Few things are more alarming than pressing the power button on a console like the Nintendo Switch and not being greeted by the familiar sight of it powering on. Don’t shake it or keep pressing the power button once you’re sure it isn’t working. Instead, try the most common solutions to see whether it’s fixable without having to send it for repair.
Why Won’t My Nintendo Switch Start?
Unfortunately, all consoles are complex machines that require many parts working in sync to turn on. When one part of the system has a problem, it’s likely you won’t be playing your favorite games until you identify and fix it.
Some reasons for a Switch failing to turn on repeatedly appear in enthusiast communities. For example:
- The Switch hasn’t charged. Sometimes you’ve expected it to charge, but for whatever reason, it didn’t. It doesn’t always mean the Switch can’t hold a charge – that’s a different issue. When the Switch doesn’t hold a charge, it means there are hardware problems on the actual machine that must be fixed.
- Some part of the system is damaged and prevents the Switch from starting.The internal components sometimes break without any kind of sign. The Switch can be completely great when you shut it down and then refuse ever to turn on again.
- The Switch is on, but the screen is damaged, so you aren’t seeing any video feedback. Since the Switch doesn’t have a power indicator light, it can be hard to tell that it’s on without some kind of feedback or screen image.
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do as an owner if your Switch is broken inside. You will have to get it repaired by a professional. Before you look for someone to take it apart, check for some common issues and see whether you can get it going.
How to Fix a Nintendo Switch That Won’t Turn on
As always, the best way to troubleshoot is with the most straightforward and obvious solutions. You’d be surprised how often even experienced, technologically-savvy players overlook an unplugged power cable, for example.
Try to Turn the Switch on in Both Forms
One of the best things about the Switch is that it’s at once a handheld portable console and a stationary console you can use on the big screen. If you only tried turning it on one way, try the other.
Checking it in each iteration means you won’t overlook anything – even though it’s the same button in both cases. Placing it back in the dock also allows you to check for positioning issues that might interfere with its ability to hold a charge.
- Remove the Switch from the Dock if it’s already in it.
- Press and hold the Power Button for five seconds. Try to feel for any kind of feedback and listen for any sounds. If the volume isn’t up or you aren’t sure, use the volume up button to increase it after each attempt to power the device on.
- Place the Switch back in the dock. Getting a firm, even connection that isn’t askew is imperative. Go slow and lower it directly onto the port in the dock.
- Press the Power Button again. Try to detect any feedback or noise.
If it still won’t turn on and you don’t see a charging indicator despite the dock being plugged in, you can be sure something is amiss. However, doing this first eliminates the chance the Switch just didn’t respond the last time you tried.
Reset Your AC Adapter
You can reset your AC adapter to see if that fixes the issue. To do so, simply unplug it from the wall and the console for 30 seconds. Don’t use it during that time, and it should be reset. Once you’re done, try to plug it into the Switch to see whether the charging indicator appears. If it does, let it charge for 30 minutes before trying to turn it on again.
Try Connecting to a Screen
If the Switch is working, but you cannot see or hear it due to problems with the console, connecting it to a screen will eliminate that variable since the image should show up there even if the Switch itself is damaged.
- Plug the Switch into the Dock and ensure the dock is fully connected to the alternate screen.
- Check to make sure your Switch is receiving power. You want it firmly connected to the dock.
- Press the Power Button and watch the alternate screen to see whether an image appears.
If this works, the screen on your Switch is damaged. That’s not great news, but it helps to understand what you need to do to get it working again.
Troubleshooting Out of the Dock
Once you’ve tried to turn it on again, remove the Switch from the dock and perform the following steps without having it attached. While the dock is a great tool, it adds another element of uncertainty to the process. The simpler, the better.
- Plug the Power Cable directly into the Switch and set it down for 30 minutes on a flat surface. Don’t worry about whether the charging indicator shows. You want to give it the time to start charging if the battery is completely drained.
- Return and try to turn the Switch on again. Hold the button for five or ten seconds to give it a chance to respond. You may be having issues charging due to a faulty cable if it doesn’t.
- Look at the power port on your Switch and both ends of the power cable. If there are burns, melted plastic, odd tangles, or bumps under the cable’s surface, it could be damaged. However, a damaged cable doesn’t mean your Switch will never work again. It just means that you need a new cable.
- Find another compatible charging cable and use it with a different wall outlet to repeat step one. You want the Switch on an entirely new wall outlet with a completely new charging cable to be sure that they aren’t the issue.
- After thirty minutes, try to turn the Switch on again. If it still isn’t working, plug it back in and leave it to sit overnight.
- Try to turn on the Switch again after 12 hours, whichever is later. Giving it adequate time to charge with an outlet and charger known to work helps you know it isn’t a cable issue.
You’ve eliminated external issues at this point – as long as you’re using a proper compatible cable from Nintendo. The company recommends using their OEM cable because they say some third-party cables don’t do the same quality job and maybe why your Switch won’t turn on.
Try to Reset the Switch
Luckily, there is a way to reset the Switch without turning it on. You can try this to see whether it lets you turn the Switch on afterward.
- Plug the Switch into an OEM adapter you know to work.
- Press and hold the Power Button on top of the console for 30 seconds.
- Press the Power button again to see whether it turns on. If it doesn’t, continue with the following steps.
- Press and hold Volume Down + Power for 15 seconds.
- Release the buttons.
- Press the Power Button to see whether the Switch turns on.
If it still doesn’t work, you may have to contact Nintendo to get it repaired.
Try Recovery Mode
Another trick some users do when the Switch isn’t working is recovery mode. It’s very similar to resetting the console and worth trying if all else fails.
- Press down on the Volume Up + Volume Down buttons. Hold them during the next steps.
- Press and release the Power Button to see whether it switches on.
- Continue holding the volume buttons while you wait to see whether the Recovery Mode activates.
If this works, you may want to reset your device to fix whatever prevents it from powering on. You can choose to do so without deleting your data. If it continues struggling to turn on even after you’ve gone through the reset, you should wipe and reset it fully to see whether it fixes what’s wrong.
Repairing Your Switch
Most Switch users choose to do maintenance and repairs through Nintendo. It’s definitely the best way to go since they manufactured the console. If you want to start the process online, there’s an easy way to do it.
- Log onto the Nintendo Online Repair website.
- Click Start a Repair Request.
- Click I Agree to consent to Nintendo’s terms.
- Type in the serial number of your Switch. You can find this information on the back or bottom of the console, depending on which model you have.
- Click Continue.
- Keep entering the requested information, which may vary depending on your chosen options.
- Move through the steps until you submit the request to Nintendo.
Once you speak to Nintendo, they’ll guide you through the process of getting repairs started.