Setup the Nintendo Switch for Christmas Morning

Nintendo Switch Gift

Nintendo Switch Gift

Nothing can compare to the joy of a child, or the child at heart, receiving a video game console they’ve been pining over. But having to wait for updates and setup can tarnish that. For better or worst there is an expectation of instant gratification. You’ll want to setup the video game console in advance. It is the modern day equal of putting the bicycle together the night before. This setup guide will walk you through setting up your new Nintendo Switch. It’ll be ready to play Christmas morning. And you’ll still be available to wrap and place it under the tree.

Nintendo Switch Initial Setup

The Switch requires an initial setup, both in the system and physically. Setup takes a few minutes, bit longer if you want to use parental controls.

  1. The retail box of the Nintendo Switch is NOT sealed. As long as you are careful you can put it right back and no one would be the wiser.
  2. Remove the Switch, dock, HDMI cable, and power adapter.
  3. If you bought a microSD card (used to add storage for digital games, updates, and DLC) install it now. Open up the kickstand. The card installs in a slot inside. Always turn off the Switch before adding or removing a microSD card.
  4. Keeping the Switch in your hand press the power button, on the top left of the Switch.
  5. Go through the initial setup. You can change anything later if needed.
  6. Connect the Switch to your Wi-Fi. Without it you can’t run updates.
  7. Continue going through the setup. It will have you detach the Joy-Con controllers. And it’ll show you how to connect the dock to the TV. Do it all. You’ll use the dock to charge the Switch.
  8. Create a new user. This is a profile used to keep gave save data separate. Everyone who will be using the Switch should have their own profile. You can create up to 8.
  9. Configure parental controls if you wish. This will involve downloading a free phone app to work with the Switch. You can read more about what the parental controls offer at Nintendo’s site.
  10. Complete the setup process.
Nintendo Switch Updates

You Switch will need updates. You may of bought it yesterday, but it came out of the factor with older software. The process is simple, but takes time. More so if you have slower than average Internet service.

  1. Go to System Settings, along the bottom row of icons.
  2. Select System.
  3. Select System Update.
  4. Follow the instructions and allow the update to run. The Switch will restart at the end.
Switch Game Updates

If you bought any game cartridges they may also have updates waiting for them. You can play most games without the latest version. But you avoid problems go ahead and get those updates done, too.

Note: This requires you to break the seal on the game case. You will not be able to get a refund on any unwanted games. Do so at your own discretion.

  1. Open the game case and remove the cartridge.
  2. Insert the cartridge into the Switch. There is a flap you move on top, to the right.
  3. The game should appear in the Home screen.
  4. Select the game.
  5. Press the + or – buttons at the top of either Joy-Con.
  6. Select Software Update.
  7. Select Via the Internet.
  8. Allow the update to run.
  9. When done repeat for each game you have on hand.

Games downloaded from the eShop will be running the latest version.

Buying Digital Games
Pokemon: Let's Go, Pikachu!

Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!

If you plan to get any digital games consider doing so in advance. These games can take a while to download on a normal day. Christmas Day will see many new Switch users downloading. Not to mention current owners using their new eShop gift card.

There are free games available, such as Fortnite. But you must still create an eShop account to download it.

Note: Nintendo has a no refund policy with eShop purchases. You will not be able to get a refund on any unwanted games. Do so at your own discretion.

  1. On the Home screen select eShop, along the bottom row of icons.
  2. Use whichever profile you want associated with the eShop account you’re about to setup. Probably your own.
  3. Go through the initial setup, then select Create.
  4. Continue to setup your new eShop account. When done you’ll be in the eShop.
  5. Use the search function to find the game(s) you want to buy and download. The eShop is not well suited to browsing.
  6. Once purchased the game will download and install. All profiles on the Switch can play the game.
Charge the Switch & Joy-Cons

You’ll want to give the Switch and its Joy-Con controllers time to charge up. At 100% the Switch is good for 2.5-7 hours, depending on the game. The Joy-Cons are good for up to 20 hours.

  1. Attach the Joy-Cons to the Switch.
  2. Insert the Switch into the dock, if not already.
  3. Charging should be done in 3.5 hours. Probably less. You can check the charge on the Joy-Cons by going to Controllers.
  4. If you bought an extra set of Joy-Cons, Pro Controller, or other battery using accessory be sure to charge it as well. Any that include a USB cable can plug into the USB ports on the left side or back of the Switch’s dock.

There are a few essential accessories for the Switch not included with the system. See which you might need and get them before the big day.

Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo Switch Online is a subscription based online service from Nintendo. It has several benefits. The most important being cloud backups of your game save data and online multiplayer. If either sounds necessary consider signing up for it now. Each subscription is per Nintendo account. Which is associated with only one profile on the Switch. If you want to enable service for more than one profile buy the Family Plan.

Read more about Nintendo Switch Online here.

Screen Protector

If you bought a screen protector install is ahead of time. For best results run a hot shower to steam up the bathroom and do the install in there. The steam will reduce dust in the air, making a clean install easier.

amFilm Tempered Glass Screen Protector for Nintendo Switch

Extra Joy-Cons

Joy-Cons Neon Pink/Neon Green

Joy-Cons Neon Pink/Neon Green

With the Switch’s included Joy-Cons you have two controllers ready to go. If you want to do 3-4 player games you’ll want an additional set of Joy-Cons. Break them out and connect them with the Switch for any controller updates. Make sure they also get time attached on the Switch to charge.

You can also recharge up to four Joy-Cons at once with the PowerA Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Charging Dock.

Wrap It Up

Once all the setups, downloads, installs, and charging is done you can put everything back. The Switch box should look untouched. Games will be missing their plastic, but that also means faster access to the fun inside.

If you or others need gift ideas to go along with the new Switch check out the Nintendo Switch Gift Guide.