Can You Play Games on Nintendo Switch Without SD Card?

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By Monica Bates

Are you wondering if you can play games on your Nintendo Switch without having an SD card? The answer is yes, but it comes with some limitations.

What is an SD card?

First, let’s understand what an SD card is. An SD card is a small storage device that can be inserted into your Nintendo Switch to expand its storage capacity. Without an SD card, the Nintendo Switch has only 32GB of internal storage which can quickly fill up with game downloads and updates.

Can you play games without an SD card?

Yes, you can play games on your Nintendo Switch without an SD card, but it may limit the number of games you can have installed at once. With only 32GB of internal storage, you may find yourself having to constantly delete old games to make room for new ones.

If you plan on playing physical game cartridges instead of downloading them from the Nintendo eShop, then an SD card is not necessary for gameplay.

When do you need an SD card?

An SD card becomes necessary when you want to download multiple digital games from the Nintendo eShop or DLC (downloadable content) for already installed games. Some game downloads can be quite large and take up a significant amount of space on your internal storage.

If you plan on purchasing and downloading several digital games or DLCs, then investing in an SD card will provide much-needed additional storage space.

How to use an SD card with your Nintendo Switch?

Using an SD card with your Nintendo Switch is straightforward. Simply insert the microSDXC memory card into the slot located behind the kickstand on the back of the console. Once inserted correctly, go to System Settings > Data Management > Manage Software > select software > Move Data Between System / microSD Card to transfer data between internal storage and the microSDXC memory card.

The Bottom Line

While it is possible to play games on your Nintendo Switch without an SD card, it is not recommended if you plan on downloading several digital games. An SD card will provide additional storage space and prevent you from having to delete old games to make room for new ones. To use an SD card with your Nintendo Switch, insert the microSDXC memory card into the slot located behind the kickstand and transfer data between internal storage and the memory card through system settings.