How to Fix It When Nintendo Switch Won’t Read SD Card

There are a variety of ways you can fix your Nintendo Switch not reading your MicroSD card. Some of the common methods include checking your card for compatibility, restarting your Switch, formatting the SD card again, or updating your system.

I’m Caleb, and I have plenty of hands-on experience with SD cards myself, as a photographer. I’ve also used SD cards with other devices, such as Android phones, so I’m familiar with some of the problems that can come up with them.

In this article, I’ll explain what to do when your Switch doesn’t read your SD card, and the ways you can resolve this problem. If you just want to get back to gaming as soon as possible, read ahead for the recommended steps.

How to Fix It When Nintendo Switch Won’t Read SD Card

There are multiple reasons why your Switch might not read a MicroSD card, so it’s important to try multiple solutions if one doesn’t work. I’ve listed the reasons that are the most common, as well as what you can do to fix these problems.

1. Make Sure the SD Card is Compatible

As obvious as it sounds, the MicroSD card has to be compatible with the Switch for it to work. Because of the size of the slot, you specifically need a MicroSD card, not a MiniSD card or a full-sized SD card.

According to the Nintendo website, the Switch is compatible with the following card types:

  • MicroSD (up to 2 GB)
  • MicroSDHC (4 GB – 32 GB)
  • MicroSDXC (64 GB – 2 TB)

If possible, you should also aim for an SD card with a transfer speed of 60 to 95MB/s. This is pretty important for keeping up with the performance demands of the Switch and avoiding issues.

2. Reboot Your Switch

If you know that your MicroSD card is compatible, but it still doesn’t work, you can move on to rebooting your console.

The standard reboot method is to hold the power button down for three seconds and select the Power Off option when it becomes available, before starting it again.

In the event that your Switch isn’t responding, there’s also a force reboot option. 

Hold down the power button for up to 15 seconds to perform a force reboot, but be aware that forced reboots can have rare unintended consequences, like corrupting your saved data or OS. In the event of the latter problem, you’ll have to send the console in for repair.

3. Format the MicroSD Card

Sometimes, you might have to format your MicroSD card again before using it. Fortunately, this is a pretty easy process.

Head to the System Settings page from the home menu and then find the Formatting options under the System category. From there, select Format SD Card and continue past the warning.

Just as the warning says, formatting the card will delete all the data on it. So, if you have something you want to save, make sure you move that data elsewhere before formatting.

Related: 5 Ways to Fix SD Card Won’t Format Error on Windows

4. Update Your Switch

It’s also possible that the problem is on the software side. If your Switch is running an out-of-date version, it might have trouble recognizing the SD card you’re using.

To update the switch, go to the System Settings and the System category, just like in the last method. This time, you’ll have to press the System Update button towards the top of the category.

You don’t have to do anything else. Your Switch will check to see if there’s an available update, and if there is, it will automatically begin the download and carry out the installation.

5. Try Using a Different MicroSD Card

If you have more than one MicroSD card on hand, you should try to use a different one with your Switch and observe whether the second card is recognized or not.

Should the second card work just fine, you’ll know that the problem is with the first one, and not with your Switch itself.

6. Check the MicroSD Card Slot

Finally, if no other solution works, it’s worth checking the physical SD card slot for dirt or grime. 

If you do find built-up dirt around this area, Nintendo recommends cleaning it away with a soft cloth, like the microfiber ones used to clean glasses.

If You Can’t Resolve the Problem Yourself

While uncommon, it’s possible that your problem will persist even after trying all of these solutions. If that’s the case, you may have to send the console back to Nintendo for repairs.

You can find the process for this on the Nintendo website, and it involves logging into your Nintendo account and communicating with someone on Nintendo’s side about the problem. 

If repairs are necessary, you’ll follow the rest of the steps and send the console to Nintendo themselves to fix.


Here are some of the frequently asked questions about fixing SD card problems with the Switch.

Which SD Cards Work With the Switch?

Because of the SD card slot size, the Switch is only compatible with MicroSD cards, not full-sized or miniSD cards. It’s also compatible with MicroSDHC and MicroSDXC cards, which are the same size but offer more storage space.

How Do I Fix a Corrupted Switch SD Card?

If your MicroSD card isn’t working because it’s corrupted, you’ll probably have to fix the issue by formatting it in the Formatting Options menu under System Settings.

Will Any MicroSD Card Work With Switch?

No, you should look for a MicroSD card with a transfer speed of 60-95MB/s. Otherwise, your SD card might not be able to keep up with the performance demands of the system.


In short, there are multiple solutions to fix your Nintendo Switch failing to read an SD card. You may have to experiment and try more than one solution, like rebooting your Switch and trying a system update if that doesn’t work.

If all else fails, you can send the console back to Nintendo to fix the problem. Have any of these solutions helped you? Let us know in the comments!

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