How to Update Nintendo Switch Games

Nintendo Switch console

Over time, most Nintendo Switch games receive free online updates that fix bugs and add new features. Sometimes updates even add major features to the game, such as new levels or characters. Here’s how to make sure your games are updated.

First, check if automatic update is enabled

By default, the Nintendo Switch automatically checks for software updates when you are connected to the Internet. If it finds an update, the system will download and install it. Since it is possible to disable this feature, here is how to ensure that automatic updating is active.

First, launch the system settings by selecting the gear icon on the Nintendo Switch Homepage.

Nintend Switch: select System Settings on the home screen

In the list on the left side of the screen, go to System. Then scroll down the settings page until you find the “Automatic update software” option. Switch it to “On”.

Select automatic update software in Nintendo Switch settings

There may be situations where you want to turn off automatic updating – for example, you may need to save download bandwidth, keep limited system storage, or avoid downloading an accidentally buggy game patch – but, by general, it is a good idea for most people to keep this feature.

If you prefer to leave the automatic update feature turned off (or if you don’t want to wait for the automatic update to do its job), you can check for updates manually.

Check for a game update by launching it

There are three ways to manually check for Nintendo Switch game updates. The first is to simply attempt to launch a game. If you are connected to the Internet at launch and an update is available, an update message will appear.

Select “Download” and the game update will be downloaded and installed automatically.

A new update is available on Nintendo Switch

Once the download is complete, the game will launch. If you want to check out other games, you can then go back to the home screen and try to launch them as well, but it may be faster to use the second update method.

Manually check for a game update from the menu

The second way to manually check for updates is to use the Options menu. On the home screen, place the selection cursor on the game you want to update.

A game is highlighted with the cursor on the Nintendo Switch home screen

Press the + (Plus) button and the Software Options screen will appear. Go to the “Software update” section, then select “Via Internet”.

Select Update via Internet on Nintendo Switch

A message stating “Checking for updates” appears. If there are no updates available, you will see a screen that says, “You are using the latest version of this software.”

If updates are available, the system will start to download the software.

A message in the Options game showing the download of the update on Nintendo Switch

Return to the home screen. There you can check the download progress of the update by looking at the status bar at the bottom of the game icon.

Nintendo Switch Home Screen Download Progress Bar

Once the update is complete, you can start playing.

Update games from another switch (without Internet)

In system software version 4.0.0, Nintendo introduced a third method of manually updating games called “Associate version with local users”. This method ensures that two or more people playing a game via local communications are all running the same version of the game.

To do this, start at the home screen and highlight the software you want to update. Press the + (Plus) button and the Options screen will appear. Go to “Software Update” and select “Match version with local users”.

Select Match Version with local users from the Options menu for Nintendo Switch

You will see a screen that shows a cartoon of three people playing the switches. Select “Next”.

On the next screen, a person from the group must select “Create a group”. Then the other switch users in the group should go to the same screen in Options and choose “Join group”.

Create a group or join a group to update the software on Nintendo Switch

Once everyone has joined the group, the group creator must select “Start communication”.

Select Start communication on Nintendo Switch

If there is an update that someone does not have, that person’s game will be updated to match the latest version in the group. Have fun playing!

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