Like any electronic device, the Switch isn’t perfect in hardware or software and although issues with either are uncommon, they can happen. If your Switch is unresponsive and won’t turn on, or has an issue with charging, we’ve got a few solutions for you to hopefully save yourself a tremendous amount of headache.
My Switch won’t turn on
If your console was otherwise behaving and then suddenly refused to turn on, there’s a few things you can try.
Plug it in to charge
Sounds basic we know but we’re none of us immune to simply forgetting that the Switch didn’t have as much charge as we thought. Usually the screen will still light up with a battery indicator letting you know it needs charging, but if it’s seriously empty it won’t have the charge to even do that. Charge it with the official Nintendo Switch Power Adapter that came with the console and leave it for at least an hour. You’d be surprised how often this works.
Perform a hard reset
If charging does nothing at all then your next bet should be to perform a hard reset. You can do this by holding down the power button on the top of the console (not the Home Button on the Joy-Con) for around 12 seconds, or 15 if your second counting ability leaves something to be desired. Release the power button from your firm finger force, and press it once as you usually would to turn it on. With any luck things should now function just as you’d expect them to; this solution has even saved some of the NLife crew once or twice.
My Switch won’t charge
If you console isn’t taking or keeping a charge, there’s a couple of solutions you can try before taking the nuclear option.
Use an official Nintendo Switch Power Adapter
The Switch charges using a non-standard protocol, so if you’ve been using a third-party solution that may be where issues arise. We’re sure there are plenty of perfectly sensible third-party adapters out there, but we can’t vouch for their reliability or safety, but we (and obviously Nintendo) can vouch for the official charger.
Power-cycle your power adapter
Seems ludicrous, but there’s a surprising amount of gubbins inside that power adapter of yours. Unplug it from both your Switch and the wall and leave it for 30 to 60 seconds. This will in essence reset the adapter and set things right. Before you test it though…
Check the power adapter for damage
Does it all look all right on both ends? The official power adapter is pretty hardy, but it’s not impervious. Check inside the USB-C plug for any bent pins that might not be making good contact (bad), inspect the cable for fraying as this can cause a short (very bad), and as obvious as it sounds, make sure there are no cracks or buckling on the housing of the wall adapter side (genuine fire risk). If you see any signs of damage, do not use the adapter at all as it could pose a danger. Replace it with another official adapter, and see if using a brand-spanking new solves your issue.
Leave it to charge for a few hours.
If the battery’s been really heavily drained, it needs to recharge slowly for safety reasons (that’s a very basic explanation of how lithium-ion batteries work but it’s enough for the purposes of this guide). If your console only just ran out of juice and you plug it in, it will likely be useable almost immediately, but if it’s sat for weeks or even months with no charge it could take several hours to get even any kind of response out of it. Leave it on charge (supervised) for at least 2 hours, but keep it plugged in for longer if it still shows no signs of life. If after 12-24 hours you still get nothing from trying to turn it on, try a hard reset as detailed above as one last attempt to get things going.
The nuclear option
If all of that fails, your last sensible course of action is to call Nintendo directly and discuss getting it repaired. If your console is still within warranty they may not charge you for the service, but be prepared that unlike the advice we’ve given you, this most likely won’t be free.
What about third party repair shops?
Be very wary of any unauthorised repair shops. Chances are that they’re all completely trustworthy, hardworking, and knowledgeable individuals who will be working on your system, but using one of these will in all likelihood mean that if anything else goes wrong in the future, Nintendo will refuse to repair or service your console, even for a fee. It sucks, but that’s the kind of dystopia we’re living in at the moment.
Can I repair it myself? I have a screwdriver somewhere…
This is even more dangerous, I mean have you even seen inside a Switch before? Wires, circuitry, resistors, strange-tasting heatsinks, it’s not exactly like that time you blew in your N64’s cartridge slot and ‘fixed it’ (side note: don’t do this, it’s bad for the contacts). We don't want anything to happen to your console, and if you had the knowhow and skills to repair this yourself you likely wouldn't be using this article as a resource, so keep things safe and leave it to the professionals. Feel free to try the simple stuff we’ve mentioned above, but don’t risk your expensive Animal Crossing machine accidentally.