The most common Nintendo Switch issues & how to fix them

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The Nintendo Switch has eclipsed the Xbox One for unit sales despite being released much later. Its success has mostly been down to its unique ability to be both a portable and stationary console, along with fun and simple games.

There have been some issues with the hardware since it was launched. The battery times on the original edition weren't great and there have been reports of serious issues, but not widespread.

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If you find yourself with issues, the Stealth guide covers the most common problems with the Nintendo Switch and possible solutions to get you back playing.

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We have to stress that anything involving taking the console apart could potentially make things worse or void your warranty, so proceed at your own risk with those solutions.

Nintendo actually has some really good online resources to support troubleshooting. Go to the forum to speak to other users and some experts. There is also an Online Repair Tool that can help diagnose problems.

Issue: The dock scratches the screen

One of the best aspects of the Nintendo Switch can quickly become one of its worst if you don't dock it correctly. If the device isn't perfectly straight when placed in the dock, there are plastic parts that can scratch the screen of the Switch.

Potential solutions:

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Screen Protector — This should be a must-buy regardless of the issue, but with a screen protector in place, it should minimise any damage to the console itself. Make sure you don't dock the device after fitting a screen protector for at least 24 hours to let the adhesive set.

Use an Additional USB-C Cable— If you add an extra USB-C cable, you can connect your Switch to the dock whilst standing it separately. This is a workaround for what should be a core usage of the console, but it will protect the Switch screen.

Read more: Is Nintendo Switch Pro called the 'Super Switch'?

Issue: Joy-Cons disconnect without reason

The most well-known issue of the Nintendo Switch's life so far. Without warning, Joy-Con controllers can disconnect causing an interruption to the play experience.

Due to the profile of this issue, the recommendation is to send it to Nintendo to fix but there are reports of a self fix working.

Potential solutions:

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Conductive Foam — This is a small hack found by CNET's Sean Hollister who discovered when checking the fix that Nintendo applied to his faulty controller. The foam helps to prevent interference which is thought to be the main issue stemming from the left controllers Bluetooth antenna. You only need a tiny amount of foam and it needs to be placed over this antenna.

Again, we recommend sending it to Nintendo to fix if in warranty. Newer Switch's have had the problem fixed in production.

Issue: The console bends over time in the dock

There are some reports that suggest leaving the system in the dock for long periods of time causes the Switch to warp slightly, sometimes to the point of not being able to slide it out.

To see if this has happened to your system, take off the Joy-Con controllers and place on a flat surface and if it rocks it has warped.

This shouldn't massively affect your experience unless it is trapped in the dock. However, Nintendo is accepting returns on this issue to fix it.

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Issue: Screen randomly flashes or freezes

Whilst most of the previous issues have been physical, this issue is more about the software where users have reported freezing, flashing and sometimes a screeching noise. This can also mean you lose your game progress, which can be pretty painful and infuriating.

Potential solution:

Hard Reset — Follow our guide to a hard reset and this should hopefully reduce the number of issues or get rid completely.

If you are still having issues with this then this is absolutely what the warranty should cover. Take it up with Nintendo and request a replacement unit.

Issue: Screen has dead pixels

The most annoying of modern tech issues, the dead pixel is something that affects anything with a screen. It's particularly annoying for portable devices as the screen is often a lot smaller and therefore it's more noticeable that the screen has black dots.

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Nintendo actually states in their warranty that this is common amongst LCD Screens and therefore would “not be considered a defect.” This means that they wouldn't fix it, and the issue if present is always going to be there unless you investigate someone doing a screen replacement - but this will void your warranty if it's active.

Read more: Why you should buy a PS Vita

Issue: Short Battery Life

This is a bigger issue with early versions of the Switch. There have been software updates, as well as a hardware update, since to try and extend it as much as possible.

This is always going to be a tricky thing to manage with portable gaming devices trying to run powerful games. The options here aren't tricks, but there are some things you can do to manage the situation.

Potential solutions

Buy a 2nd AC Charger — If you are travelling and playing, take the 2nd charger (official one is £24.99 on Amazon) with you so you can charge for a return journey. It seems obvious, as well as slightly annoying, but it will help.

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Buy a portable Battery Pack — Some battery packs are designed to fit with the Switch specifically with minimal impact on playing (£29.99 from Amazon for this GULIkit one) Remember the Switch needs more power than a phone to actually charge.

Issue: Joy-Con controllers register movement when untouched (drift)

This is where the console will be on and screen will show movement on cursors despite nothing being touched. This is an issue that is common in all controllers on all consoles, but the reports for the Nintendo Switch have been higher than expected.

Previously, this was considered a user breakage and therefore it was a case of trying to open the controller yourself or paying for a repair. Due to the level of feedback, Nintendo will now fix the issue which seems to be their acceptance that this was a design fault.

Read more: How to work around Joy-Con drift with an app

A hard reset your Nintendo Switch is always a healthy first step, but be patient having to redownload things. Nintendo is fairly helpful for the things listed out in this article so give them a go and see what they are willing to help with.