If you’ve been enjoying the Nintendo Switch’s incredible library of games since release, you’ve no doubt run into one of the console’s only problems by now: storage space. That 32GB internal storage they start you off with is fine when you’re just playing a couple of downloaded eShop titles and the games you got bundled with it on a cart, but now you’re 63 updates deep into Fortnite and there’s no room left for a screenshot. You need to free up some space. Well, fear not, for we’re at hand to talk you through the best ways to get space back on your Nintendo Switch so you can keep gaming on the go.
The main issue you’ll run up against is that the internal memory is quite restrictive. That 32GB sounds big when you first pick up a Switch but now things are starting to feel cramped and you’re having to make some tough calls about what stays and what goes. Fear not, for this is a situation that you can just throw money at! The easiest way to gain more storage space on your Nintendo Switch is to buy an external storage card. The Nintendo Switch uses microSD cards for supplemental external storage, so buying one and installing it in the slot just behind the screen’s built-in kickstand is your quickest solution.
You can find a range of HyperX microSD cards in varying sizes; 64GB, 128GB, all the way up to a whopping 256GB. At that size, you probably won’t need to worry about storage for another couple of years. (Maybe by then the Switch II will be out. The Switch?) Even if you don’t really need extra space, it’ll also help with tasks like bulk transferring screenshots to your computer quickly and easily simply by popping your new microSD card out and putting it into any USB card reader. You can also move all of your currently installed games from the internal memory over to the external microSD after inserting it.
To move your installed games onto the new external storage micoSD, go to System Settings and scroll to Data Management. Choose Manage Software and then select the game you want to move over. You’ll then need to archive the game (see below for more information). Once it is archived, select the game’s icon on the home screen and choose Download, and it will now install on the microSD card. However, any save data will still automatically be saved on the Switch internal storage.
If you can’t afford a new microSD card right now, you’re going to have to get a little space-saving savvy. Do you really need all those games installed, for instance? Are they all still bringing you joy? If there are digital-only games (games you downloaded from the eShop rather than on physical carts) that you haven’t played for a long time, you can free some space up by deleting or archiving them.
The difference between deleting a game and archiving it is that deleting the game completely removes it from storage, including its home screen icon, while archiving it leaves the icon as a shortcut to re-download the game if you want. Whichever you choose is up to you, but both will free up roughly the same amount of space (the game’s install size). If you choose to delete, you can redownload deleted games by going to your Profile page in the eShop and choosing Redownload on the left menu.
To delete or archive a game on the Nintendo Switch, navigate to the game on the home screen. Press the + button (right Joy-Con) or the - button (left Joy-Con) to bring up the options. Scroll to Manage Software, and then choose whether you want to completely delete the software (icon and all) or just archive it. When you choose to delete, you can opt to keep your save data too, or get rid of that as well. Save data doesn’t take up that much room, so if you think you want to play the game again, don’t feel like you need to get rid of it.
If you’ve freed up all the space in your game library that you can and still don’t have enough memory for your next install, then it might be time to clean up your photo album. We know those photos and captures are precious memories of epic plays and hype moments, but sometimes in life you need to let go of the past to embrace the future.
To free up more storage space on your Switch, you can delete screenshots and video captures in the Album. Scroll to the picture or video you want to delete and hit options, then choose delete. However, if you have hundreds and hundreds and don’t particularly care about any of them anymore, you can delete all screenshots and videos at once. Head to the System Settings, go to Data Management, select Manage Save Data/Screenshots and Videos, then Manage Screenshots and Videos. From there, choose either the internal System Memory or microSD Card, and then you’ll be able to choose Delete All Screenshots and Videos. This should save you a bit of time scrolling through and choosing what to keep!
Once you’ve finished, you should have added enough storage, or freed up enough space on your Nintendo Switch to install that new game you wanted! Enjoy it! And use the screenshot button responsibly!