How to back up your Nintendo Switch game saves before selling it on Swappa (2023)

October 5, 2021 • By Robert Nelsonin Gaming
Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Lite

Selling your Nintendo Switch on Swappa is a great way to make money without the hassle or risk found with other online marketplaces. Not only does Swappa help get the most cash for your Nintendo Switch, but our strict “no jerks” policy and helpful support team also help keep it safer. In fact, Swappa is the safest marketplace to buy and sell gently used tech.

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Whether you’re trying to get a head start on the Nintendo Switch (OLED Model), or you have an extra Switch gathering dust, or you’re looking to upgrade to that slightly newer Switch with longer battery life, you’ll probably want to take all those hours of playtime with you. Keep reading to learn what to do before selling Nintendo Switch.

Table of Contents

How to back up your Nintendo Switch game saves

Regardless of whether you already have a new Switch, or you are still in the purchase planning stage, you are probably focusing on three words — sell Nintendo Switch (so you can get money to put towards your new Switch) — but make sure you take a few minutes to prep so you don’t have to start at the beginning for each game you’ve been playing.

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Currently, there are only two ways to move your game saves: either by using Nintendo’s Online service or by wirelessly transferring your game saves to the new Switch. The first option, using Nintendo’s online services is the most convenient, but it’ll cost you a few bucks. The second option, moving your current game progress wirelessly is free, but you’ll obviously need to already have your newer Nintendo Switch.

How to back up Nintendo Switch game saves using Nintendo Switch Online

Since Nintendo’s Save Data Cloud is available only to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers, you will need to pay for it. Nintendo currently charges $3.99 per month (30-days), $7.00 for 3 months (90-days), or $19.99 for 12 months (365-days). Nintendo’s online service also has other perks, such as online play, and 100+ classic NES and Super NES games. But for today, we’ll be focusing on the Save Data Cloud functionality.

Once you’ve signed up for Nintendo Switch Online, all (compatible) game saves will automatically be backed up to the cloud, but it can take some time. You can also manually back up games by doing the following:

  1. Go to the Home menu
  2. Select the game icon
  3. Press the + button on your controller
  4. Select Save Data Cloud
  5. Select your user
  6. Select Back Up Save Data

You can also manage your saves from inside the System Settings, where you’ll find an entire list of your games to backup. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Home menu
  2. Select System Settings
  3. Data Management
  4. Save Data Cloud Backup
  5. Select the user
  6. Tap the game or app you want to back up
  7. Select Back Up Save Data

It’s also worth mentioning that Save Data Cloud backup support varies per game, and isn’t supported on every game, such as Splatoon 2 and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

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How to download Nintendo Switch game saves from Save Data Cloud

With all your game saves tucked safely away in Nintendo’s cloud, you can easily retrieve your game saves onto a new device by signing in to your Nintendo Online account. Your saved game data will download automatically whenever the Switch is in sleep mode, but this can be a slow process.

If you don’t feel like waiting for your entire games library and saved data to download to your new device, you can also pick individual titles too. To download individual game saves, simply follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Home menu
  2. Select the game you’re looking for
  3. Open the game’s software menu and select Save Data Cloud.
  4. Select the desired user, then select Download Save Data.

There’s also a place in the System Settings where you’ll find an entire list of your game saves backed up to the cloud. From there, you can manage cloud saves for every game in your library. Here’s where you’ll find it:

  1. Open System Settings
  2. Data Management
  3. Save Data Cloud
  4. Select the specific user
  5. Choose the backup you want to download from the list of titles
  6. The select Download Save Data

Should your Nintendo Switch Online membership ever expire, Nintendo gives you 180 days to sign up again and regain access to your cloud backups.

How to directly transfer your game saves to another Nintendo Switch

Although many would like to know how to move game save data from the Switch to an SD card, that’s not currently possible. Instead, you can transfer save data directly from one Switch to another by direct transfer (between your old Switch and your new Switch). Obviously, you’ll need to have the new system in your possession already, so you won’t be able to sell your old Switch until after you receive the new model.

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Keep in mind that once transferred, the user data/game saves will no longer be accessible on the original console. Also, screenshots and videos can’t be transferred, and game data saves can’t be transferred to a different user.

Since you’ll need two Nintendo Switch consoles to make this happen, we’ll refer to the original console as the “source console,” while the new one will be referred to as the “target console.” But first, before we begin, here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • Both Nintendo Switch consoles need to be running software version 8.0.0 or higher, be connected to the internet, and be close to one another.
  • You cannot transfer your data to a Nintendo Switch that already has more than 7 user accounts.
  • Save Cloud Data can only be transferred between users with the same Nintendo Account.
  • There needs to be enough storage space on the target console’s internal memory for the new data.

On thesource console Nintendo Switch

  1. Navigate to theHomemenu
  2. From there, tap on theSystem Settings(gear) icon.
  3. Select theUserstab on the left.
  4. From here, tap on the following:Transfer Your User and Save Data>Next>Next(again) >Source Console(This means all the data will be transferred from this console).
  5. TapContinuethen finish the transfer process on the new, target console.

On thetarget console Nintendo Switch

  1. Navigate to theHomemenu
  2. From there, tap on theSystem Settings(gear) icon.
  3. Select theUserstab on the left.
  4. From here, tap on the following:Transfer Your User and Save Data>Next>Next(again) >Target Console(This means all the data will be transferred to this console).
  5. SelectSign inusing either your sign-in ID or the email address associated with your Nintendo Account.
  6. After entering your password, tapSign in>Next

Back on thesource console Nintendo Switch

  1. Wait for the new target console to be found.
  2. Once it’s been found, selectTransferto begin moving your data over to the new (target) console.
  3. Wait for the entire transfer process to complete (this may take a few minutes).
  4. Once finished, tapEndto complete the transfer process.

Sell your Nintendo Switch on Swappa 💰

Now that you’ve figured out how to back up or wirelessly transfer your Nintendo Switch game saves, it’s time to sell that old Switch on Swappa and make some money. As you know, Swappa is the best place to sell your used video games for the most money. Right now, the average price for Nintendo Switch models sold on Swappa is around $275.

The sooner you sell, the more money you can pocket, so don’t waste any more time and sell your Nintendo Switch on Swappa today. Oh, and should you need it, we have a full walkthrough showing you how to factory reset your Nintendo Switch. Once you’re finished, your Nintendo Switch will officially be ready for sale.

SELL NINTENDO SWITCH ON SWAPPA

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FAQs

How do I backup my Nintendo Switch saves? ›

From the HOME Menu, select System Settings, then Data Management, and finally Save Data Cloud Backup. Select the desired user. Tap the software to back up, then select Back Up Save Data.

Can you get back save data on Switch? ›

Previously backed up save data is automatically restored when re-downloading software from the Nintendo eShop. You can also restore save data using the Save-Data Backup option within Data Management.

How do I backup all my Switch data before switching switches? ›

Go to Settings > Data Management > Save Data Cloud

Make sure both Automatic Save-Data Backup and Automatic Save-Data Download are on. Go to the Nintendo eShop and tap on your icon in the upper-right corner. On the subsequent account page, tap Redownload to see a list of games you can download to the new Switch.

Do I need to wipe Switch games before selling? ›

Whether you're getting rid of your Nintendo Switch or upgrading to a Switch V2 or the new Switch OLED model, ensuring that all your data is wiped from the system is imperative. You want to make sure that your Switch is as fresh as the day it was unboxed and all your personal data is removed, so others can't access it.

Can you backup switch saves to SD card? ›

*Game save data is only stored in the system memory, so it can't be moved to the microSD card.

Where are switch game saves stored? ›

On Nintendo Switch, game save data is stored in the console's system memory. This will not change whether downloadable software or software from a game card is being played. Game save data cannot be saved or copied to a microSD card.

Is all save data stored on Switch? ›

On Nintendo Switch, game save data is stored on the console's System Memory. This will not change whether downloadable software or software from a game card is being played. Game save data cannot be saved or copied to a microSD card.

Is Switch save data stored on cloud? ›

The vast majority of Nintendo Switch titles support Save Data Cloud backup for players with a Nintendo Switch Online membership. Online features (such as Nintendo Switch Online app and Save Data Cloud compatibility) are always identified in the Nintendo eShop and in the game's product information on www.nintendo.com.

Does your Nintendo Account save game data? ›

Save data is linked to your Nintendo Account, so you can access it by signing in. If you move to a new system, you can pick up right where you left off in your game by downloading your data. Automatic backup is enabled by default. You can change this in the Nintendo Switch system settings.

Does Smart Switch backup game data? ›

Does Smart Switch backup /restore data from an application like game data or chatting log? Smart Switch mobile does not support application data backup or restore. Smart Switch only backs up the application on its list.

What to delete if you're selling your Switch? ›

Complete These Steps:
  1. Select “System Settings” from the HOME Menu.
  2. Scroll down to “System” and select it.
  3. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the menu and select “Formatting Options”. ...
  4. Select “Restore Factory Settings” to delete all data in the system memory.

How do I delete data on Switch before selling? ›

Complete These Steps:
  1. Select System Settings on the HOME Menu.
  2. Scroll down to System, and select it.
  3. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the menu, and select Formatting Options. ...
  4. Select Initialize Console to delete all data in the system memory.

Does archiving on Switch delete save data? ›

First of all you can archive a game. This will remove all the data of the game from your system, but keep the icon on your home menu so that you can easily redownload it again in the future.

Are saves stored on Switch or cartridge? ›

Your data is stored on the console

Unlike other Nintendo systems, your game Nintendo Switch save data is stored on the console's system memory, not on the cartridge.

Can I copy Switch games to SD card? ›

Go to the Switch home screen. Select “System Settings,” which is represented by the gear icon. Go to “Manage Software.” Choose the game you want to transfer to your microSD card.

Does uninstalling switch games delete saves? ›

Deleting or archiving software will not impact your save data. Once deleted, software can be redownloaded using the same Nintendo Account with which it was purchased. If a microSD card is inserted, the save location will default to the microSD card when downloading or redownloading software.

Where are game data saved? ›

All Saved Games are stored in your players' Google Drive Application Data Folder. This folder can only be read and written by your game - it cannot be viewed or modified by other developers' games, so there is additional protection against data corruption.

Does archiving delete data? ›

Archiving a record makes the record inactive, while preserving the record and all associated data. You'll still be able to report on and invoice for archived data. A client, person, task, or expense category that has time or expense data tracked to it can't be deleted—archiving is the only option.

How long do Switch cloud saves last? ›

Cloud Save Limitations

Nintendo will hold onto your Cloud Saves for six months after your subscription expires. They will be deleted if you don't reinstate your subscription within those six months. Don't worry - your local saves will be fine!

How do I download cloud saves on my Switch? ›

From the HOME Menu, select "System Settings" > "Data Management" > "Save Data Cloud". Select the desired user, then choose the backup file you wish to download. Select “Download Save Data”.

What does Smart Switch not backup? ›

Note: Data from synced accounts cannot be transferred with Smart Switch, but will appear on the new device once you've logged in to the account. Personal content: Contacts, S Planner, Calendar, Messages, Memo, Call logs, Clock, Samsung Pass, Secure Folder, and Internet.

How do I backup files with smart Switch? ›

Connect your phone to your computer using a USB cable, and then tap Allow on your phone. Next, navigate to and open Smart Switch on your computer, and then click Backup. A list of different data categories (Call and contacts, messages, apps, etc.) you can back up will display.

What is a good price to sell a Nintendo Switch? ›

USED NINTENDO SWITCH “SELL” PRICES (what you can expect to sell for as of 10/13/2022)
ModelOnline Buyback StoresBrick-and-Mortar Stores (Best Buy, Target, GameStop)
Nintendo Switch$112$50
Nintendo Switch Lite$65$40

Can you sell a Nintendo Switch with downloaded games? ›

Yes you can. You can sell your cartridges only not downloaded games on a memory card. If you sell privately or online you will get more money.

Can you wipe Nintendo Switch but keep games? ›

Using the console's “maintenance mode,” you can wipe most of the data from your Switch while leaving behind things like game saves, user info, and screenshots. There are other maintenance mode options you might need as well if you're dealing with errors, so try this mode before completely reinitializing your console.

What happens if you delete a game you paid for on Switch? ›

Downloadable software can be deleted from the console's system memory or saved to a microSD card in order to free up space. Deleting software data will not impact your save data. Once deleted, software can be redownloaded using the same Nintendo Account with which it was purchased.

How do I delete all data from game Nintendo Switch? ›

Complete these steps
  1. From the HOME Menu, select System Settings.
  2. Scroll down and select Data Management, then Delete Save Data. ...
  3. Select the game title for which you want to delete the save data.
  4. If available, select the User for which you want to delete the save data, or select Delete All Save Data for this Software.

Are switch save files on the cloud? ›

The vast majority of Nintendo Switch titles support Save Data Cloud backup for players with a Nintendo Switch Online membership. Online features (such as Nintendo Switch Online app and Save Data Cloud compatibility) are always identified in the Nintendo eShop and in the game's product information on www.nintendo.com.

Are my switch saves in the cloud? ›

If you're connected to the internet, your save data will be backed up automatically, even when your Nintendo Switch is in sleep mode.

Where is backup file saved in smart switch? ›

Note: You can access Music and Photos from the backup location inside the folder at: Windows: C:\Users\*your PC user id*\Documents\Samsung\SmartSwitch\backup\*device model number*\

Can you have the same save data on two switches? ›

In order to play games with your latest save data on multiple systems, you'll need to transfer the save data each time you use a different console. *With Nintendo Switch Family, you can transfer between each console types.

Are game saves stored on the Switch or the cartridge? ›

Your data is stored on the console

Unlike other Nintendo systems, your game Nintendo Switch save data is stored on the console's system memory, not on the cartridge.

How do I download save data from switch? ›

A Nintendo Switch Online membership is required to use this feature.
...
To download a backup from within System Settings:
  1. From the HOME Menu, select "System Settings" > "Data Management" > "Save Data Cloud".
  2. Select the desired user, then choose the backup file you wish to download.
  3. Select “Download Save Data”.

How do I backup files with Smart Switch? ›

Connect your phone to your computer using a USB cable, and then tap Allow on your phone. Next, navigate to and open Smart Switch on your computer, and then click Backup. A list of different data categories (Call and contacts, messages, apps, etc.) you can back up will display.

Does linking a Nintendo Account delete save data? ›

(Data on the microSD card will not be deleted.) Any Nintendo Accounts linked to the console will not be deleted, but they will be unlinked from the system. After initializing the console, you can create a new user and link to it your Nintendo Account.

What happens when you transfer data from one Switch to another? ›

Information. Transferring user information and save data allows you to move your user profile along with all its associated save data and Nintendo eShop purchases from one Nintendo Switch system to another. Data is moved one user at a time.

Can I transfer my Switch games to another account? ›

Digital game purchases and code redemptions are final, and cannot be transferred to a different Nintendo Account. Please make sure that you are logged into the correct Nintendo Account when purchasing or redeeming a game. The game isn't limited to the Nintendo Account that made the purchase.

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