How to factory reset a Nintendo Switch

If you’re planning on selling or trading your Nintendo Switch system, you’ll want to know how to perform a factory reset. This procedure will remove all of your personal data, including games, keyboard settings, and cache, returning the console to the default state. Nintendo calls this “Initialize,” but it performs the same function as a factory reset. Here’s what you need to do.

Nintendo Switch | How to perform a factory reset

Nintendo Switch - How to perform a factory reset

Nintendo has made it easy to factory reset a Nintendo Switch to delete all system settings and restore the console to factory condition.

  1. From the Home menu, select System Settings
  2. Select System
  3. Select Formatting Options
  4. If required, enter your four-digit PIN code
  5. Select Initialize Console, then press Next
  6. Finally, select Initialize to perform a factory reset

This procedure will wipe all data from the Nintendo Switch system, putting it back into factory condition. Notably, this clears the system cache, resets the keyboard, deletes all software, and unlinks any Nintendo Accounts. Note that a factory reset will not delete anything saved on your microSD card, though it will revoke access to any games installed to the card.

There’s one more thing you should know if you’re planning on selling, trading, or otherwise getting rid of your Switch: Performing a factory reset will only de-register the device if it’s connected to the internet. If you perform a system wipe while offline, you’ll have to go the Nintendo website to manually remove the system from your Nintendo Account. As such, it’s probably best to perform this action while the system is online.

If you’re not trying to get rid of your Switch, you may consider simply clearing the cache. This is a good way to restore system stability without deleting all of your data. For that, go to System Settings > Formatting Options > Clear Cache. Otherwise, you may be interested in our tips on how to fix a Switch dock that isn’t working, or what to do when the Switch won’t connect to Wi-Fi.

After performing a factory reset, the Nintendo Switch system will be reverted to its default state. Before it can be used again, the system will have to be linked to a Nintendo Account. That will allow games, software, and cloud saves to be installed back onto the console’s storage.