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How to fix a frozen Nintendo Switch

Animal Crossing New Horizons Journal Switch HeroSource: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

You know the drill — you’re playing your game, and then suddenly, it seems like everything just stops, and you find yourself having to fix a frozen Nintendo Switch. You hope maybe it’s just an excruciating long loading screen, but sometimes the reality is your Switch is frozen. If you’re ever in that predicament, then here’s what you need to do, and don’t let it ruin your gaming session!

Put your Switch back in its dock

Animal Crossing New Horizons Switch Docked

Source: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

The act of docking and undocking your Switch will briefly interrupt just about everything happening on the console. You barely notice it because it happens so fast, but there’s a brief stutter where the console makes that switch (I regret nothing) from one state to another.

If your Switch is frozen, dock it and undock it to see what happens. You’ll see the console return to its normal functioning position in many cases, and everything is great. No additional steps are required — you can return to your regularly scheduled gameplay.

On the other hand, if you’re still suffering issues, you may need a new dock. Instead of buying the pricey official one, try out a more reasonably-priced third-party dock and see if it helps your issues. Oussirro’s portable dock is a great item for this purpose, especially given its affordability.

Press the Home button

Nintendo Switch on home screen in a portable stand

Source: iMore

It’s possible that if you need to fix a frozen Nintendo Switch, the issue lies with the game and not with the system. Pressing the Home button while in-game will confirm whether the problem is with the game or the console. If you are sent back to the Home menu, you can close out of the game and restart it. If you are sent nowhere at all, you’ll need to try other steps.

Power button reboot

Fix frozen Switch by pushing Nintendo Switch power button

Source: iMore

Pressing the power button in once may not do anything when you’re trying to fix a frozen Nintendo Switch, but there’s a hardware reboot in that power button that will work no matter what. As long as the console has power, you’ll be able to reboot it this way.

Just press and hold that power button for 15 seconds. At the 15 second mark, the screen will go dark for a moment and then light back up a moment later with the Nintendo logo. You’ll see the Switch logo next, just like a normal boot sequence, and all of a sudden, the Switch is back to working order. Hooray!

Blue screened?

Nintendo Switch with Zelda Joy-Cons

Source: iMore

If none of these solutions worked, or if any of the results in the infamous blue screen of death, you’re probably out of luck for now. You’ll need to contact Nintendo’s support line for your region and ship your console to them to have them reset it for you. Be warned that this may cause you to lose saved data, remove any game cards or microSD cards before sending the system in.

Our top equipment picks

Here’s all the equipment you need to fix a frozen Nintendo Switch.

Game Everywhere

Nintendo Switch Neon Blue and Red Joy-Cons

Nintendo Switch – Gaming Console

An all-new way to play.

With the Nintendo Switch, you can play classic couch co-op or take your fun on the go, anywhere. The action transitions seamlessly, and there are a ton of great games to find on the console.

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The Nintendo Switch is a great console, but it can still be prone to flaws. Thankfully, Nintendo has ensured it’s easy to recover from crashes and freezes, so if you’re buying or have recently bought a Switch and you’re concerned, be sure to keep this page bookmarked in case you need it in the future.

Additional Equipment

If you’re on the go or looking for a cheap secondary dock to troubleshoot with, check out the Oussirro adapter. It looks and acts like a USB hub for your Nintendo Switch. You can connect an HDMI cable to it and play on any HDTV you can find, and use your favorite accessories with its additional USB 3.0 port.

Oussirro Nintendo Switch hub adapter

Oussirro Nintendo Switch Hub
($23 at Amazon)

It looks like a regular USB hub, but it acts as a portable Nintendo Switch dock adapter.

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