At the moment, early Nintendo Switch adopters are more than likely engrossed in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — already one of the most critically acclaimed single-player adventures of all time — but sooner or later you’ll want to see what your friends are up to (probably playing Zelda). As of now, there are a few ways to connect with friends on Switch, and more methods on the horizon.
Keep in mind that the Switch caps your friend list at 300 people.
Although Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime promised that they wouldn’t be part of the Switch’s online infrastructure, alas, the Switch’s launch update implemented a modified version of the “Friend Code” system for connecting account. Used on the Wii and, most recently, the 3DS family of systems, a friend code is a twelve digit password you can send to friends outside of the console, which they can then punch in to send you a friend request. Unfortunately, as of now, you’ll need to exchange friend codes via text, social media, or in person to connect with friends with this method.
Find your code
On the home page, click on your account icon in the upper left hand corner, represented in the image below as “Steve’s Page.”
Your friend code is available in two places: on the landing menu (Profile), and under the Add Friend menu. This is the code you should send your friends so that they can find you.
Adding a friend
On the user page, click Search with Friend Code and type a user’s 12-digit code to send a Switch friend request.
If entered properly, your friend’s nickname and user icon will pop up, and you can confirm that you want to send the request.
Back at the Add Friend menu, you can check on your pending requests under Sent Friend Requests.
Unlike previous friend code systems, the user on the receiving end of the request does not need to know the sender’s friend code to become friends. Once accepted, the user will show up in your Friend List on the user page.
Accepting a friend request
When someone sends you a friend request, a notification dot will show up next to the Add Friend section of the user page. The Friend Requests inbox at the top of the menu lets you know that someone has added you.
Click Friend Requests to see the requesting user’s icon and nickname. From here, you can either accept, reject, or block the user.
Adding friends locally
If you’re having a few friends over for a LAN party, you won’t have to bother with friend codes to add new pals.
You can search for nearby Switch players under Search for Local Users on the Add Friends menu of the user page. In order to find one another, you each have to click the same symbol. Our best guess is that this is a parental control feature, albeit not an incredibly sophisticated one.
After agreeing on a symbol, find the user’s nickname and icon and send a request.
Note that adding friends locally doesn’t go into effect until both users have logged onto the online service.
Adding friends you’ve played with
Out of the gate, the Switch seemingly lets you add users that you’ve played with before. After playing a multiplayer game, head over to the Add Friends section on the user page. Here, click on Search for Users You Played With. However, this option seems to only work for friends you played with over local wireless at this time. We’ve played numerous online races in Fast RMX, but none of the users we played with have shown up here.
Adding friends through Nintendo apps
Friends from official Nintendo apps linked to your Nintendo account — Super Mario Run, Miitomo, Fire Emblem Heroes — will show up under Suggested Friends in the Add Friends menu of the user page. From here, you can skip the friend code process by simply clicking on a user and sending a request.
Share your experiences on social media
While this doesn’t technically net you more friends, you could end up exchanging friend codes by sharing images over social media. The Switch happens to have a rather nice share feature that gives you the ability to add image captions and create memes to upload to Facebook and Twitter.
On the user page, click on User Settings and scroll down to Posting to Social Media to link your Switch to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Once linked, go to the home page and select Album.
Unfortunately, the Switch doesn’t allow screen captures inside the album, but all you have to do is select an image, add a caption if you’d like, and click Post to blast it across social media.
If you’re particularly fond of a certain friend, you can elevate them to Best Friend status. Navigate to your friend list and choose one of your favorite pals. Click the Best Friends option.
That user now has a star in the upper left hand corner of their icon. Sadly, your bestie won’t be notified of their newfound importance in your life, as marking best friends is a one-way street. The star could come in handy if you have a plethora of friends with the same avatar, though.
If you no longer want to be friends with a certain user, you can unfriend them. You can also take it a step further by blocking the user, which prohibits them from adding you again.
Head over to your Friend List and select the friend that you want to remove.
Either pick Remove Friend or Block. If you change your mind about blocking an old friend later on, you have to go into User Settings and choose Manage Blocked-User List to open the door for becoming friends again.
In the future…
As mentioned above, Nintendo has said that more streamlined methods for adding friends are in the works. At some point, you may be able to add friends via Nintendo Network IDs — user-picked names for 3DS and Wii U that are much easier to remember and share than 12-digit friend codes — and through social networks you can link to your Nintendo account. According to Nintendo, certain titles will also have in-game friend request systems to make it easier to connect with those playing the same game.
There’s also the curious matter of User IDs, a separate username attached to your Nintendo account that became available a few weeks prior to launch. At first, it seemed that User IDs would replace NNIDs, but considering that Nintendo has plans for NNIDs in the future, it’s unclear if the recently added usernames will be used to add friends on Switch.