How to Transfer Screenshots from a Nintendo Switch to a Computer

Image from Nintendo Switch HeroNintendo

One of the coolest features of the Nintendo Switch is that you can quickly take screenshots in almost any game using a dedicated capture button. Here’s how to get these screenshots from your Nintendo Switch console using a microSD card.

How screenshots work on the Nintendo Switch

By default, each time you press the Capture button, the Nintendo Switch saves an image of the current screen as a JPEG image file to a microSD card if you have one inserted. Otherwise, the switch stores them in the internal memory. Some parts of the Switch system software (and perhaps some games) prevent screenshots, but in general, the functionality works everywhere.

Once captured, you can view screenshots using the integrated album function, which is accessible on the home screen (the white circle with the blue rectangle inside, like a small photo of hills in Mario style).

RELATED: How to take screenshots and videos on your Nintendo Switch

What you need to transfer switch screenshots

Here’s what you need to transfer screenshots to another device:

A Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite
A Micro SD card large enough to hold the images you want to transfer
A microSD card reader (or an SD card reader with microSD card adapter) compatible with the device to which you want to transfer the images.

Some devices, such as certain models of Apple or Windows computers, have built-in full-size SD card readers. To use one, you will need a microSD to SD adapter.

If you have an iPhone or iPad with a Lightning port, you can copy images using a Lightning Camera Reader to SD Card. If you have an iPad with a USB-C port, you can use the USB-C to SD card reader. For either solution, you will need a microSD to SD adapter as well as.

To read an SD card on an Android device (if your device has a Micro USB port), you will need a Micro USB SD card reader like this, which also includes a microSD card slot so you don’t need an adapter.

Transfer screenshots from system memory to a microSD card

If you had already inserted a microSD card into the system when you took the screenshots, it is likely that they are already stored on the card. If so, go to the next section.

If you captured your screenshots before inserting a microSD card, the switch has saved them to the internal memory. To transfer them out of the switch, you must first copy them to a microSD card.

Copy all screenshots at once

To copy all the screenshots from your Switch to a bulk microSD card, open System Settings on the Nintendo Switch home screen by selecting the small white circle with a sun icon in the middle.

System Settings icon on the Nintendo Switch home screen

In System Settings, scroll down and select Data Management, then select Manage Screenshots and Videos.

Selec Manage screenshots and videos in Nintendo Switch settings

On the Manage screenshots and videos screen, make sure that Save location is set to “microSD card”, then select “System memory” and press A.

Manage the Screenshots and videos menu in Nintendo Switch settings

Select “Copy all screenshots and videos to the microSD card” and press A.

Copy the screenshots to the Nintendo Switch microSD card

A pop-up window will show you the progress of the copy. Once the operation is complete, the screenshots are stored on the card. Proceed to “How to transfer screenshots from a microSD card to another device” below.

Copy screenshots individually

To copy certain screenshots one by one to a microSD card, you will need to use the integrated album function. It is accessible on the home screen of the Nintendo Switch (the white circle with the blue rectangle inside).

Album icon on the Nintendo Switch home screen

Once in the Album, highlight the photo you want to copy to the card and press A for “Edit and publish”. A menu will appear on the left side of the screen. Select “Copy” and press A.

A pop-up window will ask you if you want to copy the image to the microSD card. Select “Copy” and the image will be copied to the microSD card.

How to transfer screenshots from a microSD card to another device

Once you know that your screenshots are stored on a microSD card, it’s time to transfer them to another device.

Turn off your Switch by holding down the power button for three seconds. A menu will appear. Select “Power Options”, then “Disable”.

(If you remove the microSD card without turning off, the Switch will suspend the game you were using, complain about it on the screen, and force you to stop.)

After power off, remove the microSD card from your Nintendo Switch. On the standard size switch, the microSD slot is located under the kickstand on the back of the unit.

Nintendo Swtich microSD slot locationNintendo

On the Switch Lite, the microSD slot is located under a small plastic flap on the bottom edge of the unit.

Nintendo Switch Lite microSD slot locationNintendo

After removing the microSD card, insert it into the microSD card reader of your choice. A computer with a microSD card slot will work, and you can also purchase microSD card readers that connect via USB.

On the microSD card, you can access the screenshots in the path ” Nintendo Album”, and they are sorted in folders by date starting with the year, then the month, then the day. For example, a Switch screenshot taken on March 5, 2020 would be in the ” Nintendo Album 2020 3 5″ folder on the microSD card.

From there, you can use your device’s operating system to copy the images wherever you want. Edit them, share them, it’s up to you. Have fun and have fun!

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