How to: Transfer User and Save Data to a New Nintendo Switch

For months now, (Since the 4.0.0 System Update), users have had the option to transfer their Nintendo Switch User Accounts and Save Data from one console to another. (Including any Switch or Switch Lite, in case you’re wondering). A while back, Nintendo also released a new standard Switch unit with extended battery life. Quite a few Nintendo Switch players have taken the step to upgrade their system and are looking to transfer their profiles and precious save data.

I wrote this quick guide (for anyone interested) on how to transfer everything, ensuring you won’t lose the hundreds of hours you’ve spent in games like Breath of the Wild, Stardew Valley or Skyrim. We don’t want you bouncing your expensive Switch off the wall and sobbing in the corner because of an avoidable accident!

All Data that is transferred, is moved one user at a time, helping you avoid any confusion or potential mistakes. Transferring user information and save data allows you to move your user profile (along with all its associated save data and Nintendo eShop purchases) from one Nintendo Switch system to another.

Keep in mind, you can also add your existing Nintendo Account to a new device and simply download any games you already own and access the saves you need via Switch Online Cloud Data service. (note: you need an active Nintendo Online subscription to use this feature — and please make sure you sync your save data before loading it on a new machine!).

Note!! Only use this option if you want to make another Switch your primary console and move all of your profile and save data. You’ll want to do this if you’ve bought a new Switch and you’re planning to give away or sell your old Switch, for example. This will remove the User and Save Data from the Source Console entirely. If there are no more existing users on the Source Console following the transfer, a placeholder account will be created.

If you’re only interested in moving data from one SD Card to another, I’ll be posting a related article on how to transfer data between multiple Nintendo Switch microSD cards soon.

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Transferring users is simple but you still need to be careful.

Before starting the transfer, you must make sure you’ve read, and understand, the following precautions:

  • Both a source system and a target system are required to transfer user information and save data.
  • Both systems must be updated to system menu version 4.0.0 or higher, connected to the Internet, and within proximity of each other for local communication.
  • A Nintendo Account must be linked to the user account you wish to transfer from the source system. That same Nintendo Account cannot be linked to a user account on the target system before the transfer.
  • The target system cannot have more than seven users at the time of the migration (there must be room for one more user on the target system).
  • There must be sufficient free space on the target system’s internal memory to receive the data that will be transferred there.
  • Once the process is complete, the user information, the associated save data, and the software purchased with the user account that is transferred will no longer be available on the source system.
  • Save data cannot be merged or transferred between users.
  • I’ll add a personal note here and strongly suggest both consoles are fully charged and you have ac adapters handy just in case. You do not want to have a consoles battery die and corrupt the transfer.

On the Source Console

  1. On the Console with the User Account you wish to transfer, select the System Settings and drop down to Users and then look for Transfer Your User and Save Data.
  2. Select Next twice, and then select Source Console if this is the console you want to transfer from.
  3. Ensure that the console is both plugged into a power source, and has internet active, and move to the Target Console.

On the Target Console

  1. On the Console you are moving the User Account to, select System Settings and drop down to Users and then look for Transfer Your User and Save Data.
  2. Select Next twice, and then select Target Console if this is the console you wish to transfer to.
  3. Ensure that the console is also plugged in to a power source and connected to the internet, and then select Sign In and choose to sign in using your Nintendo Account e-mail address or your Sign-in ID.
  4. Enter your credentials and password and then select Sign in, and then Next, and move to the Source Console again.

On the Source Console

  1. Once the Target Console has been signed into, it will begin searching for the Source Console. Once it is found, select the Transfer option.
  2. Wait for the Transfer to complete fully, and then select End to complete this process.

I hope you’ve found this short guide on transferring User Accounts and Save Data helpful. If you have any other questions, or need more clarification on part of the process, leave a message in the comments below. Take care and be safe out there!

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I'm a mature gamer (48). I can be opinionated and sarcastic, but I'm very laid back. And I love Nintendo more than any forty-something probably should. (They did help raise me.) I'm also the Editor-in-chief, here at The Nintendo Nomad. Hit me up anywhere you can find me on social media. I'm open to talking about almost any topic (because, politics...).
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