Like any electronic device, the Switch isn’t perfect in hardware or software and although issues with either are shouldn't crop up too often, 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.
Further reading: Nintendo Switch Issues And Hardware Faults - How To Fix Common Switch Problems
this has happened to me so many times now
Can't say I've ever had this problem. All of my issues are from joy-con drifting.
As I recall, the Nintendo Switch doesn't use a "non-standard" charging protocol. It actually uses a standard called Power Delivery.
Proper USB-PD chargers are actually pretty expensive. The official Nintendo Switch AC adapter is such a USB-PD charger and can be used for other devices that charge using USB-PD.
I'm not 100% on this info though, as electronics and electrical supplies are not my strong suit. I'd encourage everyone to do their own research if they have doubts.
It's a shame the Joy-con are such poor quality. I rarely use them as I mostly play with the Pro controller but both of them have numerous problems.
The right one was the first to have problems, it frequently disconnected while playing but I managed to fix it somewhat with a strip of tape on the inside of the rail. Then it flirted with drift before deciding to pack in altogether. So now I can't even play in handheld at all.
The left one has also flirted with drift on a few occasions but it comes and goes. It does still work though, well when it's attached to console it does. When it's not, it refuses to be recognised, either as half a set or as an individual controller. Plus, the green light doesn't work.
The fact that I barely used the things and took good care of them makes it really hard to justify buying another set.
I've been gaming for 40 years and I have never had a controller pack in on me.
I always soak it in water; give a good whack with the ol' hammer afterwards, and it's as good as new.
i get this issue every once in a while lol. also @Kalmaro my joy-cons drift ridiculously
Uggghhhh..... This happened to my 3ds. At least we have cloud save
Thought my switch was dead a while back but found a HUGE bit of green fluff from my son's favourite cuddly toy in the charging slot. I am however ready to change the fan and thermal paste this weekend when I finish work. Release switch starting to sound like a helicopter even on games that aren't taxing. £20 for all parts so cheaper than getting back to big N.
Nice piece, Alex!
@Octane You're such a rascal!
Using the USB-C connector and not properly implementing USB-C is not the same as a custom charging method. This is just a broken implementation of a proper method. Nintendo needs to fix this with the next release. I believe the implementation is fine, except for in docked mode.
I bought a pair of those neon yellow joycons, and any time I have them connected, the Switch randomly goes "no battery!" and turns itself off.
Doesn't do it with my original grey joycons.
My wife's switch refused to turn on when she ignored it for 6 months. Had to jump start it with a portable battery because nintendo chargers and cords weren't working.
The Switch itself is very durable but the Joycons are garbage. Sorry, no two ways around it.
Never had this issue including the Joy Con drift. I guess people are just really rough on their controllers. We have 3 Switches in the house and not any of them have issues.
Nintendo wont fix a switch that been repaired by a third party.. what if you told Nintendo if the switch was second hand? So you wouldn’t know if it had been repaired before.
It would still have been fixed by a third party
hold 20 seconds the power button down
then 20 seconds the + button.
just press the power button.
My switch wouldn't power on about a month ago, and I started to panic. Then I googled and found out about the hard reset. Worked like a charm, and haven't problem since.
Never had any problems with my two switch consoles or joycons for that matter, must be just very lucky.
@ivory_soul It could also be variability with component quality. I am the primary user, but eventually both left joy-cons drifted. It does point to wear and tear, since I don’t have issues with the right joy-cons (with the same internal component). The right analog stick is used less. The left stick is used a lot in games like BOTW and Mario Odyssey. Nevertheless, this is normal wear that the joy-con should be able to handle for at least a few years. Both sticks on my pro-controller are still working without any drifting.
My comment is kind of off topic here. But i'm wondering if someone could shed some light on my question. I bought an anker powerbank 20000mah the other day its due in the post soon. Even though i know its compatible with my cell phone which a huawei P30. I'm afraid to use it for my switch. The seller has confirmed its compatible but he would say that right, Does anybody here use a powerbank at all?
Happened to me several times, here are a 2 more fixes that worked for me:
probably worth noting here that all repair centers in north america are closed until further notice
Lucky to have never had this problem! In case it ever unfortunately comes around, I have bookmarked this page. Thanks
My heart skipped a beat when I saw this. I thought I was about to get educated on Nintendo’s version of “the red ring of death.” 😂
Now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t think they make systems like they used to. After the original Nintendo, from the next era up until the PS2/Dreamcast/GameCube era, I never had problems with my systems, outside of my Game Gear dying. After that, I’ve had every major console, except the 360 and PS4. Every one of them (other than my Switch) have died or given me problems. I guess the more complex the system...🤷🏾♂️
If it's a battery issue, then just get a replacement online, find a YouTube tutorial and DIY. They're making it sound scarier than it actually is! Of course if you got hands like Jarjar Bink's, then send it in.
@tameshiyaku It's never that hard to put in a new battery...it's the putting it back together that's the tough bit.
@ReikoMortis Ah, the 100M yeet?
Sister's kids just had this happen. Got stuck on an update at 100% then wouldn't switch on. They tried a hard reset.
What fixed it was to take it out of the house away from the wifi (so it drops the connection) then it came to life.
Hope that helps someone else.
⚠️Does ANYONE know WHY this happens?
@Illusion how did you do this?
@Dean_rodwell portable batteries and regular USB cords try to dump more power into the Switch than the Nintendo brand dock or USB cords. Just hook it up and push power and it should start up. I let it sit there for an hour, then moved it to dock to charge overnight. Worked for me at least, no guarantees.
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