How to Set Up a Nintendo Switch

A quick guide so you can start playing now.
Ash Ash (362)
10 minutes

If you've just picked up a Nintendo Switch, you're going to love how simple first-time set up is. Power on the Switch, connect the controllers, and enter your information.

Nintendo SwitchNintendo Switch ×1

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Nintendo Switch Power Button

The Switch comes with a power adapter. We'll need it to charge the Switch. You can initiate first time setup with or without the docking station.

If you're using a dock

  1. Plug the power adapter into the back of the dock.
  2. Make sure the power adapter is plugged into an outlet.
  3. Slide the Switch into the dock.

If you're not using a dock

  1. Plug the power adapter into the USB-C port on the bottom of the Switch.
  2. Connect the other end of the adapter into an outlet.
  3. Press the power button.
  4. Make sure the Switch battery icon shows a charging icon (shaped like a lightning bolt).
Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Controllers

Connect the two Joy-Con controllers to the Switch. Attaching these incorrectly can cause them to get stuck - be sure to proceed with caution.

  1. Make sure the Switch is fully charged.
  2. Connect the Joy-Con controllers to the Switch by sliding them into place on the sides. The +/- buttons should be oriented towards the top of the Switch screen.
  3. Listen for the distinct click sound from the Switch indicating the Joy-Con has been connected.
  4. Test the controller by moving the joystick or pressing a button.

The Switch will walk you through a series of prompts. Follow along and enter any custom information you want for the Switch.

  • Language - This will set the language used on your Switch.
  • Region - Choose your region to set your console to the appropriate locale. Games are not region locked on the Switch, but some DLC is.
  • EULA - Read through the EULA. You must agree to the terms to use the console.
  • WiFi - Enter your WiFi settings. This step is skippable.
  • Time Zone - Choose your time zone.
  • Icon - Select an icon to use with your Switch profile.
  • Nickname - Set a nickname to associate with your Switch profile.
Nintendo Switch with dock

You will need an HDMI cable to connect your Switch to a TV. Plug the HDMI cable into the back of the Switch Dock with the other end connected to your TV.

For a detailed overview of this process, check out our guide on how to connect the Switch to a TV.

Nintendo Switch Parental Controls

If you'd like to enable parental controls, now is a great time to do it. If you don't need them, feel free to skip this step.

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Choose Parental Controls

Here you can choose whether or not to enable parental controls for the Switch and how restricted the settings should be.

If you need additional help setting up your Switch, check out the official support page on Nintendo's website. It has detailed instructions as well as contact information for tech support.

If you ever want to restore your Switch to factory defaults in order to sell it or just to start fresh, check out my Nintendo Switch reset guide.

It took them long enough!
Britt Britt (157)

One of the most popular requests of Nintendo Switch users has finally been fulfilled! After four years since the Nintendo Switch’s release, update version 13.0.