Nintendo Switch Blue Screen of Death

Nintendo Switch Blue Screen of Death

Alisha C and 8 contributors
Last updated on

Imagine this. You just got home, ready to sink a bunch of hours into the latest game you picked up for your Nintendo Switch. You pull it out of your bag and turn it on, only to be met with a blaring blue screen. Well, all is not lost. Here are some things you can try to get back to your insatiable drive to help plumbers rescue princesses.

Before undertaking any of the more time-consuming solutions below, these are a few fundamentals to give a try.

  • Perform a hard power reset. Press and hold the Power button on the console for 30 seconds. Then press again to initiate a power-up sequence.
  • If the issue is intermittent, try a software update. The software update setting can be found under System Settings > System > System Update.
  • Disconnect any accessories. In rare cases, third-party chargers, controllers, or other connected peripherals can cause display issues.

Causes

1

Internal storage on the Switch is at a premium. Most models only have 32 GB of available storage, so it doesn’t take much to fill your console. Like any other electronic device, low storage can cause a host of issues.

  • See if your Switch will launch into Maintenance Mode. To enter Maintenance Mode:
    1. Ensure your Switch is powered off.
    2. Press and hold the volume up and volume down buttons.
    3. Continue to hold them and press the power button to power the unit on. Keep pressing until you see the Maintenance Mode Menu appear.
  • If you can get into this mode, select the "Initialize Console Without Deleting Save Data" option so you can be sure the hundreds of hours you invested in Animal Crossing don't disappear.
2

Any software which contains errors can produce unexpected behavior. It is possible there is some corruption in the Switch's operating system that is causing graphic irregularities.

  • Use Maintenance Mode to do a software update. Use the above method to put your Switch is Maintenance Mode.
  • Instead of Initializing the console, try Software Update first.
  • If your software is up to date already, then try reinitializing the Switch. Use the keep your data option first, you can attempt to fully reinitialize if this doesn't resolve the issue.
3

When a screen is subject to drop or impact, it doesn't always produce an easily identifiable web of cracked glass. Even if you cannot see damage on the screen, the display itself may still be at fault.

  • Dock the Switch and see if the image quality it's outputting is normal. If so, this is a good indicator that the screen is at fault and will need to be replaced.
  • If you undertake a display replacement, be sure to use the correct parts for your model. The original Switch, Switch Lite, and Switch OLED all use different display parts.
  • Adhesives are used in this repair so make sure to pick up some adhesive tape to replace it after removal.
4

The sad fact is that this is most commonly caused by an issue with the CPU (or APU depending on who you ask). The Switch CPU does not make use of some industry techniques for additional reinforcement so heavy drop can cause solder joints under the CPU to break.

Block Image

MacBook CPU with Corner Bonding

Block Image

Nintendo Switch CPU

  • Check your motherboard for signs of bend, which commonly accompany this issue. Similar issues with the RAM can also cause a Blue Screen,
  • Use the motherboard replacement guide to access the motherboard if you need help with disassembly.
  • This can be repaired, but requires knowledge of soldering board mount components, and CPU rework is especially difficult due to the size of the chip, as well as the high density of and number of connections to the motherboard.
    • You may be able to find an independent repair shop that's more capable of performing the repair. Just make sure they are proficient in microsoldering.
  • Board replacement is also an option if CPU rework is not something you can do yourself, or you cannot find anyone with the skills to do it for you.

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