Nintendo switch won’t turn on – why and how to fix it!

Q: Do you know why PC gamers can’t use Uber? 

A: There are too many incompatible drivers!

Anti-PC jokes aside, consoles are here to stay, and we love it! Today we want to talk about a console that has sold over 113 million units worldwide since its launch in 2017 — the Nintendo Switch. We are not going to waste any time introducing this stellar console, though. What we will address today is a question that repeatedly caught our eye as we scoured the internet:

“My Nintendo Switch won’t turn on; what do I do?”

Well, friends, you can start by reading this article. We’re pretty sure you’ll find an answer in our troubleshooting guide for this issue, so keep scrolling!

Nintendo Switch Won’t Turn On

If your Nintendo Switch won’t turn on, pull the Switch out of the dock and press the power button. If that doesn’t work, unplug the adapter powering the dock and plug it back in. If that doesn’t work, try a soft reset by pressing the power button for 20 seconds. A final fix is the factory reset — and if that doesn’t work, it’s off to the Nintendo service center for repair!

Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch

Now that we’ve given you basic instructions on what to do if your Nintendo Switch won’t turn on, we recommend you also read about why this happens below. Then go on to the section where we explain, in detail, how to fix it.

Why Won’t My Nintendo Switch Turn On?

The Nintendo Switch does not have an indicator light for power, so you only know it’s on when the screen comes to life. So, ensure that the Nintendo Switch is not in Sleep Mode before you continue reading.

Faulty adapter or cable

Did you check to see if you’re using the correct adapter? We are in an age where we use multiple electronic devices, and it’s possible that you used the wrong adapter

Another reason your Nintendo Switch won’t power on is that a faulty cable is not delivering power to the console. A damaged or frayed cable, exposed to frequent folding or improper storage, can quickly go bad.

We recommend you read our article on charging the Nintendo Switch!

Faulty dock or power socket

It’s rare, but your Switch dock could be at fault here. Ideally, you should see the green LED light up in the bottom corner of the dock when connected to power. But if you’re not seeing this and you’ve already checked the cable, chances are that it’s the dock that’s damaged and not the Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch With Dock

Dead battery

One of the coolest things about the Nintendo Switch is how it transforms from a console into a handheld gaming device. This is possible thanks to the 4,210 mAh battery inside the console. But if this battery dies, it won’t let the device power on, even when it’s on the dock and connected to a power socket.

Physical damage

If you accidentally drop your Nintendo Switch, it can cause serious problems for the device, causing it not to power on. The Switch is pretty sturdy, but tossing it on the couch or bed when you’re done gaming isn’t really recommended. 

All it takes is one bad bump to damage the inner components. Therefore, we recommend you check the body for signs of physical damage to see if you need to take it to a technician.

Heat or liquid damage

Keeping it in a stuffy cabinet with other electronics that heat up is really bad for your Nintendo Switch. Excessive heat damages almost every electronic device, which is why it’s crucial to keep your gaming consoles in a well-ventilated area. 

Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch With Controllers

Additionally, never leave your Switch in your car because a vehicle’s temperature can vary wildly in some places. Similarly, liquid damage can ring the death knell for electronics. Finally, the Nintendo Switch is not waterproof; if you get water into it, we recommend you let it air dry for a few days before you attempt to turn it on.

How to Fix a Nintendo Switch That Won’t Turn On

So we’ve already covered all the main reasons your Nintendo Switch refuses to power on. But what can you do about it? It turns out it’s not the end of the world — we have some solutions for you to try that could fix your beloved console. Let’s get cracking!

Address any power issues

Alright! So the first thing to do is to examine your cable. This is usually the prime suspect; most users report that the issue with a Nintendo Switch that won’t turn on is due to a faulty cable or adapter. 

Nintendo Switch Adapter
Nintendo Switch Adapter

If it’s possible for you to borrow an original Nintendo adapter, we recommend you do that — if not, try using any adapter with similar wattage (15V/ 2.6A – 39W). 

Cable issues can cause the Nintendo Switch to not charge and hence, not power on when you try to boot it. First, you must verify that the cable is working properly. Check the connections and ensure it’s plugged in correctly and that the cable is not damaged in any way.

Next up is the Switch’s dock. Do you see a green LED light on the dock indicating that the Nintendo Switch is charging properly? If not, we recommend you pull the cable out of the dock and plug it into the Switch directly. Leave it connected for a minute, and then press the power button. If it powers on, that tells you that your dock is malfunctioning.

Did you know you can still connect a Switch to your TV without a dock?

Also, check the power outlet. As ridiculous as it sounds, you should absolutely check to see if the power socket is at fault because those go bad too! Then, try a different socket to see if you can get your Switch working again.

We’ve written a guide on connecting your Switch to Wi-Fi that you should read. 

Let it charge

Electronics can be as moody as us humans, just (hopefully) not as often. So we have a hack that has worked for Switch owners in the past — leave the console charging for an hour, and then try to power it on. Sometimes the battery may take a bit to juice up again, and hopefully, your console will go back to normal and ‘switch’ on again. Hehe.

Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch Charging in its Dock

Power cycle

Turning a device on and off may sound like advice your technologically-challenged dad gives you, but we’re here to back him up! Nothing like a good ol’ reboot to get things working again, as we say in the troubleshooting world.

We recommend you unplug the adapter and the cable and take the Switch out of its dock. Now, wait a few minutes; you can use this time to wipe down your console and ensure that the connecting ports and metal contacts are clean. It’s best to use a soft microfiber cloth and some 70% isopropyl alcohol to get the job done.

Then, reconnect the cables and adapter, and try turning on the Switch. Fingers crossed!

Soft Reset

Okay, so the crossed fingers didn’t help — has it ever? Nevertheless, we have another suggestion for you, one more powerful than the last. We’re hoping this level-up gets gamers excited.

A soft reset basically jolts your Nintendo Switch into rebooting itself, and here’s how you do it.

  1. Pull the Nintendo Switch out of its dock if it is plugged in.
  2. Next, press and hold the Power button for 20 seconds.
  3. Let go of the button, wait 10-15 seconds, and then press and release the Power button.
  4. If this works, leave us a comment below!

Restore Factory Settings on Nintendo Switch

This next step is like a 47-key combo on a retro gaming arcade machine, and we’re hoping it manages to do what the earlier steps could not. The cool thing about this step is that while it has the ability to reset any software glitches, it leaves your gaming data/save data intact.

Nintendo Switch Factory Reset
Nintendo Switch Power and Volume Buttons

Here’s how you go about executing the factory reset:

  1. Power off the console (easy step, especially when you consider that the very reason you’re here is that it won’t power on).
  2. Now, press and hold both volume keys. With these two keys pressed, also press the Power button.
  3. Keep holding down the volume keys until (hopefully) you see the Recovery Mode appear on your screen.
  4. If the Recovery Mode does, in fact, appear, this means a software glitch was the culprit all along.
  5. From the options on your screen, select “Restore Factory Settings Without Deleting Save Data.” You may be asked to enter your PIN.
  6. Keep confirming actions until the reset process is complete. 
  7. Your Switch should power back on automatically, but if it doesn’t, press the power button.

Change the battery

There’s one last step you can try, but this will cost you a little bit of money (about $10-15). It’s to swap out the battery of your Nintendo Switch for a new one, as it’s not uncommon to hear of a dead battery that stops the device from powering on.

Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch With Dock and Controllers

Nintendo does not sell these batteries and recommends that you submit the device to an authorized center to get it replaced, but if you’re feeling frisky, you can buy a third-party Nintendo Switch battery and try replacing it yourself. Be warned — this will void your warranty if it’s still in the coverage period.

Here’s a handy video guide to walk you through the process!

Contact Nintendo Customer Care

Ah, we’re finally out of DIY solutions. But there’s no need to be disheartened because what this means is that you can now send it to the people who can 100% fix your console! Simply fill out the form on Nintendo’s Repair Center page, and you will receive instructions on how to get your console fixed.

If you’re under warranty, you won’t have to pay a dime, but if you’re not, the approximate cost to get your Nintendo Switch working again is $99.


That wraps up our troubleshooting manual — we’ve covered all the steps to try if your Nintendo Switch won’t turn on. As you can see, these steps aren’t very advanced, and if they all fail, it’s best to hand the Switch over to the experts at Nintendo’s repair shops. 

But if one of these steps did work, you should let us know in the comments so it can help gamers facing the same issue! After all, it’s all love in the gaming community, isn’t it?

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About Jess

Hello, I'm Jess and I take care of all of the imagery we use here at Spacehop. Although I'm not as tech savvy as some of the other here, I have worked in HR for several years, so you'll probably hear me imparting some of my wisdom here on occasion.

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