Since its launch back in 2017, the Nintendo Switch has sold more than 40 million units worldwide due to its portability and a vast selection of exclusive games. It has seen a new hardware revision in August 2019, which includes a new 16nm NVIDIA Tegra X1 chip and more efficient LPDDR4X memory chips.
Due to the die shrink of the SoC, the battery life has significantly improved compared to the older Switch model with the 20nm X1 chip. Nintendo has promised to improve Switch’s battery life by up to 78%, which brings up the approximate playtime from 2.5-6.5 hours to 4.5-9 hours depending on the display brightness and the games you play.
Although the newly-released Switch Lite also uses the same 16nm X1 chip, it has a smaller battery (3570 mAh) compared to the original Switch (4310 mAh) and is estimated to last from 3 to 7 hours.
If you own the original Switch, there are some things you can try out to increase the playtime when your device is in handheld or tabletop mode. This guide will show you a couple of possible tweaks for the original Switch, Switch V2, and the new Switch Lite.
1. Lower the Display Brightness
If you want more playtime, then lowering your display brightness is the most common workaround. Setting the brightness at 65% is the right balance between visibility and power-saving. Simply long-press the HOME button below the right Joy-Con to open the Quick Settings menu, then adjust the slider to your preference. Make sure to turn off Automatic Brightness. This will increase your battery by a noticeable margin.
2. Turn on Airplane Mode
Unless you are playing a multiplayer game on your Switch, you can turn on Flight or Airplane Mode to disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. You can access the option from the Quick Settings menu.
If you are using your Switch in tabletop mode, then it is crucial to follow the steps below. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use the Joy-cons while detached.
- From the home screen, select System Settings by tapping on the screen.
- Now select Airplane Mode from the sidebar.
- Tap Controller Connection (Bluetooth) and turn on Bluetooth communication.
3. Change Sleep Mode Settings
The Switch’s sleep mode takes over when you pause a game and after a specific period of inactivity. It puts the console in a sleep state and decreases power draw to save battery. You can make some extra tweaks in the sleep mode settings to further extend the battery life.
First, head over to System Settings > Sleep Mode to adjust the Auto-sleep settings. You can set it to the absolute minimum value, but it might interfere while watching an in-game cutscene. So keep it around 3-5 minutes.
You should also disable Wake When AC Adapter is Disconnected so that your Switch stays in sleep mode even after you disconnect it from the charger.
4. Enable Switch’s Dark Theme
To enable the dark theme on your Switch, go to System Settings, select Themes from the sidebar, and apply the Basic Black theme. The UI elements will go dark, which reduces eye-strain and extends battery life by a bit as well.
5. Put Your Switch in Sleep or Power it Off
When you are not using your console, select Sleep Mode on the home screen to manually toggle sleep mode.
You can also hold the Power button above the console for 2 seconds to bring up the power menu, select Power Options, and then click Turn Off to power off your Switch. Doing this will save the device battery.
This guide covers some of the most useful tweaks you can use to increase your Switch’s battery life. Although you get an extra 30-40 minutes of playtime in handheld mode, it is enough when you don’t have a charging outlet nearby when traveling. Those who own the original version of Nintendo Switch, it is more than a welcomed addition.
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