How to Archive Games on Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch doesn’t win any prizes when it comes to storage space. Luckily, the portable hybrid has a new way to free up space when you need it most.

The Nintendo Switch 2017 model only has 32GB of internal storage, while the upgraded Nintendo Switch OLED doubles that to 64GB. Even then, you’ll probably want to invest in a microSD card to bolster the available space on your console.

But if you’re not ready to shell out the extra money for a microSD card – or if you can’t afford it, your Switch has an alternative method of freeing up space without entirely removing the game from your system. And that’s software archiving.

In this guide, we’ll explain what archiving is, how to archive games on the Nintendo Switch, and why it’s a useful method of freeing up valuable storage space.

What is Archiving on Nintendo Switch?

Super Mario Odyssey played on a Nintendo Switch in handheld mode

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Wachiwit)

Archiving software is a useful method of freeing up space on your Nintendo Switch. It will remove a game’s files from your system, but retain valuable save data, making it easy to pick up where you left off in a game.

So what is the difference between archiving and deleting software? Archiving a game will keep its icon on your Nintendo Switch dashboard, making it easily accessible if you ever want to redownload it.

By comparison, deleting the software removes this icon, so you’ll have to go back to the cumbersome eShop to re-download your game if you want to play it again. If you want a clean, uncluttered dashboard, you might prefer deleting games, but archiving is a time saver.

It should also be noted that archiving is not available for Nintendo Switch physical cartridges. In this case, the data is stored on the cart itself, so there is no need to archive the software. For physical media on Nintendo Switch, only updates and save data take up storage space.

How to Archive Games on Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch with the eShop on screen

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Vantage_DS)

Archiving software on Nintendo Switch is a simple process, but it requires digging into your Nintendo Switch settings. First then, enter the System Settings menu of your console by highlighting the cog icon in the lower right and pressing A.

In the settings menu, there are two ways to archive your software. The two meet in the Data management submenuso go there next.

The first method of archiving software is useful if it’s a single game you plan to put on the shelf. From the Data Management submenu, select Manage Softwareand you will be presented with a list of games currently downloaded to your Nintendo Switch.

Choose the game you want to archive, then select Archiving softwarefollowed by Archive. This will remove the game’s files from your Switch, while keeping the save data and its icon available on your console’s dashboard.

The second method is extremely useful if you are looking to archive games in bulk. Again, head to the Data management submenu. This time choose Quick archive instead of Manage Software. This takes you to a list of all downloaded software.

In the Quick Archive menu, you can select multiple games to archive. Simply choose all the games you want to archive, then press Archive datafollowed by Archive. It’s a fantastic way to store a whole bunch of games and free up a ton of storage space on your Switch.

And that’s all there is to it. If you ever want to redownload archived software, just select the game’s icon in the Switch dashboard and then choose to redownload it. This saves you from having to wade through the list of redownloadable software on the Switch’s eShop.

If you’re not quite ready to pony up for one of best microSD cards for Switch, so don’t worry. Archiving makes it easier to keep your system storage healthy.

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