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Here's how to use Bluetooth with your Nintendo Switch

Your Nintendo Switch finally has Bluetooth.

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It only took Nintendo four and a half years to finally enable Bluetooth on its Switch handheld consoles. But now you can play your favorite games without disturbing your neighbors or getting your headphone cables tangled up.

Until the latest firmware update version 13.0.0 released on Tuesday, Switch owners needed a Bluetooth adapter like the Genki adapter if they wanted to use their wireless earbuds. The new update brings native Bluetooth audio support to both the Switch and the Switch Lite, although it does come with caveats, like limiting how many controllers you can connect to your Switch at the same time.

How to use a Bluetooth device with your Nintendo Switch

A screenshot of the Bluetooth Audio menu on the Nintendo Switch
Credit: Reviewed / Adrien Ramirez

The new Bluetooth Audio menu is simple to navigate.

1. First you'll need to update your Switch to firmware to version 13.0.0. To do so, go to System Settings on the Home menu. Scroll down to System, press System Update, and follow the prompts on your Switch.

2. Once your Switch is updated, go back to the System Settings menu and scroll down to Bluetooth Audio (it’s toward the bottom, right below Controllers and Sensors).

3. Put your Bluetooth audio device into pairing mode (check your device’s user manual if you’re unsure how to do this). When your device is ready, press Pair Device on the Switch’s screen.

4. Wait until your device’s name pops up on the screen, and then select it. You’re now paired.

5. To pair another device, follow the same steps.

How to unpair a Bluetooth device from your Nintendo Switch

Screenshot of the Disconnect and Remove device menu
Credit: Reviewed / Adrien Ramirez

One a device is paired, you can either disconnect it to pair a different device or remove the device from the Switch altogether.

1. From the Bluetooth Audio menu, select the device you wish to unpair.

2. Select Disconnect Device if you want to stop sharing a Bluetooth connection. The Switch will still remember this device.

3. If you want the Switch to forget about the device altogether, select Remove Device instead.

Pairing limitations

Someone holds an airpod with their thumb and index finger
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Finally, you don't need to carry around a Bluetooth adapter to use your wireless earbuds with the Switch.

  • The Switch only supports Bluetooth audio. You can’t use a Bluetooth microphone, keyboard, or mouse, for instance.
  • Bluetooth audio will disconnect when using your Switch's local wireless communication.
  • The Switch will remember up to ten paired devices, but you can only pair one Bluetooth audio device at a time.
  • If you are using a Bluetooth audio device, you can only pair two Switch controllers instead of the usual eight. (Each Joy-Con counts as one controller.)
  • You may experience Bluetooth audio lag on your device.

Troubleshooting

Picture of two Nintendo joycons and a Switch dock
Credit: Getty Images / Drew Angerer

Some say the new firmware update has made the Switch slower to boot from sleep.

Some users (notably those with a v2 Switch) claim the new Bluetooth update is impacting their Switch’s boot times from sleep by ten seconds or more. If your Switch is slow to start up, here are some steps you can take:

1. Unpair and remove all saved Bluetooth devices (see How to unpair a device above).

2. Hold the power button until you see power options.

3. Hit Turn Off to completely shut down your Switch (a restart does not help).

4. Wait 30 seconds.

5. Turn your Switch back on and try again.

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