Nintendo Switch Online, the new companion app for the Nintendo Switch has arrived, and there is plenty to parse out. Unlike the apps for PlayStation or Xbox, Nintendo has gone the game-specific route. You’ll now be able to enjoy more features, including inviting friends to play with you, provided you have the app open when you’re playing a compatible game.
There’s plenty to go over, and we have the details for you here!
September 13, 2017 — The Nintendo Switch Online app has been updated for iOS and Android with better voice options.
With this update, Voice Chat will continue to function when you leave the Nintendo Switch Online app and will even continue if the phone is in sleep mode. Nintendo has also addressed some small bugs in the interface, and added support for a wider array of Bluetooth accessories for chatting while splatting.
- What does the Nintendo Switch Online app do?
- What games does it work with?
- How does the voice chat function work?
- How to invite friends to matches
- What else can I use the Nintendo Switch app for?
What does the Nintendo Switch Online app do?
The Nintendo Switch app works as an extra hub for content, at least for games that work with it anyway. Each game will offer different content through the app, in an attempt to give you access to everything you could want for gameplay. To access everything, though, you’ll need a few things.
Namely, a Nintendo Switch console, a compatible game, a Nintendo account, and a phone with the Nintendo Switch app loaded on it. For now all of that online content is entirely free, but come 2018, you’ll have to pay in order to access it. After 2018 gets here, you’ll be looking at a subscription fee similar to Xbox Gold or PlayStation Plus.
Which games does it work with?
At the moment, the Nintendo Switch Online app has functionality with one game, Splatoon 2, and you’ll need to use the app to reach Splatnet. Splatnet is where you can invite friends to online lobbies, use voice chat features, and reach leaderboards, amongst other things.
For now, it’s just Splatoon 2, but you can be sure that down the line plenty more games will include functionality with the Nintendo Switch app.
How does the voice chat function work?
Different games will implement this feature differently, but generally, you’ll need to be friends with the people you want to chat with. Thanks to an update to Nintendo Online, Voice Chat will continue to function when you leave the Nintendo Switch Online app and will even continue if the phone is in sleep mode.
How to invite friends to matches
Inviting friends to a match is slightly more complicated than I would have preferred, but there aren’t too many hoops to jump through. You’ll need to first create a match in the online lobby, and then send a notification to your phone. From there, you’ll need to switch to the app, where you can open the room you just created. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to invite friends to come and play with you, so long as you are connected to them through Social Media or have played with them recently.
If a friend is inviting you to a match, it’s slightly easier. You just need to accept the invitation through the app, and you’ll be able to join them for as many matches as you want to play.
What else can I use the Nintendo Switch app for?
As we mentioned earlier, each game will decide on what content becomes available through the Nintendo Switch app. Some features you can expect from different games, like voice chatting and inviting friends to multiplayer matches. Others will be game-specific, though, like Splatoon 2’s ability to purchase items at a special gear shop, leaderboards, and schedules of which stages will be available at which time.
Applies to: Nintendo Switch Family, Nintendo Switch
In this article, you’ll learn how to download or update the Nintendo Switch Online app.
Important: In order to provide a better experience, improvements were implemented with an app update on August 2, 2021 which increased the required iOS version (12.0 or later) and Android OS version (6.0 or later). If you are using a lower OS version, please consider updating to a newer OS or use the app on a compatible device.
- An active Nintendo Switch Online membership is required to use the Nintendo Switch Online app features.
- The Nintendo Switch Online app service can be used by Nintendo Account holders who are age 13 and older.
- The Nintendo Switch Online app is compatible with smart devices which use the iOS and Android operating systems.
Complete these steps
- From your smart device, visit either the App Store (iOS) or the Google Play Store (Android) and search for “Nintendo Switch Online.”
- You can also find a link to the application at lounge.nintendo.com.
- Select the Nintendo Switch Online app, and then select the appropriate option to download/install/update the application.
- Once downloaded, select the Nintendo Switch Online app to open it, and then sign in with your Nintendo Account.
- Ver. 1.12.0 (Released August 2, 2021)
- Ver. 1.11.0 (Released May 18, 2021)
- Ver. 1.9.0 (Released September 7, 2020)
- Ver. 1.5.0 (Released April 7, 2019)
- Ver. 1.4.0 (Released September 9, 2018)
- Ver. 1.1.0 (Released September 12, 2017)
Ver. 1.12.0 (Released August 2, 2021)
- Changed the screen in voice chat.
- Other enhancements have been made to improve performance and usability.
- Changed minimum OS version.
- iOS version 12.0 or later is required to use this application.
- Android OS version 6.0 or later is required to use this application.
Ver. 1.11.0 (Released May 18, 2021)
- Game-specific services now available to all Nintendo Accounts with an active Nintendo Switch Online membership (some restrictions for features like voice chat still apply).
- Option for voice-chat alerts added under Voice-Chat Settings in the in-app settings.
- Bug fixes implemented.
Ver. 1.9.0 (Released September 7, 2020)
- Supported OS versions changed. Android 11 and iOS 14 are now supported.
Ver. 1.5.0 (Released April 7, 2019)
- Various performance and usability improvements implemented, including changing the button display position.
- Bug fixes implemented.
- Supported OS versions changed. To use this app, iOS ver 10.0 (or later) or Android ver 5.5 (or later) is now required.
Ver. 1.4.0 (Released September 9, 2018)
- Added voice chat support for additional software.
- A list of software that supports voice chat can be found within the app by selecting Voice Chat from the Main Menu, and then selecting Supported Software.
- Other enhancements have been made to improve performance and usability.
Ver. 1.1.0 (Released September 12, 2017)
- Voice chat will now continue when other apps are opened.*
- Voice chat will now continue during sleep mode.**
- Improved support for Bluetooth devices. (For Android devices only.)
* This excludes apps with audio output or apps that use the microphone.
** If the power-saving feature is activated on devices using Android 6.0 or later, voice chat may be interrupted after the device has entered sleep mode. To use voice chat during sleep mode, go to Other Settings then Power Saving Settings in the app and deactivate battery optimization on the Android device. For more details, please refer to the official website for your smart device.
Make your games even better
Enhance your games with features like online play, cloud saves, and more. Individual and Family Memberships are available.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Invite friends to your island paradise for a virtual get-together via online play.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Play the Grand Prix, VS Race, and Battle modes online with up to 12 players.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Go 1-on-1 with a friend or hold a 4-player free-for-all when you brawl online.
Nintendo Entertainment System
Play—or replay—classic games like Super Mario Bros.™, Metroid™, Kirby’s Adventure™, and Yoshi™.
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Jump into favorites like Super Mario Kart™, Super Metroid™, The Legend of Zelda™: A Link to the Past™, Donkey Kong™ Country™, and more.
Featured offer: PAC-MAN™ 99
Test your chomping chops in this 99-player PAC-Royale where you compete to be the last PAC-MAN™ standing. Nintendo Switch Online members can download and play the online mode of the game at no extra cost.
Save Data Cloud
Your save data will be automatically connected to your Nintendo account and stored online for compatible games. This makes it easy to retrieve your game data if you lose your system or start using a new one.
Nintendo Switch Online App
Open the app on your smartphone or tablet to voice chat in compatible games. Plus, enjoy special features for games including Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Splatoon 2.
Make the most of your Nintendo Switch™ system with Nintendo Switch Online
Try it for 7 days free. 1 Sign up on your system today!
Designed for one Nintendo Account holder. Affordable and convenient, in your choice of 1-, 3-, and 12-month options.
|1 Month||3 Months||12 Months|
|$3.99 USD||$7.99 USD||$19.99 USD|
|Save $3.98 2||Save $27.89|
Access Nintendo Switch Online right from your system and sign up for your free 7-day trial
You can get the latest info on Nintendo Switch Online from the Nintendo Switch HOME Menu.
And if you’re not yet a member, you can sign up for a free trial and enjoy the service for a full week!
1. Free trial automatically converts to 1-month auto-renewing membership unless automatic renewal is turned off by the end of the free trial. Credit card/PayPal account required for 18+. Free trial cannot be redeemed by a Nintendo Account with an active Individual Membership or Family Membership.
2. Savings compared to an automatically-renewing 1-month membership for the same duration.
3. As the purchaser of a Family Membership, you will need to be at least 18 years old and save your credit card or link your PayPal account to your Nintendo Account via Nintendo eShop.
While Nintendo hasn’t really said much about the hardware that powers its Switch console, teardowns have revealed that it is powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra chipset. The Tegra chipset, for those unfamiliar, is an ARM-based chipset that NVIDIA had tried to market to smartphone makers back in the day somewhat unsuccessfully.
This doesn’t mean that the Tegra is dead, but as we can see in the Switch, it is clearly alive and well and has found a new home. The good news is that since it is an ARM-based chipset, it means that in theory, it should be capable of supporting platforms like Google’s Android mobile operating system.
Thanks to the work of developer bylaws, they have figured out a way to install Android 10 on the Switch. If you’re keen on maybe trying to bring Android onto your Nintendo Switch, then read on to find out how to do that.
Check your Nintendo Switch version
Before we get started, you’ll need to check the version of the Switch you’re running to see whether or not it is hackable. This is because Nintendo has patched some versions of the Switch to make it unhackable, so if you just bought a Switch you could be out of luck, but if you have an older model it could still work.
Head to this website and enter your Switch’s serial number and it should tell you if it can be hacked. Assuming that it can, you can proceed to the guide below.
Installing Android 10 on the Nintendo Switch
- Boot up your Nintendo Switch and ensure the Joy-Coys are connected and synced with your console
- Turn the Switch off and take out the microSD card and make sure that the card has been formatted in FAT32
- Download Lineage OS 17.1 (which is based on Android 10) from here onto a computer
- Download the Hekate bootloader from here onto a computer
- Connect the microSD to your computer and make sure that you’ve backed up its contents in the event that something goes wrong and your files get deleted
- Open the Lineage 17.1 ZIP file you downloaded using 7-zip (download here if you don’t already have it). Do not use the built-in Windows extractor tool.
- Drag and drop the files in the ZIP to your microSD card’s root directory
- Open the Hekate ZIP and drag the bootloader file onto your microSD card
- Disconnect the microSD card from your computer and put it back into the Nintendo Switch
- Connect your RCM loader to your Switch (you can buy one here if you don’t have one)
- Press the power button to initialize boot, then press and hold volume down
- You should now find yourself booted into Hekate. You can skip the setup of the date and time
- Tap Nyx Options and then tap “Dump Joy-Con BT” and tap OK when it’s done. Make sure it says “Found 2 out of 2 Joy-Cons”.
- Tap Close
- Tap on Tools and select “Arch bit . RCM . Touch . Partitions”
- Tap “Partition SD Card”
- Drag the Android slider to choose how much space you want the SD card to reserve for Android, and the HOS slider to choose how much space the Switch OS can use
- Tap “Next Step” and then tap “Start” and wait for the microSD card to partition
- Tap “Flash Android” and click “Continue” and wait
- When prompted if you want to reboot into TWRP tap “Continue”
- Once you’re in TWRP, swipe the bar at the bottom right to allow modifications and press “Install”
- Tap on “Select Storage” and choose the microSD card
- Tap on the Lineage 17.1 ZIP and swipe to confirm
- During the Lineage install process, you might see some errors pop up, but you can ignore those.
- Once you’re done installing the ZIP files, press “Reboot system”
- When it is rebooting, press the volume down to allow it to boot into Hekate
- Once you’re back at the menu, tap “More configs” and then select “switchroot Android 10”
- It will take a while for it to boot into Android 10
- Once it’s booted, you’ll be greeted with a setup wizard, just follow the instructions on the screen and you’re good to go
Now some of you might be wary about modding your Nintendo Switch, but the good news is that because this method involves using your SD card, it shouldn’t override your Switch’s main operating system. It also means that you shouldn’t get in trouble with Nintendo over this mod, but do proceed at your own risk.
With just a little elbow grease, youвЂ™ll have access to all of AndroidвЂ™s apps, games, and emulators.
Have an original Switch but want it to do more with it?
This unlocks tons of games, emulators, and other interesting use cases that Nintendo would never allow.
In 2019 a team called Switchroot and some folks at XDA Developers ported a version of Android to the Nintendo Switch, allowing apps like YouTube, Spotify, the Google Play store, and even game emulators.
Since then, the same team has upgraded its original mod to Android 10, greatly expanding the portвЂ™s capabilities.
You should know.
Given the unofficial nature of the mod, getting your Switch to run Android isnвЂ™t exactly straightforward or 100 percent safe.
Nintendo has been known to ban consoles for playing pirated Switch games, but thus far nobody has been banned for this mod. That said, you should assume that changing your SwitchвЂ™s software could draw NintendoвЂ™s ire.
But, if youвЂ™re willing to take the risk, weвЂ™ve highlighted a relatively straightforward method with some pretty nifty upsides. This guide will focus on the newest Switchroot mod which uses a Lineage version of Android 10. The updated method offers major advantages over the initial Android mod, including full Joy-Con support and an easier install process.
Some newer Switch models with an updated chipset and battery improvements have been patched, so not every console is actually hackable. To see if yours is among the Android-ready consoles, you can check here. Switch Lite users can stop reading now вЂ” the handheld is entirely incompatible.
You should make sure you have a few things, including:
– A computer
– Joy-Cons that are synced to your Switch
– An RCM loader like this one
– A microSD card formatted to FAT32 (this will be partitioned to fit Android later)
– 7zip extractor (Windows extractor wonвЂ™t do)
– Lineage OS 17.1 (Android 10) downloaded from here onto your computer
– Hekate, a Switch bootloader, downloaded onto your computer
– Download and flash gApps if you want the Play Store
Connect your Joy-Cons to the Switch, and your SwitchвЂ™s microSD into your computer (you may also want to backup whatever you have on the card just in case). Unzip the Lineage OS file you downloaded previously using 7zip (not Windows extractor) and drop the files from the folder into the cardвЂ™s root directory. Unzip your Hekate download and do the same.
From there you can remove the microSD from your computer and slot it into your Nintendo Switch. HereвЂ™s where your RCM loader is going to come into play. Plug your RCM loader into the Switch and then press the SwitchвЂ™s power button to boot it up and then hold the volume down button.
Thanks to your RCM, you should be booted into Hekate where youвЂ™ll be able to carry out several important installation steps. You can skip date and time setup and navigate to the main menu screen where youвЂ™ll tap вЂњNyx OptionsвЂќ at the bottom left and then вЂњDump Joy-Con BTвЂќ at the top right. This will sync up your attached Joy-Cons so they can be used in Android once youвЂ™ve downloaded it.
Time to partition
Once your Joy-Cons are synced, close the menu and tap on tools at the top of the Hekate interface and choose, вЂњArch bit, RCM, Touch, PartitionsвЂќ at the bottom right. Select вЂњPartition Card.вЂќ
From here youвЂ™ll choose with the slider how much space you want to reserve on the SD card for Android and how much youвЂ™ll want to reserve for the Switch (which is the HOS slider).
By Michael Andronico 28 December 2018
From YouTube and Hulu to digital comics readers, here’s every app you can get on Nintendo Switch.
It might not seem obvious at first, but your Nintendo Switch can do more than play games.
While the Switch’s selection of non-gaming apps is still paltry, there’s enough software out there for you to watch your favorite streaming content, read digital comics and even make some music on Nintendo’s hybrid system. Here’s every app currently available on the Nintendo Switch.
The Hulu app allows you to watch the streaming service’s thousands of TV shows and movies either at home or on the go on your Switch. You’ll need a paid membership to use the app, with subscriptions starting at $7.99 per month for unlimited access to exclusive shows such as Marvel’s Runaways and A Handmaid’s Tale as well as network favorites like Atlanta and The Good Wife. The Switch version of the Hulu app even supports Hulu with Live TV (starting at $39.99 per month), making it the only current option for watching live television on Nintendo’s console.
YouTube’s Switch app is as fully featured as its PS4, Xbox One and smart TV counterparts, allowing you to log-in to your YouTube account and view the latest videos from your subscribed channels, receive personalized recommendations, and watch livestreams. You’ll even enjoy ad-free video if you’re a YouTube Premium subscriber. There are just a few small caveats — Premium members can’t download videos for offline viewing like they can on mobile, and there’s currently no support for YouTube TV for live TV viewing.
With the InkyPen app, you can turn your Nintendo Switch into a digital comic book reader. This free-to-download app provides unlimited access to a wealth of comics for $7.99 per month, which grants you access to top titles such as Hellboy, Transformers, Star Trek and Assassin’s Creed from such publishers as IDW, Dark Horse and Titan. InkyPen supports common digital comic reader features such as panel-by-panel viewing, and even lets you blow up your comics on your big-screen TV when your Switch is docked.
KORG Gadget is a music production app that also doubles as a musical party game. This robust digital studio lets you create the electronic music of your dreams with tons of digital instruments that you can jam out with on the app’s intuitive, touch-friendly interface. The KORG Gadget lets you perform and modify songs by moving your Joy-Con around, and you can even enjoy the app with friends via a variety of collaborative and competitive multiplayer modes that have you and your friends race to make the perfect track. The KORG Gadget is a steep investment at $48, but a worthwhile one for aspiring music producers who also want to have some fun with friends.
Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored and was formerly Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.
Unofficially, of course
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Photo by James Bareham / The Verge
The Nintendo Switch can now run Android, giving the hybrid game console access to Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, Twitch, a wide array of Android apps, and loads of classic game emulators, of course. Specifically, it’s an unofficial port of LineageOS 15.1 based on Nvidia’s own builds for the Nvidia Shield TV set-top-box, meaning you can play Nvidia exclusives like Portal, Half-Life 2, and try Nvidia’s own GeForce Now cloud gaming service.
That’s right: six years after Nvidia tried to ape Nintendo by releasing a handheld Android game console, you can now load Android onto Nintendo’s own Nvidia-based portable. We’re coming full circle.
Not everything works flawlessly, according to XDA-developers, whose members contributed to the port and whose writers have been documenting it over the past month. While the Joy-Con controllers work natively, you can dock the Switch, and even connect a Bluetooth headset — something Nintendo still doesn’t support! — XDA reports that joysticks aren’t being detected correctly in apps like Dolphin Emulator or the Steam Link game streaming app, the two biggest reasons I’d want Android on this platform.
Here’s a shortlist of other notable limitations:
- The Joy-Cons only connect via Bluetooth, so they’ll always in wireless mode even if they’re physically connected
- Bluetooth headsets are limited to older, less power-efficient and lower-quality profiles
- There’s no video DRM, so Netflix won’t let you stream at HD resolutions
- The Switch doesn’t have a camera, mic, or GPS, so lots of Android apps are off-limits
- While the USB ports let you plug in mice, keyboards and controllers, there’s no USB external storage support
- No deep sleep mode, “so battery life is not great.”
- “WiFi may randomly stop working. If this happens just reboot.”
Like most such hacks, this isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s often possible to brick a device if you don’t know what you’re doing, and there’s a valid fear that Nintendo might somehow discover your tampering and ban you from online services or worse. Plus, not every Nintendo Switch can necessarily run a custom ROM anyhow — this one requires the Hekate bootloader, and depending on your Switch and its software version, the tricks you’d normally use to install that might not work.
The Nintendo Switch hacking scene is chaos right now
Nintendo announces updated Switch with better battery life
Nintendo Switch Lite is a smaller, cheaper Switch built exclusively for handheld play
On the plus side, if you can get it working, XDA reports that it won’t replace your Nintendo software and games — as long as you’ve got a spare SD card that’s big enough, you could theoretically swap between Android and the stock Nintendo OS whenever you like.
It makes me wonder whether Nvidia might build such a device again, years after the Switch likely spurred it to cancel its own second-gen portable.
Digitally downloading Nintendo Switch games is an easy and efficient way to get all the games you want to play, without having to keep a collection of physical games.
Most Switch games can be downloaded within a few minutes, provided you have a fast internet connection, though large titles like “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” may take several hours.
Downloading Switch games is easy — just make sure you have stable internet access, and can keep the console connected to its charger while you’re downloading. You’ll also need to have enough space to store the games you download, which might mean adding extra storage space with an SD card or external hard drive.
How to download Nintendo Switch games from the Nintendo eShop
1. From the Switch homescreen, navigate down to the eShop icon on the bottom task bar — it looks like an orange shopping bag — and press A to open it. Enter your account password if prompted.
2. In the eShop, you can choose to search for games by name, browse among recent releases, or look at the best sellers. There’s also a “Great Deals” option that will show you all the games currently on sale. Once you choose a game to download, click on it with A.
3. Scroll over to the box labeled “Proceed to Purchase” (or “Free Download” if the game is free) and press A.
4. There are several ways to pay for a game. You can use Nintendo Points, which you earn from buying other games (each point is worth one cent), use a debit or credit card, an eShop gift card, or a PayPal account. Clicking on any option will give you instructions for how to link that payment type to your account.
5. Once you’ve linked your payment method and added funds to your account, confirm that you want to make the purchase.
6. The eShop will take a moment to process your purchase. Once it does, just sit back and wait while your new game downloads onto the system.
How to download Nintendo Switch games with a code
If you’ve received a download code for a Nintendo Switch game — for example, if you bought a digital game code from Amazon — then you can load the game onto your console without any need for extra payment.
1. Again, open the eShop by selecting its icon from the Switch homescreen.
2. In the menu on the left side of the screen, scroll to the bottom and select “Enter Code.”
3. Press A or tap the empty text box to bring up a keyboard.
4. Enter in your code and press “OK” or the plus button.
5. If your code is valid, you’ll be shown what game the code is tied to.
6. The game will begin to download.