Storage Tips For Your Nintendo Switch From Somebody Who Finally Got A MicroSD Card

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I’m sure every Nintendo Switch user has had that moment of storage panic, downloading a big bulky game only to have your Switch tell you this:

“Hey, dummy. You stinky little fool. Ye who carries the brain of a slug and the body of one too. You better get some more damn space on this console or I will slice you with a huge sword.”

At that point you’re thinking about just archiving some games, deleting some software from your Switch, and either of these options is all well and good. However, it can sometimes get a bit annoying redownloading a game every time you want to play it. So what do you do? You get a microSD card.

Get A microSD Card

Any microSDXC card will work with the Nintendo Switch, but the SanDisk microSDXC cards are made for the Nintendo Switch and have a cute little symbol on them depending on which size you get. I got the 64GB one so I’ve got a little Triforce on mine. Sure, it’s inside the console so I can’t actually see it, but it’s the thought that counts, right? As long as I’m thinking about it, I’m having the most fun of my life so far.

nintendo sandisk 64gb microsd card
Image: Kotaku Australia

Before I got the microSDXC card, I actually ended up taking the route we previously discussed and deleted a whole bunch of games, which was annoying considering I still wanted to play them. The thing is, I also have the memory of a goldfish and completely forgot about all those games I was thinking about redownloading. I forgot, that is, until months later when I got a notification from my Switch saying I was out of storage while trying to install Pokémon Legends: Arceus. I thought, “That’s weird, I swear I have heaps of space since I got that microSD card?”, and then I realised my grave mistake.

I may be completely alone and just a simple Boo Boo The Fool here, but did anyone else not realise that you had to manually transfer your game data to the microSD card? I basically just assumed that once the microSD card was in the console, games would automatically be put onto it. I was wrong! Very wrong! Because I was very wrong and learned how to be right, I thought this might be a great opportunity to tell you, the person reading this right now, how to move stuff over to your microSDXC card from your system data, as well as some handy storage and transfer tips.

Games & Save Data

nintendo storage page
Screenshot: Nintendo / Kotaku Australia

Plain and simple, just head to Data Management in your console’s settings. From here, choose ‘Move Data Between Console/microSD Card’ and choose which games you’d like to move over to your microSD card. Considering games don’t automatically save to the microSD card, I decided to move everything I had at that current time on there. That was about 20GB worth of games, which makes sense considering the Nintendo Switch only has 32GB of internal storage. The ETA for the transfer originally said 30 minutes remaining, but after 5 minutes it went down to 12 minutes remaining. That being said, I also tested moving files off of the microSD card and onto the console, and it took about half the time. Pretty speedy!

Once you’ve got that game data moved over, you’ll have plenty of space on your console for future downloads. Unfortunately, there’s no way to have your downloads automatically go to your microSD card. On the bright side, if you’re somebody that wants all of your games to be readily available with the insertion of a microSD card, this manual movement means you’re able to be picky with what games go on what microSD cards. Y’know, if that’s what you’re into!

Screenshots & Videos

Nintendo screenshots and videos management
Screenshot: Nintendo / Kotaku Australia

You’ve actually got a little more freedom when it comes to using the microSD card for screenshots and videos from games. You get to this page from the page shown above, you just scroll down a little until you see ‘Manage Screenshots and Videos’. From here, you can choose where you’d like your screenshots and videos to automatically save to in the ‘Save Destination’. If you’re like me and didn’t do this from the very beginning, you can use the ‘Copy/Delete Screenshots and Videos’ section to move all of your screenshots and videos over to your microSD card, and delete them from your system memory to clear up some more space.

nintendo save destination
Screenshot: Nintendo / Kotaku Australia

What’s the benefit of having all your screenshots and videos on your microSD card? Well, if you’re anything like me and find it an absolute fucking drag to do the whole QR code photo transfer system (and you have no wishes to post said screenshots on Twitter, download them from there, and then quickly delete them), this way is the way to go. Having your screenshots and videos on the microSD card means you can easily transfer them to your computer if your computer has an SD card reader.

IMPORTANT NOTE: ONLY TAKE YOUR MICROSD CARD OUT WHEN THE CONSOLE IS COMPLETELY SWITCHED OFF.

But what if it doesn’t have a microSD card reader? That’s where the ‘Copy to PC via USB Connection’ comes in.

copy to pc via usb connection storage
Screenshot: Nintendo / Kotaku Australia

Using a USB to USB-C cable, you can easily transfer photos from your Nintendo Switch to your PC in this section. From the looks of it, it doesn’t seem like you can do this with any Apple computer, only Windows devices. So basically, Nintendo pointed at Apple in their face and said, “Fuck you, fuck off.” How sad!

My SanDisk microSDXC card has been great once I actually figured out how to use it, and is pretty speedy when it comes to transferring data on and off of it. I haven’t run into any problems either when it’s come to playing games directly from the microSD card either. If you’re anything like me and want the freedom to play any of your games whenever you want without having to worry about storage, I’d highly recommend grabbing a microSD card from the get-go.

The biggest pro tip of all here? Don’t be a dummy like me. Be prepared! And maybe take a multivitamin.

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