The Nintendo Switch is currently the best way to play home console quality gaming on the go. The main problem with on the go gaming is one that’s been around since the Game Boy: Battery life. Since the Game Boy days technology has come a long way and luckily for us Nintendo have been including rechargeable batteries in their handheld devices for some time.
The Nintendo Switch comes with a 4,310mAh battery which will last you up to 6-hours depending on the game and your settings. So, how do you improve your Nintendo Switch’s battery life? Use these following steps to greatly improve your battery life: –
Turn your brightness down
This is probably the most obvious tip in this guide but, it does help! As with most modern devices, the display is very power hungry. Lowering the brightness will help a lot although, it might make the screen a little harder to view if you are outside in the sun! Automatic brightness can help if turned on also, adapting the screen as and when needed.
Don’t rely on sleep mode
Sleep mode is fantastic, and I use it all the time, However, if I am trying to conserve battery power I will make sure the Switch is completely off. Even in sleep mode, your Nintendo Switch will slowly drain its battery life. I find sleep mode is best used if you need to take a 10 mins break or so, anything longer and I would consider turning off or if at home, dock the console.
Turn vibration off
This one is more relevant to the Joy-cons or controllers rather than the console itself but, it is worth mentioning as the Joy-cons will eventually pull charge from the Switch if the battery gets too low. The motors in the Joy-cons and the Pro Controller really are quite strong. If you don’t want to fully turn them off, you can turn down the HD rumble’s intensity in the system settings. Overall, for a lot of games, the vibration function is just an added extra and most games can be completed without the need to have the HD rumble turned on.
Another simple method is lowering your volume or using headphones. The lower the volume, the less power consumption. Headphones are less of a power drain then the two speakers on the Switch. Turning on auto-sleep will also help if you have a habit of walking away from your Switch while it’s turned on.
Play less intensive games
More intensive games like Breath of the Wild with its massive open world will drain your Switch’s battery much faster than others. In Zelda BOTW you can expect around 3 hours of playtime whereas something a little less intensive on the console will have you seeing up to 6 hours of gameplay.
Disable Wi-Fi / Flight mode
Disabling Wi-Fi or putting your Switch into flight mode is a sure-fire way to increase your battery life. With flight mode on the console will not keep searching for Wi-Fi hotspots, which will help to save some precious battery life. Just bear in mind that you will not be able to pair additional controllers while in flight mode. You will have to make do with the Joy-cons attached in handheld mode.
I would also recommend turning on the battery % display. This doesn’t make the battery last any longer, however, it is handy to keep an eye on how much power you have left.
Keep a power bank to hand
Keep a power bank handy! Power banks have progressed to the point where they can charge your device multiple times over they are also getting a lot more compact and can easily slip into a bag or even your pocket. The power bank I recommend is the Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB-C as this can fully charge a Nintendo Switch twice potentially giving you an additional 12 hours of gameplay. That’s just slightly over 42 days in Stardew Valley!
Keep a spare charger with you
There are so many times I wish I brought my AC charger with me, it’s a little bulky but better than not being able to play your console on a 6-hour train journey. Plug sockets can be found in various places these days, including trains, coffee shops and even libraries. You could always use one of these outlets to slyly charge your power bank and have extra juice on the go. One of the great things about playing with the AC adapter plugged in is the console still charges quicker then the battery drains, even when playing an intensive game like Zelda BOTW. If you would like a spare AC adapter for your bag you can pick one up from Amazon.
Remove your Joy-Cons
The Switch doesn’t usually charge your Joy-cons while attached to the Nintendo Switch unless the Switch is getting some sort of power source (AC, Power Bank etc.), However, when the Joy-Cons are completely depleted they will begin to charge from your Nintendo Switch wasting precious battery life. If you happen to have a Pro Controller in your bag, consider switching to that in tabletop mode instead.
Install a new battery
This may seem a little extreme, however, all batteries eventually die and sometimes the best way is to start out fresh with a new battery. Over time, you may notice your Switch’s battery just doesn’t last as long as it used to.
Modern Lithium-ion batteries usually hold around 80% of their capacity after 500 charging cycles. Unfortunately, after each charge, your battery will degrade quicker. This happens because the electrolytes in the battery begin to degrade. Each charge then becomes more difficult, meaning that the battery is damaged further because it becomes harder for the electrons to be stored. The degraded electrolytes require more power to fully charge and thus damage themselves further.
Luckily, modern Li-ion batteries are much more efficient than older ones and do automatically stop charging once full. You can feel free to leave you Nintendo Switch connected to the AC adapter or dock with no worries.
You can pick up aftermarket replacement batteries for the Nintendo Switch which will restore the number of charge cycles you have and improve your battery life. Hopefully, in the future, we will see other options with a higher capacity which would mean more battery life.
Installing a replacement battery is relatively user-friendly, you will need a Tri-wing screwdriver to get the housing off the switch, inside you will use a Philips head screwdriver to remove the SD card reader and remove the back metallic plate. Afterwards, you will have access to the battery which is glued down. Disconnect the battery’s ribbon and then you can either use a solvent to dissolve the glue or simply pry up carefully using a spudger. Let me know if you would like me to write a full guide below.