Nintendo Switch System Update

Since Nintendo Switch launched back in March 2017, the handheld hybrid console has received numerous firmware updates. As is standard for any piece of technology these days, these system updates have added new features, refined existing menu and User Interface elements, and provided an ever-more secure and stable platform for your video gaming pleasure.

Yes, the fabled 'stability' to 'enhance the user experience' is the usual line Nintendo uses to describe the more minor firmware updates to the Switch family of consoles, but occasionally the company will give a little more context for a system update and provide details of exact bugs that have been squashed or minor alterations made.

Below is a full list of Nintendo's system update notes going right back to the launch of Nintendo Switch in March 2017, as detailed in our regular news articles (and on Nintendo's website). Where applicable, we've included update information not specifically detailed by Nintendo, too, to provide you with as much information of the Switch's evolution as possible and let you find out which features were added in which update.

Nintendo Switch System Update History - Full Switch Firmware Guide

Ver. 12.1.0 (Released July 5, 2021)

Added the following system functionality:

  • If there is not enough space remaining on the system memory (internal storage) or microSD card when downloading game software update data, you can now delete old data for that software, enabling you to download the new data.
    • When deleting the old data, you won't be able to play the game until the new data has finished downloading.

General system stability improvements have been made to enhance the user's experience.

Ver. 12.0.3 (Released June 7, 2021) - distribution halted on June 8 - see below

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience.

Note: After sending it live, Nintendo apparently stopped distribution of Switch system update Version 12.0.3 a matter of hours after it became available. No reason for the sudden halt was given, although some fans on Twitter are speculating that the update may have caused errors for those who did download it prior to its removal.

If you didn't update your console to Switch firmware Ver. 12.0.3, you no longer have the option to do so at the time of writing. We'll update this guide with more information as we get it.

Ver. 12.0.2 (Released May 11, 2021)

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience.

Nintendo dataminer and Twitter user OatmealDome also identified changes to core system components, the bluetooth driver and the application manager. And there are "probably" some minor bug fixes...

Ver. 12.0.1 (Released April 19, 2021)

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience.

Ver. 12.0.0 (Released April 5, 2021)

We fixed the issue with the save data backup feature, where in rare cases, the automatic backup of save data is interrupted if a communication error occurs during completion of the save data backup process.

Well-known dataminer OatmealDome has also shared some additional information about Version 12.0.0:

Ver. 11.0.1 (Released December 10, 2020)

Corrections for the following problems that occurred with system update version 11.0.0:

  • Corrected a problem where some games couldn't be played correctly.
  • Corrected a problem where, in combination with some TVs, the image would not be displayed in TV mode and an error occurred.
  • Corrected a problem which changed how the Control Stick and the C Stick on the Nintendo GameCube controller responded.

Ver. 11.0.0 (Released November 30, 2020)

Nintendo Switch Online was added to the HOME Menu.

  • Access all Nintendo Switch Online services, from getting the latest information to checking your membership status.
    This feature is not available in some countries/regions.

A new feature that automatically downloads backed up save data was added to the Save Data Cloud.

  • When using software with the same Nintendo Account linked to multiple systems, save data backed up from one console will automatically be downloaded to your other system(s).

A new Trending feature was added to the User Page.

  • Users can check what software their friends are playing or have started playing recently.
    Information will not be displayed for friends who have their online status set to display to no one.

Users can now transfer screenshots and videos from Album to their smart devices.

  • Users can wirelessly connect their smart devices to Nintendo Switch to transfer the screenshots and videos saved within their Album.
  • For screenshots, users can transfer a maximum of 10 screenshots and 1 video capture at once.

A new Copy to a Computer via USB Connection feature was added under System Settings > Data Management > Manage Screenshots and Videos.

  • Users can use a USB cable to connect Nintendo Switch to their computers to copy the screenshots and videos saved under Album.

Users can now select what download to prioritize when there are multiple downloads in progress.

  • When there are multiple software, update data, or downloadable content downloads in progress, users can now select which they want to download first.
  • You can set this under Download Options by selecting the icon for the software you want to download first on the HOME Menu.

User icons were added.

  • 12 user icons that commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Super Mario Bros. series were added.

Users can now name preset button mappings with the Change Button Mapping feature.

Brazilian Portuguese was added as a supported language.

  • When users set their region to the Americas and their language to Português, the language used on the HOME Menu and in certain software will be displayed in Brazilian Portuguese.

Several issues were fixed, and usability and stability were improved.

Ver. 10.2.0 (Released September 14, 2020)

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience.

Ver. 10.1.0 (Released July 13, 2020)

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience.

Ver. 10.0.4 (Released June 4, 2020)

Fixed the following issue:
We have fixed the issue where it was not possible in some countries or regions to add funds using a new credit card or to register credit card information in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch.

Ver. 10.0.3 (Released May 25, 2020)

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience.

Ver. 10.0.2 (Released April 29, 2020)

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience, including a solution for the following:
We have fixed an issue where a Nintendo Switch console with system menu version 10.0.0 or 10.0.1 does not set up a new Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, sometimes causing incorrect joystick control.

Ver. 10.0.1 (Released April 21, 2020)

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience.

Ver. 10.0.0 (Released April 13, 2020)

Added a bookmark feature to News.
This feature allows you to bookmark your favorite news items.

  • A maximum of 300 news items can be bookmarked.
  • An internet connection is required to view bookmarked News items.
  • News items that are no longer available cannot be viewed, even if they were bookmarked.

Added an option to transfer software data between the system memory and an SD card.

  • Users can now transfer downloadable software, update data, and DLC from the system memory to an SD card (and vice versa).
  • Note that save data and some update data cannot be transferred to an SD card.

Added an option to remap the controller buttons.

  • Analog stick and button configurations can now be changed for each paired controller.
  • Custom configurations can be saved as favorites in System Settings > Controllers and Sensors.
    • Custom configurations are stored on the Nintendo Switch system.
    • Configurations can be customized for the following controllers: Joy-Con (L), Joy-Con (R), Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. Button configurations can also be customized on the Nintendo Switch Lite system.
    • This feature is not available for other controllers.
    • On each system, up to five favorite custom configurations can be saved for Joy-Con (L), five for Joy-Con (R), five for Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. Five configurations can also be saved as favorites for Nintendo Switch Lite.

Added a new section in User Settings for Play Activity Settings.

  • The options for "Display play activity to:" and "Delete Play Activity" have been moved from Friends Settings to the new Play Activity Settings.

Added new selections to the lineup of user profile icons.

  • Select from 6 new icons from the Animal Crossing: New Horizons game for your user.

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience.

Ver. 9.2.0 (Released March 2, 2020)

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience.

Ver. 9.1.0 (Released December 4, 2019)

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience, including a solution for the following:

  • Resolved an issue where the color animation was not displaying correctly when attaching a Joy-Con controller to the Nintendo Switch console.

Ver. 9.0.1 (Released September 30, 2019)

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience, including a solution for the following:

  • Resolved an issue that may have triggered errors during game play.
  • Resolved an issue that may display an instruction to remove the Joy-Con during the initial setup of Nintendo Switch Lite.

Ver. 9.0.0 (Released September 9, 2019)

Added the following system functionality:

  • Added a search feature for the News Channel.
    • Channels can be searched using filters or free text.
  • Added “Display QR Code to Check In” to User Settings.
    • You can display a QR Code on-screen to check in using your Nintendo Account.
  • Alarm Notifications have been added to System Settings > Notifications.
    • You can check or delete pre-set alarms.
    • Alarms can be set up only within supported software (to be added at a later time).
    • A controller firmware update may be required to use this feature.
  • You can now configure touch screen sensitivity settings.
    • Select between Standard and Stylus sensitivity (optimized for stylus input).
  • Added the option to turn on/off the system button input (Nintendo Switch Lite only).
    • When this setting is turned off the system no longer receives input from the console buttons, with the exception of the Capture and HOME Buttons, and can only be operated from a wirelessly paired controller (sold separately).
    • This setting is on by default and can only be turned off if a compatible controller (sold separately) is wirelessly paired to the console.
    • The setting will automatically turn back on when the console is restarted or after returning from sleep mode.
  • Added “Online Play Invites” section to the User's page.
    • Invites from friends to join online play in supported software will be displayed in this section.
  • General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience.
    • Resolved an issue where some users can’t start the Fire Emblem: Three Houses game, and get an error instead.

Ver. 8.1.0 (Released June 17, 2019)

  • General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience.

Ver. 8.0.1 (Released April 23, 2019)

  • General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience.

Ver. 8.0.0 (Released April 15, 2019)

Added the following system functionality:

  • A Sort Software feature is available after selecting to view All Software from the HOME Menu
    • Software can be sorted by time last played, total play time, software title, and software publisher
    • The All Software option displays when there are 13 or more software icons on the HOME Menu
  • A View All Available News option is available within News, allowing you to view all news items currently being distributed
  • Select from 15 new icons from the Splatoon™ 2 and Yoshi’s Crafted World™ games for your user
  • A feature to Transfer Your Save Data is now available, allowing you to transfer your save data for individual games between your Nintendo Switch systems
  • A Zoom feature can be enabled from within System Settings
  • An option is available to prevent the system from waking from Sleep Mode when an AC adapter is disconnected
  • A VR Mode (3D Visuals) restriction is available within Parental Controls
  • Hong Kong/Taiwan/South Korea is available for selection in Region
  • The following names have been changed (functionality remains the same)
    • Save Data Cloud Backup has been changed to Save Data Cloud
    • Transfer Your User and Save Data has been changed to Transfer Your User Data
  • General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience.

Ver. 7.0.1 (Released February 18, 2019)

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience, including:

  • Resolved an issue where the Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! games cannot reconnect to the Pokémon GO app if the game software was closed after pairing with the app.

Ver. 7.0.0 (Released January 28, 2019)

  • Select from six new New Super Mario Bros.™ U Deluxe icons for your user
  • Added additional language support to the HOME Menu for Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), and Korean
  • General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience

Ver. 6.2.0 (Released November 19, 2018)

  • General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience.

Ver. 6.1.0 (Released October 29, 2018)

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience, including:

  • Resolved an issue where certain games don’t recognize a Nintendo Switch Online membership for a short time after purchase

Ver. 6.0.1 (Released October 8, 2018)

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience, including:

  • Resolved an issue where internet connection test does not display correct results for download and upload speed
  • Resolved an issue where some licensed controllers' motion controls such as tilt function respond incorrectly

Ver. 6.0.0 (Released September 18, 2018)

Nintendo Switch Online features and functionality have been added, including:

  • Save Data Cloud - Use your internet connection to back up game save data for compatible games

Further reading: Guide: Which Nintendo Switch Games Do Not Support Cloud Saves?

Added the following system functionality:

  • Upload up to four Album screenshots at once on supported social network services (only one captured video can be uploaded at once)
  • Select from six new Captain Toad icons for your user
  • The term active console has been renamed primary console in Nintendo eShop
  • Display of Nintendo Switch News articles will be limited to match the restricted software parental controls setting selections
  • Change the layout of the USB keyboard to the desired language

Removed the following system functionality:

  • After installing the system update, it will no longer be possible to unlink your Nintendo Account from your Nintendo Switch user

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience, including:

  • Compatibility improvements have been made for a controller licensed by Nintendo

Ver. 5.1.0 (Released May 30. 2018)

  • General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience

Ver. 5.0.2 (Released April 16, 2018)

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience, including:

  • Resolved an issue that caused motion controls to respond incorrectly when playing games that use the feature
  • Resolved an issue that caused user icons for recommended friends to not display correctly

Ver. 5.0.1 (Released March 26, 2018)

  • General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience

Ver. 5.0.0 (Released March 12, 2018)

Added the following system functionality:

  • Facebook and Twitter friends that also use Nintendo Switch can now be added through Friend Suggestions
  • Select from 24 new ARMS and the Kirby series icons for your user
  • Digital software purchases made from a PC or smart device will start downloading sooner than previously, even if the Nintendo Switch console is in Sleep Mode
  • Filter News to view only unread news or news from specific channels
  • To keep the Parental Controls PIN private, the default method for PIN entry has been changed to entering using the Control Stick and buttons instead of the on-screen number pad
  • Captured videos in the Album will be restricted by Parental Controls depending on the Restricted Software setting and Software Rating Organization
  • Using the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app, add specific software titles to your whitelist to exclude them from the console’s Parental Controls Restricted Software setting
  • Receive notification when pre-purchased software is ready to play
  • Nintendo Switch Pro Controller grip colors will now display in the Controllers menu

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience, including:

  • Resolved an issue that caused Play Activity to display incorrectly in the Profile section of your User Page

Ver. 4.1.0 (Released December 4, 2017)

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience, including:

  • Resolved an issue that caused motion controls to respond incorrectly when playing games that use the feature

Ver. 4.0.1 (Released October 25, 2017)

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience, including:

  • Changed the HDMI connection process specification to match that of version 3.0.2 to address video and sound output issues with some TV models.

Ver. 4.0.0 (Released October 18, 2017)

Added the following system functionality:

  • Capture video up to a maximum of the previous 30 seconds with compatible software, which is saved in the Album. You can trim the beginning and end of each clip, and post to Facebook and Twitter
  • Select from 12 new Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild icons for your user
  • Transfer user and save data to another system

Further reading: Guide: Nintendo Switch System Transfer: How To Transfer All Your Saves, Games, Profiles, And User Data

  • Pre-purchase option on Nintendo eShop
  • News channel updates - the news feed has been updated with a new look.
  • Match software version with a group of local users

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience, including:

  • Changed the specification which hid wireless networks using TKIP security from the network search results. Wireless networks using TKIP security will now display in search results as a grayed-out selection instead of not being displayed

Ver. 3.0.2 (Released September 5, 2017)

  • Nintendo Switch Online
    • Added online play in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Peru. This is currently available for free until the paid online service launches in 2018.
  • General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience

Ver. 3.0.1 (Released July 31, 2017)

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience, including:

  • Addressed an issue in which the remaining battery charge can't be displayed accurately

Ver. 3.0.0 (Released June 19, 2017)

Added the following system functionality

  • Register a channel to receive News for specific games
  • Add friends from your Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Friend Lists
  • Receive notifications when your Friends go online
  • Find paired controllers within communication range by activating the vibration feature
  • Change the user icon order on the Home Menu
  • Select from 6 new Splatoon 2 characters for user icon
  • Change the system volume from the Quick Settings
  • The maximum volume when using headphones or speakers connected to the audio jack has been raised and can be lowered if desired.
  • Change display colors to Invert Colors or Grayscale
  • Use the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller via wired communication by connecting the USB charging cable
  • Update connected controllers
  • Added a feature that suggests deletion of software data if there is insufficient space when downloading other software

General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience, including:

  • Resolved an issue that caused game software updates to fail and prevented the software from starting
  • Improvements to prevent unintended HDMI input change with certain TVs while the console is docked in Sleep Mode

Ver. 2.3.0 (Released May 15, 2017)

  • General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience

Ver. 2.2.0 (Released April 17, 2017)

  • General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience

Ver. 2.1.0 (Released March 27, 2017)

  • General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience

Ver. 2.0.0 (Released March 3, 2017)

  • Playing online
  • Online multiplayer available for free until the paid online service launches in 2018. Not available in all countries.
  • Adding friends
  • Sharing Album screenshots to Facebook and Twitter
  • Browsing and purchasing content on Nintendo eShop
  • Receiving News relating to games, Nintendo eShop discounts, and promotions
  • Earning My Nintendo points for game card (retail version)

Added the following system functionality:

  • Update game software
  • Turn on the TV automatically when placing the Nintendo Switch console in the Nintendo Switch dock.
  • Display the battery percentage on the HOME Menu
  • Format the microSD card

Further reading:

[source en-americas-support.nintendo.com]