How to Share or Transfer Data Between Two Nintendo Switch Systems

If you're looking to share system data between your Switch and Switch Lite, you've come to the right place.

The Nintendo Switch Lite is officially out in the wild, and there are plenty of people picking one up alongside their current Switch system. Whether it's for portable only use while your main Switch is hooked to the TV or if you're sharing among family members, the most important thing you need to know right off the bat is how to share games and data between Switch systems.

If you don't need to share data and are transferring everything from one Switch to another, check out our Switch system transfer guide.

1: Have an Active Nintendo Switch Online Account

Sharing data and games requires an active Nintendo Switch Online account, because the non-primary system accesses data and games via an internet connection.

2: Link Your Nintendo Account

The next thing to do is link your Nintendo Account, which is where your user and cloud data get stored.

To do that, go under the Settings option on your new Switch. Under Users, pick the profile you want to use, then choose "Link Nintendo Account."

From there, you'll need to sign into your Nintendo Account using your email or Nintendo Network ID. Once you're signed in, choose "Link," and you'll be notified your User account on the new Switch is now tied to your Nintendo Account as well.

3: Designate the Primary Console

When you share your Nintendo Account across multiple systems, you need to choose which system the primary one will be. The primary system is the one where anyone can play games you've downloaded; the non-primary systems only allow access to games through your User account and an Internet connection.

Because of that, most people are recommending the Switch Lite be your primary system if you plan to take it out of the house, so you can access your games without hassle.

To designate the primary console:

  • Log into the eShop on your current primary console (the old Switch)
  • Select your User profile from the eShop home page
  • Choose the option to deregister that console as the primary console

After that:

  • Log into the eShop using your new Switch
  • It will automatically become the primary console

Note too that some games aren't going to be compatible, or at least, not easily playable, on the Nintendo Switch Lite.

4: Re-Download Digital Games and Save Data

Now that your User account is connected, and you've sorted out which system the primary one is, you'll need to go back into the eShop and choose to re-download each digital title you've purchased and want on the new Switch.

Naturally, you'll want to make sure you've got enough room on your new Switch or its SD card for your titles.

To get the save data for digital and physical titles, you'll take advantage of the cloud backup feature.

If you need to first back your save data up to the cloud, you'd just choose "Upload to cloud" on the system that has the save data. 

Once you're all backed up, do the following on the new system:

  • Highlight the game you want the data for, and press the Plus button (the + one)
  • Choose "Save Data Cloud"
  • Select your User account
  • Choose "Download Save Data"

Cloud saves can still be enabled on both Switch systems, not only the primary one. If you're sharing your system, make sure to take note of what and when others are uploading to your account's cloud.

Also, be aware that some games don't support cloud backups, meaning you can't transfer data from that game using the cloud.

Games Currently Without Cloud Save Support
  • 1-2-Switch
  • Bass Pro Shops: The Strike - Championship Edition
  • Blade II - The Return Of Evil
  • Cabela's: The Hunt - Championship Edition
  • Catan
  • Color Zen Kids
  • Daemon X Machina
  • Dark Souls Remastered
  • Dawn of the Breakers
  • Death Mark
  • Dungeon Stars
  • EA Sports FIFA 18
  • EA Sports FIFA 19
  • Exorder
  • Fortnite
  • Gems of War
  • Go Vacation
  • IN-VERT
  • Lightseekers
  • Minecraft
  • Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition
  • Modern Combat Blackout
  • NBA 2K Playgrounds 2
  • Nidhogg 2
  • Pixel Devil and the Broken Cartridge
  • Pokemon: Let's Go, Eevee!
  • Pokemon: Let's Go, Pikachu!
  • The Raven Remastered
  • Robbie Swifthand and the Orb of Mysteries
  • Sid Meier's Civilization VI
  • Splatoon 2
  • Super Dragon Ball Heroes World Mission - Launch Edition
  • Taimumari: Complete Edition
  • Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution

If a lot of your games don't support cloud saves, and you don't want to do a full system transfer, there is another option.

Go under the Settings menu, and choose Data Management. Select "Transfer Save Data," choose the appropriate User, and then pick the game you want to send data for. Do that for every game you want on the new system.

However, that data won't be usable on the source system unless you transfer it back.

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How are enjoying the Nintendo Switch Lite compared to the original model? Let us know in the comments below!

Contributor

Josh Broadwell's gaming career began early--1993, to be exact--when he was introduced to the Super Nintendo and Super Mario World. Despite all the magnificent games the SNES and, later, the original PlayStation had to offer, it wasn't until the GameBoy Advance era that he finally discovered RPGs, which quickly became a favorite genre. He holds a BA in history, an MA in history, and is currently pursuing an MA in strategic communication.

Platforms Nintendo Switch
Published Sep. 21st 2019

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