DS.
It’s a versatile, powerful machine, in both its regular and Lite iterations, and it’s going strong even in light of new next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft — and not just with kids. Tap or click here to see the best video games for people over 55.
If you’re just now jumping on to the Switch train or want to know more in general, we’ve arranged several tips that you may not have known about. Whether you want to play games online with friends and family or use your Joy-Con controllers with your PC or Mac, these tricks should help you on your way to getting the most out of your Nintendo console.
1. Play remotely with friends and family
You don’t need to be in the same room with your friends and loved ones to enjoy Switch together. Since you can play on a TV screen or by way of a handheld-only Switch, there are many ways you can get together.
First, you’ll need to decide which model you want. A regular Nintendo Switch or Nintendo Switch Lite. The thing to keep in mind is Nintendo Switch Lite can only be used as a handheld device. It doesn’t connect to your TV.
To play with friends and family, you’ll need to purchase a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online to connect via the internet, but most Switch games, like its Xbox and PlayStation counterparts, will let you hop online and play with others. You will all need your own Switches and profiles, but it’s possible to enjoy Super Mario Party with family and friends across the world.
2. Save battery by adjusting simple settings
If you pick up a Nintendo Switch Lite and plan on playing mostly handheld, you’ll want to conserve as much battery as possible. You can do this by adjusting settings on the system itself. You can turn down the brightness, disable vibration and even turn off Wi-Fi if the game you’re playing can be played offline.
You could also switch to Airplane Mode to conserve battery. If none of these things are concessions you’re willing to make, you could always keep a power bank like this Anker option handy for a quick boost in juice.
3. Connect your Joy-Con controllers to your PC and Mac
Your Joy-Con controllers aren’t just for use on your Switch. You can also use them on your PC or Mac. If you need an extra controller to play a game on those platforms, all you need is Bluetooth connectivity.
Here’s how you can do so:
- Open PC settings and choose Bluetooth and other devices. Mac users can choose System Preferences and then Bluetooth.
- Choose Add Bluetooth or other device and use the Bluetooth option.
- Press and hold the Joy-Con’s small black sync button on the top of the controller when held sideways.
- Choose Joy-Con from the menu that pops up. Your controllers will pair automatically and the lights on the controller will flash. Now you can play your favorite games on PC!
4. Turn on your TV with your Switch
You can use your Switch to turn on your TV, if you’re so inclined, with a very clever trick.
From the Switch Home menu, select System Settings. Scroll down the menu on the left-hand side of the screen and select TV Settings. Scroll to Match TV Power State. When connected to the TV, turning on the console or exiting sleep mode will turn on the TV. Turning off the TV will put the console in sleep mode.
5. Grab a second dock to keep your Switch in play throughout the house
You get one Nintendo Switch dock per console unless you buy a Switch Lite. But what if you want to use it across the house with different TVs? You can do that by buying another Switch dock. You can get one straight from Nintendo. Be sure to buy a power adapter to go with it, like this AC adapter.
6. Find your lost Joy-Con controller in minutes
Joy-Con controllers are pretty small, so it can be hard to find them if misplaced. But Switch has a built-in way to help you suss them out.
Go to your Switch Home Screen and head to Controllers. Once there, go to Find Controllers. Select the Joy-Con that is missing. Take the one you still have and push the shoulder button on the remaining controller. Every time you push, the missing controller will vibrate. This should help you find the other controller lickety-split.
7. Set up individual user profiles
If your Switch has multiple users, you can set up different profiles for each person. Go to System Settings and then Users > Add User. From there, you can create a profile, add an icon and a nickname.
If you don’t have additional users, you can skip this step entirely. But it adds a fun, personal touch to the system that lets you compartmentalize gaming progress and saves and further gives everyone their own space on the system.
8. Create your own Mii
Just like with the Wii, the Nintendo Switch has a Mii creation tool that you can use to make a character that looks just like you.
You can make your own miniature character by going to System Settings, then Mii. From there, choose Create/Edit a Mii. Select Create New Mii, and choose whether you want a premade Mii or to start from scratch. Follow the prompts on-screen and you can make a character that’s your very own!
9. Enroll in My Nintendo Rewards
If you plan on buying Nintendo Switch games and accessories, you should undoubtedly be a part of My Nintendo. It’s a loyalty program that you can enroll in to receive points that you can redeem for various rewards. To join, go to the My Nintendo hub. Choose to sign in or create an account there. Once you complete a quick tutorial, you’ll be officially enrolled and ready to earn points.
10. Check out additional accessories
There are plenty of ways you can improve your Switch experience even further. You could consider buying an extra MicroSD card to add more storage space to your system, or even a screen protector to keep your Switch as pristine as possible when holding it or using it on the go. You might also want to grab a protective case to keep it safe when traveling or leaving the house — just toss it in your bag and go!
BONUS: Get in a good workout with Ring Fit Adventure
Exercise may be the all-important component to losing weight and staying fit, but no one really enjoys doing it. That’s where the Nintendo Switch’s Ring Fit Adventure comes in.
It’s been in and unavailable since last March, as more people have stayed indoors due to the pandemic. But it’s about to be back in stock in February, and you’ll want to give it a go if you want a fun way to get healthy.
Ring Fit Adventure turns fitness into a game, as it comes packing a special ring-shaped peripheral that you use to play the game with while performing a variety of exercises. Your goal is to complete the RPG-like game with various battles and challenges by moving your body in the real world. You’ve never had an interactive workout like this before.
Now that you’ve learned a bit more about what you can get out of your Nintendo Switch, you might want to share with your friends who also have a system. Or you might be ready to go out and get a Switch yourself. Either way, you’ve now got to hand it to Nintendo. This is one smart system that’s going to be around for on-the-go gaming for years to come.We may receive a commission when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.