The Nintendo Switch has been on the market for more than two and half years now, but one of its available functions hasn't had any use (officially, at least) in all that time. Now, though, the time has finally come for that little function to shine.
On your right-hand Joy-Con and your Pro Controller, you'll notice that the HOME button has a ring around the edge. As you may or may not already be aware, that ring is actually an LED light; we've seen it light up before but only when a Pro Controller connects to Steam.
Starting from today, thanks to a Switch system update which takes the console's firmware to Version 9.0, the light will finally be used for "alarm notifications". You can see how that works below:
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.
Ironically, we've been trying all sorts of tricks to get our controllers to light up in the office - online game invites, friend requests, and anything that might be considered a "notification" - but haven't managed to get it to work. Of course, the text above refers to the alarm function being added in the future, but we'd hoped other notifications might work, too - as hinted at by this Switch Lite feature image. Switch Lite exclusive?
Having any luck? Noticed your controllers flashing at you for the first time today? Tell us below.
Owned these controllers for over 2 years now and honestly had no idea this was even a thing
Would be great if this flashed to say you had a friend asking you to play online.
@Scorchio same here.
Interesting but for me, I rarely look at the controller when gaming so wouldn't notice the blue light.
It clearly says "Alarms can be set up only within supported software (to be added at a later time)." So why would you expect anything to light the LED yet?
Now we just need a messaging system that uses this light.
The blue light on mine has honestly been flashing for at least last 5 months
The prayers have been answered - albeit I'd like it to light up bit more often.
Nice, didn’t even realise it was a light so I like it.
random but I hate the blue light on the PS4 controller.
When playing chilled games I hold the controller funny and it glares in your eyes, and no feature o turn the light off.
Anyway irrelevant information lol
It’s always on just really dim
Functionality which is within, but never used until later, sounds like the Amiibo scanner on the Wii U.
When will they make the IR on the joycon do something?
@Bunkerneath Isn't IR on joycon used in Labo kits?
Do I really need an alarm? I rarely fall asleep playing games.
Didn’t even know it had a led ring. Reminds me of the notification alert the Wii u gamepad had
I didn't have a clue there was an LED on the home button.
Never knew there was a LED light on controller lol.
what notifications? is there any use for this? can't be for nintendo online chats, because there aren't any
@YessMasster Yup. The IR camera is used a lot in the Labo kits. If I remember correctly, it also has an IR light that is also used for Labo.
I use the pro controller for steam and when I first saw the light I thought it was indeed pretty cool!
Good to see they’re about to use it for more features.
I wondered why the home button looked different. I just thought it was to make it a bit more obvious it was the button to turn the Switch on.
“Alarms set up within software” sounds a lot like potentially setting up notifications reminding you not to bail on your Animal Crossing responsibilities.
@Mince why not go into settings and dim the light? it's barely noticeable then.
By coincidence I was looking at my right Joycon the other day and thinking, why did Nintendo make the Home button look like it lights up?
Now I know, the answer is, it does; just not for anything I'd ever use it for. It would be much better if it lit up for software updates like the Wii U. If I need an alarm I'm going to use my phone...
It lights up if you hook the controller to anything other than a Switch, so I knew it was there, but I didn't know what it was good for. :9
I hope in the next update they make it so you can disable controllers waking the system in handheld mode
I'm guessing it will light up twice at some point in the future.
Once when they add folders.
Once when they add themes.
That is such a Nintendo move. Hiding a feature in plain sight and not making use of it for multiple years.
That being said it’s a welcome addition and kudos to them for using the same blue color going all the way back to the Wii disc slot and Wii remote indicator lights.
@rjejr One can only hope.
@Bunkerneath We used the amiibo scanner a lot on the Wii U b/c that's were we played Zelda BotW and it was the only way to get the pet wolf in game and possibly the best horse.
Things we never used - which probably cost more to add, were:
The TVii button, which never even had a use in the EU.
The camera. Which really should have been used for chat in games more. Games like those Hasbro board games.
Gamepad itself should have been an accessory to the Wii 2 HD when Starfox Zero and Super Mario Maker released. Maybe they would have kept the interactive map in Zelda BotW then.
Internet: Can you give us a full browser on the Switch please, Nintendo?
Nintendo: No...but you can use your Switch as an alarm clock now!
I could imagine it being "useful" for Warframe.
@Bunkerneath IR is also used on the sandwich eating game on 1-2 switch.
Setting a time/date alarm ingame sounds awfully AnimalCrossing'y!
I didn't realise it was a secret.
Mine turns on when I use my Pro Controller to play games on PC via Steam (the sync button functions as an on/off button).
Neat. How do I turn it off?
Had no clue about the ring. Good to know
Oh nice. I've only seen it turn on when I would use my pro controller on my PC to play games.
I found out about the light when a I pair my controller with my PC. It was so jarring at first.
I'm betting games like Animal Crossing and Pokemon will make some use of it.
Since Switch came out I've always wondered why the Right Joy-Con has literally all the additional features (NFC, IR, LED) ! Poor old Left Joy-Con must've felt like it got short - changed ! 😢
Also, when navigating the home screen menus the Right Joy-Con can just be used on its own no problem (upright half Joy-Con connection not sideways single Joy-Con connection), whereas the Left Joy-Con cannot as there's no way to select A/B/X/Y 😝 ! Could use it set as single sideways Joy-Con though, albeit the directions of the analog stick need getting used-to !
Only knew about this because in Steam it always lights on, unless you disable it.
I never even knew they had lights! I thought the ring was just an echo of the WiiU home button design aesthetic!
@jco83 Not only that, it seems the left sticks are usually the ines to drift first. Weird, considering thay it seems to have a lot less going on.
Have a feeling they will release a new updated version of street pass when the lite comes out since it will be a portable system. The light will be used when you get a passerby like the DS does.
@Jayofmaya I guess that's because the left stick most likely gets a lot more use, and possibly more strenuous use, being the main control method for most games ?
@Mince You know you 'can' turn it down or off from the settings menu right?
Same here. I guess I've never looked at the controllers that closely.
i forgot that was even there, i remember seeing that on the specs pg a couple years back but hard to keep a memory of something never used
I had no idea that was an LED light!
It makes me wonder if this is tied to the announcement coming up on the 12th? perhaps it notifies you of something which is why you need specific software for it to work.
I knew the ring around the Home button was an LED light, but I honestly thought Nintendo just decided for some reason to scrap using it too late into production so it was left there with no use.
@jco83 Oh yeah, herpa derp. XD
This news is LIT AF!
@Bunkerneath The IR was used from launch... With 1, 2, Switch. I forgive you for not knowing this.
Honestly the IR feature had been the weirdest thing about the system since launch. It can seemingly only detect shapes immediately in front of it, and when using the controllers normally, it's in a useless position. Seems to me that somebody at Nintendo had some cool sensor hardware they were playing around with and managed to get it included even though there's no real use for it.
I'm glad they found a purpose for it in Labo, but I feel like they could've done the same using buttons, motion control or the NFC reader.
I remember being impressed when I figured out that the home button on the Pro controller would turn the console on.
Also did you know that the button is actually pronounced "Hoeum" button? You've all been saying it wrong this whole time.
@Jayofmaya nice expression never heard that before
I use the alarm in Warcraft to remind me to stop playing the game.
But how do you update the pro controller, when i try i says "all controllers up to date" or did the already have a update?
The two things the Switch lacks that seemed weird: bluetooth headphone support and a way to message friends to play online together.
So, basically, it's a feature that should've been there from day one.
I knew about this. I used my Switch Pro controller on my PC fairly often and it always lights up then, nice to see it's finally been put to use.
Just two more years people and Nintendo will unlock that extra hidden, under-clocked 60 Mhz. It will take the switch to incredible performance increases at the cost of only 50 minute reduced battery time!
@Scorchio Only reason I knew was because Steam uses them when you hook up the controllers to a PC.
Yay a feature that will help drain our controller's battery faster. Thank you Ninty.
Nintendo developer: "So what should we name this smaller Switch model?"
Nintendo executive: "How about Nintendo Switch Lite?"
Developer: "Great! I like that! Lite, sounds like light... light... Wow, I just remembered a feature we haven't used before."
"Ironically, we've been trying all sorts of tricks to get our controllers to light up in the office - online game invites, friend requests, and anything that might be considered a "notification"
How is this ironic?
@Xaessya morse code messaging with that LED? Sounds retro
I actually knew it but only because connecting it to Steam, actually makes it shine up.
I don’t even need an advanced use for it. It would just be nice if it would light up when I’m playing at night; set it up for “nightlight times” or something.
Sounds like an Animal Crossing feature, right?
@Mince you can change the light color and how bright/dim it is actually.
@retro_player_22 considering it has a super long battery life I see no issue here.
@forumposter21 That... honestly sounds like how it probably went down, lol
@Xaessya YOUR AVATAR IS BEAUTIFUL
@neolestat @Dirty0814 Thanks for the 8nfo guys but it’s not like turning the lights down are hidden features. All you do is navigate a settings menu so thanks but yeah kinda obvious.
That explains alot.. finally i can stop being like STOP IT
Like others I never look down at the controller while I'm holding it. The Wii U Gamepad had that, and I guess there, I would look at the controller more since the friggin thing had a screen on it displaying important info more often than not.
But even there, most of the time I would look at the TV, and not catch the led blinking. And even if I did... so what? I don't want that LED to flash whenever there's something unimportant going on, and if it's something important and it only blinks once or twice I'll miss it of course. So unless it keeps blinking until you do something about it, then it doesn't do much for me. On-screen pop-up messages are more important to me, while I'm playing, and I guess if the console is in sleep mode in the dock then a blinking led on the attached JoyCon-R, then yeah that blue light could be useful to warn of important things happening while the console was alseep.
@YessMasster it's comments like this that are completely a waste of time and energy. Much like this one.
Mine came on. Just add water. Lol! No don’t. We downloaded a system update and no blue light. Then suddenly my daughter poured juice on the controller and the blue light came on. The downside is that we may have to get a new controller because this one is now not working properly.
So at first I thought I killed my controller. The juice my daughter spilled on it must have dried up but now the buttons stick a litttle. Going to wait for battery to die and then clean with alcohol. This button light comes on when the system is off but turns itself off during play. Too bad it doesn’t just stay on during play. I really like that color of the glowing light and wish that it was on more predictably. Just make the light come on next time and stay on, Nintendo crew. Forget a notification light. I liked having it on but was sad that it went off during play. It would have been easier to find when we misplace it during while play is paused. Just be cool and make it light up all the time it’s on or the game is on. That would be awesome. I love your products!
Mine goes off with my preset reminder alarms from Ringfit. Scared the crap out of us at first 🤣
Didn't know about this for a year and it scared the life out of me cuz it went of at 3am
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