How to Set Up a Nintendo Switch – Everything You Need

Got a new Nintendo Switch? Congratulations!

I know you’re itching to start playing already. However, to start playing, you need to set up the console. The good news is the Switch is ready to go in just a few steps. Nintendo has kept the setup relatively simple.

So, I’ll tell you everything you need to know to set up a Nintendo Switch!

How to Set Up a Nintendo Switch – Step-by-step

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the initial setup of your new Nintendo Switch, show you how to activate parental controls, and connect the console to a TV or other screen.

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes: Almost all settings can be changed again later. You also have the option at any time during the setup to go back a step and undo decisions by pressing the B button.

Step 1: Nintendo switch first-time setup

Start by unpacking the console from the supplied box. Then plug the Joy-Con controllers onto each side of the main Nintendo Switch.

To do this, slide each Joy-Con controller on the side edges of the Switch from top to bottom. Ensure they snap into place as you do this.


Still not getting that? Then watch the YouTube video below (from 1:30 to 2:00) for a better understanding of how to place the Joy-Cons:

By the way, installing the Joy-Cons during the first setup not only makes the console game ready. It helps the controllers draw battery juice and charge, just like how your Apple AirPods charge.

Step 2: Turn on the Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch’s power button is located on the top left edge of the device. After a short push of a button, the white logo and red background of the Nintendo Switch greet you.

Now, this is where the initial setup begins!

Step 3: Set system language

Once you’ve turned on the Nintendo Switch, you’ll need to select the console’s language. This setting affects the system and also the game titles. As long as the respective game supports the selected system language of the console, the title adapts to the language settings of the Nintendo Switch.

You can change the system language at any time in the settings. This allows users to change the language of the games via the system language of the console.

Step 4: Select the region

After you set the system language, the region selection follows. Unfortunately, the Nintendo Switch does not have a region lock. It is, therefore, possible for the first time to import physical Nintendo games from other areas of the world and use them with your console.

However, your region selection affects the digital Nintendo eShop and decides which country-specific version of the online shop you can access.

Small intermediate step: Before you continue with the setup, you will be asked to read and accept the Important Information document and the “License” and “Update & Unauthorized Use” sections. This document contains information on health and safety, battery use, electrical supply, and other troubleshooting and setup tips. So, I suggest you read it if you have the time.

Step 5: Set up an internet connection

The Nintendo Switch automatically searches for local Wi-Fi connections and lists all nearby networks. After entering the password, the system will connect the console and the router.

Step 6: Determine the time zone

If you select the coordinated world time “UTC+ 00:00 London, Lisbon”, for example, the Nintendo Switch will now show the current time in the UK. The console time will synchronize with the Internet if the system has already been connected to a network.

You can turn off this option in the settings and turn the clock manually instead. Smart gamers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, for example, can also use this option to travel through time.

Step 7: Dock and connect the Nintendo Switch to a TV.

This step gives the Nintendo Switch its name. Because now is your chance to switch from handheld mode to TV mode and continue setup on the big screen.

When you’re ready, the Nintendo Switch uses animated instructions to show you exactly how to remove the Joy-Con controllers.

But you can dock and connect the Nintendo Switch to a TV or television by unfolding the stand on the back of the console.

Then connect the included cables to the dock. Alternatively, you can skip this step for now and take care of the connection to the TV later. I’ll give you a detailed step-by-step procedure for connecting your console to the TV later.

Read also: How To Stream Nintendo Switch Without a Capture Card

Step 8: How to set up Nintendo Switch Account

Each Nintendo Switch needs a user. Towards the setup’s end, you must register your first local user account. The system allows a maximum of eight accounts per console.

New players must create a new user account and can customize their name and profile picture. However, this user account is not a Nintendo Account. These are two different accounts.

The account you just created is just a local user account that contains the user’s personal saved data and settings. On the other hand, an official Nintendo Account enables the use of Nintendo services. These include the digital Nintendo eShop and the Nintendo Switch Online, which works with a paid subscription. After you create a user account, you can link the account to a Nintendo Account. Unfortunately, you cannot undo this link.

You can create a Nintendo Account on Nintendo’s official website. On the Nintendo Switch, you can begin this process and have instructions emailed to you. A link will take you to the registration form.

You will then receive a five-digit confirmation code, which you can enter on the console to link your new Nintendo Account to the user account. If you already have a Nintendo Account, you must use the regular login details when linking.

If you already own a Nintendo Switch, you can import the existing account from another console. Below is a detailed instruction for importing user accounts:

How to move your profile to a new Switch

  1. Open System Settings on the Home menu of the Switch from which the profile is to be transferred
  2. Go to Users
  3. Scroll down to Transfer your user data
  4. Follow the instructions and select Exit Console
  5. Repeat steps 2 and 3 on the new Switch to transfer the profile
  6. Select Target Console
  7. Log in to the new Switch with your Nintendo account details
  8. Now the new Switch will automatically search for the old one. Once they find each other, you can click Transfer.
  9. The process may take a little while. After that, all you have to do is choose End.

Tips and warning

  • If you transfer an account, you will no longer be able to play games purchased from the eShop on your old Switch. Of course, you can download them again on the new Switch.
  • The Switch allows a maximum of 7 profiles per console. So make sure you have a maximum of 6 profiles on the new Switch.
  • Make sure that internal storage space is still free on the new Switch. How much you need depends on the profile to be transferred.
  • You should plug in both consoles during the transfer and need an active internet connection on both.

Read also: Can You Play Wii Games on Switch?

Step 9: Set age restriction

In the last step, Nintendo offers you two different options for creating a safe environment for children to play.

You can use the dedicated Nintendo Switch Parental Control app to link your smartphone to the console.

Then you can use the mobile device to set the daily game duration, set up a good-night alarm, and check game activities in detail, among other things. A Nintendo Account is required to use the app. An age restriction is also possible without an app.

Setting a three- to eight-digit password marks the end of the age restriction and the initial setup.

Step 10: Almost finished!

After the initial setup, take a look at the system settings. You can review all decisions made so far and change them if necessary. You can find further settings and options for using the Nintendo Switch in the menu.

That’s it! You have now successfully set up your Nintendo Switch. You can dive into the colorful tiles of the game titles via the main menu and explore countless video games.

Read also: Can You Play 3DS Games on DS?

How to Set Up a Nintendo Switch to a TV

  1. Start by opening the back cover of the included Nintendo Switch dock.
  2. Connect the power supply to the upper connector (AC adapter)
  3. Connect the HDMI cable to the lower connector (HDMI-Out)
  4. Feed both cables through the left gap of the dock
  5. Close the back cover of the Nintendo Switch dock
  6. Connect the other end of the power adapter to a power outlet
  7. Connect the other end of the HDMI cable to the HDMI port on your TV
  8. Dock the Nintendo Switch to the Nintendo Switch Dock.
How to Set Up a Nintendo Switch - Everything You Need (A-Z)

The above is what your dock station, Switch, connected power adapter, cables, and TV should look like. The dock station forwards the signal to the connected display (TV screen).

The LED on the lower left edge of the dock shows the status of the hybrid console. The indicator light glows green when the Nintendo Switch is correctly connected to the dock, and the console transmits the signal to the screen. The Nintendo Switch is also switched on and off in the station using the same power button.

How to Set Up a Nintendo Switch Controller

Handheld mode

  • Step 1: In handheld mode, slide down the left Joy-Con with the (-) sign on the top to the left edge of the main Switch.
  • Step 2: Then slide down the right Joy-Con with the (+) sign on the right edge of the main Switch. They should click in place and pair automatically.

Wireless mode

  • Step 1: To use them wirelessly, detach the Joy-Con controllers by holding the release button at the back of each Joy-Con.
How to Set Up a Nintendo Switch - Everything You Need (A-Z)
  • Step 2: Then slide the Joy-Con up. Now, you can use them to control the Switch wirelessly.
How to Set Up a Nintendo Switch - Everything You Need (A-Z)

Tip: When the batteries of the Joy-Cons run low, reattach them to the Switch.

How to Set Up a Nintendo Switch Dock

  1. Start by putting your fingers in the back panel of the rectangular dock. Then pull down on the back cover to open it.
How to Set Up a Nintendo Switch - Everything You Need (A-Z)
  • Connect the USB plug to the Switch’s AC adapter to the top terminal at the back of the dock with the “AC Adapter” label
How to Set Up a Nintendo Switch - Everything You Need (A-Z)
  • Plug the other end of your AC adapter into the wall socket.
  • Connect the HDMI cable from your TV to the lower connector (HDMI-Out)
  • Feed both wires through the left gap of the dock
  • Close the back cover of the Nintendo Switch dock.
  • Place the Nintendo Switch in the Nintendo Switch Dock so it can charge.
  • If properly inserted, a green indicator light will flash in the lower left corner of your Nintendo Switch dock.

How to Set Up a Nintendo Switch OLED

Setting up the Nintendo Switch OLED requires the same procedure explained earlier.

  1. Start by unpacking the console.
  2. Then plug the Joy-Con controllers onto each side of the main Nintendo Switch. To do this, slide each Joy-Con controller on the side edges of the Switch from top to bottom. Ensure they snap into place as you do this.
  3. Then turn on the controllers from the top left edge of the Switch.
  4. The Switch will come up. Continue the setup by following the instruction on the screen or the instructions I gave out earlier from the How to Set Up a Nintendo Switch – Step-by-Step section.

How to Connect Switch Lite to Switch

  1. Boot up the Switch Lite and link to your Nintendo account.
  2. You’ll receive a warning alert saying you will lock your account permanently to the Switch. Proceed, and the Switch will now link to your account.
  3. Change the primary console by selecting the Nintendo eShop from the Home menu and reentering your password if required.
  4. From there, go to the Account settings. You will find a point called Primary Console and a Deregister button with which you can deactivate the console.

The next Switch that connects to the eShop is then automatically registered as the primary Switch.

This way, the home console can always connect to your Internet at home to check if everything is going right. You can use the primary console for on-the-go offline without any problems.

How to Charge Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons

Your Joy-Cons will charge just by connecting them to the Switch. Slide them down on the Switch, and they will draw battery juice from the main Switch. When detached and used wirelessly, you still have to reconnect them to the Switch so they can charge when the batteries are down.

You can check your Joy-Cons’ power level from the Switch. From the Home menu, tap Controllers, and the battery level will display for both controllers.