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Common Nintendo Switch Problems And Solutions

Early adopters are very much in the honeymoon phase with ’s new system, exploring the enormous world of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and solving puzzles in Snipperclips, but a number of technical issues have already soiled the experience for some players.

From relatively minor cosmetic damage that can largely be ignored, to issues that have rendered players’ systems useless, we’ve compiled a list of the most problems from which the is currently suffering. When applicable, we’ve also included possible solutions, though we must stress that anything involving taking apart a piece of your console could potentially make the problems worse or void your warranty.

The dock is scratching the Switch’s screen


Mike Epstein/Digital Trends

Moving the Switch from its portable configuration into the dock is a process that takes only seconds. If you don’t put the console in perfectly straight, however, it’s quite easy for the dock to actually leave permanent damage on the outside of your screen. This is due to two pieces of plastic protruding inside both ends of the dock, which will make contact with the outside bezel of the Switch when it’s dropped into place. If you position the Switch incorrectly and have to move it while it’s resting in the dock, these plastic pieces can dig into the console’s plastic and leave smudges at best and scratches at worst.

For players who routinely move their Switch between its portable and docked configuration, a screen protector is a must-have accessory, as any damage done by the dock will be to the removable protector and not the console itself. However, early, flexible screen protector kits released for the system, including the “official” PDP product, were cut incorrectly, with edges of the protector lining up exactly with the edge of the system, making bubbles a guarantee unless it’s placed on the console absolutely perfectly.

More: Nintendo Teardown: Here’s what the inside of the Switch looks like

Tempered glass covers shouldn’t suffer from this problem, though most of them won’t be available until late-March as the very earliest. It’s advised to wait about 24 hours before docking your system after using a tempered glass protector, however, as the adhesive could melt if not allowed to set properly.

In the meantime, users have taped microfiber cloths to the inside of the dock to cover up the two plastic protrusions. If you can stand spending $8 on something that you’ll remove in a few weeks once your tempered glass protector arrives, you might still want to temporarily install one of the plastic ones.

Joy-Con is disconnecting

Mike Epstein/Digital Trends

Mike Epstein/Digital Trends

The most notorious of the Nintendo Switch’s issues thus far, disconnecting left Joy-Con controllers, appears to be a fairly widespread problem, The controller losing synchronization with the Switch itself in the middle of Breath of the Wild runs, can be extra frustrating if it leads to getting killed by a boss. Squeezing the controller, placing it behind one’s back, and covering the front of it with a hand all appear to exacerbate the problem – an oddity in an age when nearly every controller on the market uses wireless technology.

The problem appears to stem from Nintendo’s decision to put the left controller’s antennae inside the circuit board instead of including it as a separate piece. By opening up the Joy-Con and soldering a small piece of wire going down the length of the controller, YouTube user Spawn Wave was not only able to make the controller even more reliable than the right Joy-Con, but he was even able to extend its range considerably. Without proper knowledge of a soldering iron — and the understanding that doing it incorrectly will have you out $50 – you shouldn’t attempt this surgery, but it certainly seems to be a viable solution if Nintendo doesn’t issue a recall.

Third-party skins are damaging consoles

Vinyl console skins are a great way to show your love for a particular game or series while also adding some protection to the system itself, but in the case of the Nintendo Switch, it appears to be doing more harm than good. Two different companies – Dbrand and Slickwraps – have already canceled production of their skins after finding that the Joy-Con’s coating was being damaged by the skins’ adhesive, leaving them with a patchy, “weather-worn” look, while Slickwraps also said that its adhesive damaged the Switch console itself during the testing process.

PDP, who created an officially licensed, Breath of the Wild-themed skin for the Switch, is not only still marketing their product, but have also denied that it can damage the system. YouTube user Adam Roffel backed this up, removing the skins from his Joy-Con controllers with no apparent damage. Other users, however, have shown evidence that the skins were damaging their systems, though not as severely as the skins from the other two manufacturers.

The solution here is clear: Don’t put a skin on your Nintendo Switch or the Joy-Con controllers until this has been sorted out. Consider investing in rubber covers for your Joy-Con controllers, instead, which not only won’t pull the coating off your controllers, but will also add protection against the elements and could even fit better into larger hands.

Screens glitching and freezing


Mike Epstein/Digital Trends

In addition to controller issues and problems related to the physical construction of the Nintendo Switch and its dock, a number of users have also experienced screen freezes, as well as horrible Switch seizures that cause the system to blare a high pitched squeal while lights flash faster than an ecstasy-fueled rave. Some users have also experienced temporary freezes that result in like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild crashing, potentially losing their progress.

The only short-term solution that has worked thus far has been to do a “hard reset” of the Switch – holding down the power button for 15 seconds until it completely shuts down, then turning it back on. Though this fixes the issue briefly, affected Switch owners have claimed that the issue returns shortly afterward and won’t even be fixed with a factory reset of the system.

More: Nintendo: Switch save data cannot be transferred to a MicroSD card

Nintendo’s consoles carry a one year warranty, and we would advise not wasting your time with do-it-yourself fixes for a problem this severe. Instead, contact the company to get a replacement unit sent out as quickly as possible. After spending $300 on a system in addition to and accessories, you deserve to have it work as intended. Just be aware that there is no way to transfer your saved game data off of the Switch, as it’s saved directly onto the system’s flash storage instead of a MicroSD card or the game cartridge.

Dead pixels

Dead pixels are annoying on any device, especially portable screens, where they tend to be the focus of all your attention, mocking you for wanting a screen free of imperfections. In the Nintendo Switch’s case, it only works to harm your immersion, but it’s also the only major issue thus far that cannot currently be solved.

Nintendo, on its support website, describes dead pixels as “a characteristic of LCD screens and that they should “not be considered a defect.” This means that Nintendo will not be fixing them through warranty claims and that you could be stuck with your defective screen – and it is defective – for good. As Eurogamer points out, however, the company did fix original systems over a decade ago that suffered from dead pixels, so it’s possible that Nintendo will reverse its stance at some point in the future.

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