Nintendo Switch Game Saves Can’t Be Copied to SD Card?

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

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An article on Polygon details their experience with the brand new Nintendo Switch console, and one of its shortcomings. They report that the SD card support in the Nintendo Switch is more limited than expected. Those who’ve owned Nintendo’s other cartridge-based systems know that game saves are usually stored on the game cartridge. This is not the case with the Nintendo Switch, which stores game save files in the system’s internal memory instead.

There is a “Manage Save Data\Screenshots” option in the console’s system settings. Here you can copy screenshots to your SD card if you wish, but managing game saves is more limited. For some strange reason, the only option available for managing save game files is to delete them. You can’t copy them onto your SD card to back them up if you wanted. This is a very poor and questionable design choice. You can choose to delete a save file for one user or for all user profiles on the system.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild


This is problematic because if your Switch were to get broken or die, your save data is all gone. Perhaps Nintendo could repair the system for you but aside from that you’d have no other options. This is not very well thought out on Nintendo’s part.

Polygon also reported that the Nintendo Switch does give you an option or tell you where exactly it is installing a game. They found that if the SD card is not present, it will install the game in system memory. They installed the game with the card in, and it was installed on the card. So the guys at Polygon took the SD card out and installed Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove a second time. This time the system installed it into its internal memory. They put the SD card back in and deleted the save data. This resulted in both installations of the game being deleted, with no option for the user about which ones to delete. This too is very poor and questionable design.

Polygon also got confirmation from a Nintendo representative that it is not possible to put your SD card in a different Switch and play your games there. This is true even if you log into your own account on that other Switch console. You can read Polygon’s full article here.




About Michael Fontanini

Michael is a veteran gamer in his late 30s, who grew up around video games, with fond memories of the oldies like the NES, SNES, and N64 among others. He loves Nintendo, but also plays a lot of games on his PC. Michael also enjoys going for walks/bike rides, loves animals, and enjoys thunderstorms (and science in general).

I love Nintendo but I also play a lot of game's on PC, many of which are on steam. My favorite Nintendo game's include Zelda, Metroid, and Smash Bros to name a few. On PC I love the Half-Life games, as well as most all of the Source Engine games just to name a few.