How to extend Nintendo Switch battery life

The simple tweaks that can keep you playing the best Switch games even longer

Nintendo Switch OLED model
(Image credit: Nintendo)

We're big fans of the Nintendo Switch here at T3.com, and in my flat too: the only reason I don't play mine more is because the kids never let me have it. But whether you have the standard Nintendo Switch. the Nintendo Switch OLED or the Nintendo Switch Lite, the console's Achilles heel is its battery life. No matter how long the Switch battery lasts, it never quite seems enough.

The good news is that it's easy to make it last longer. Here's how.

1. Embrace the dark side

One of the biggest battery drains on any mobile device is the display, and the Switch is no exception: as lovely as it is in full brightness, the more light it's emitting the more power it's using. As with smartphones and tablets, turning the display brightness down a bit can significantly improve battery life – so if you've got it turned right up because your'e playing outdoors, moving to a shady area and turning it down a bit means more fun for longer. This one's easy to change: go into the system settings app and select Screen Brightness. Now, turn off automatic brightness and set the display to the level you want.

2. Stop the shakes

The vibration motors in the Joy-Con controllers (for the Switch and Switch OLED) can be turned off to eke out a bit more life from your battery: although the haptic feedback is a lot of fun it's not essential for that distinctive Nintendo gaming joy. This is another job for the system settings app, but this time you want to tap on Controllers and Sensors. Now you can tap on Controller Vibration to turn the feature off.

3. Enter flight mode

Here's another feature your Switch shares with your smartphone: Flight Mode, aka Airplane Mode, which enables you to keep using your device but disables Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Guess where you can turn Flight Mode on? Yep, it's back to system settings once again. It's worth knowing that this will also disable remote Joy-Con use, and you won't be able to play online titles such as Fortnite when you're in Flight Mode.

4. Make it sleepy

Unless you've changed it, your Switch goes into sleep mode after ten minutes of inactivity. This is a low-power state similar to your phone or tablet's standby mode that uses much less energy when the device isn't being used. Once again, you can change this setting in system settings and make it kick in earlier to eke out a bit more power.

5. Get a power pack

The Switch charges via its USB-C port, and that means you can use a power bank to give it more juice – and of course if you have other USB-C devices it can charge them too. If you don't like the bulk of a stand-alone charger, there are several good quality battery cases for the Switch that attach to your device rather than sitting alongside it. T3 recently wrote about the G-Case, which excels at this.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).