Can You Play 3DS Games From SD Card?

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By Ralph Torres

If you’re a die-hard Nintendo fan, you might have a 3DS console that’s been with you for years. And if you’re anything like us, you probably have a ton of games for it!

But what happens when you run out of space on your console? Can you play 3DS games from an SD card instead? The short answer is yes, but let’s dive deeper into how to make it happen.

What You’ll Need
Before we get started, there are a few things you’ll need:

  • A 3DS console with custom firmware installed
  • A compatible SD card (we recommend at least 32GB)
  • The necessary software to install games onto the SD card (more on this later)

Installing Custom Firmware
To play 3DS games from an SD card, your console needs to have custom firmware installed. This process can be a bit complicated and risky, so make sure to do your research and follow instructions carefully. We won’t go into detail on how to do it here, but there are plenty of resources online that can help.

Choosing the Right SD Card
Not all SD cards are created equal. When choosing an SD card for your 3DS, make sure it meets the following criteria:

  • Compatible with your 3DS model (check the manual or online specifications)
  • Has enough storage space for all of your games (we recommend at least 32GB)
  • A fast read/write speed (look for Class 10 or UHS-I/UHS-II ratings)

Installing Games onto Your SD Card
Once you have custom firmware installed and the right SD card ready, it’s time to start installing games! There are a few different software options available for this, but we recommend using FBI. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Download the FBI software onto your computer and extract the files.
  2. Insert your SD card into your computer using a card reader.
  3. Create a folder named “cias” on the root of your SD card.
  4. Drag and drop the game files (with a .cia extension) into the “cias” folder on your SD card.
  5. Eject your SD card from your computer and insert it back into your 3DS console.
  6. Open FBI on your 3DS console and select “SD” as the location to install games from.
  7. Select the game you want to install and follow the prompts to complete installation onto your SD card.

Playing Games From Your SD Card
Once you’ve installed games onto your SD card, playing them is easy! Simply open up the Homebrew Launcher on your 3DS console, select FBI, and choose the game you want to play. It will launch just like any other game on your console!

Playing 3DS games from an SD card is possible with custom firmware installed on your console and a compatible SD card with enough storage space. It may take some time to get everything set up correctly, but once you do, it’s a great way to expand your gaming library without having to constantly switch out cartridges. Just make sure to research and follow instructions carefully every step of the way!