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Nintendo 3DS: Common problems and how to fix them

The 3DS is one of the best consoles around, with a great library built up after almost six years in circulation, but the system has also run into its fair of technical hiccups over the years. There’s nothing worse than pulling out your system only to find it doesn’t work as expected, particularly when you aren’t sure how to fix a problem.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of known technical issues 3DS owners have been dealing with, along with some steps you can take to fix or prevent them. Some of these only apply to a particular version of the system — the original 3DS’ design is substantially different than the New 3DS XL, for instance — while others are issues that occur across the entire 3DS family.

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Phone: 1-800-255-3700

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Your system is freezing or won’t turn off

Nintendo 3DS XL hands on 16

Just like mobile phones and computers, the Nintendo 3DS can occasionally lock up completely. In that state, it will not register the buttons you’re pressing, including the power button. Luckily, there is a relatively simple fix for this should you have it occur.

Solution

  • Hold down the system’s power button for ten seconds for a hard reset, which will shut the console down. You can then turn it back on as normal.
  • Should you notice the console starting to freeze more often, Nintendo recommends updating to the latest system software. To do this, go to “system settings” and then select the “other settings” option. Continue tapping the right arrow to scroll through the pages until you encounter “system update,” answer “ok” or “I agree” to all questions, and plug in your 3DS charger to assure that the console doesn’t lose battery power.
  • If you are still encountering problems after updating the system, the problem could be with the game you’re playing. Check the eShop for any new updates and try using the Nintendo 3DS Download Repair Tool on the game in question. It can be found in the eShop under “history” and “redownloadable software.” Follow the on-screen instructions to repair the installed software. This will not erase any saved data you have on the 3DS.
  • But if none of these solutions work, the problem may be hardware-related. Go through Nintendo’s online repair service and have them examine your 3DS and SD card.
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