How to delete and reinstall games on the Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch review
Nate Barrett/Digital Trends

The Nintendo Switch was a runaway success in 2017, thanks in large part to its stellar, constantly growing selection of games. As your game library grows with new independent titles or digital versions of AAA first-party titles like Super Mario Odyssey or The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, storage space will become an issue. With 32GB of onboard memory, you’ll almost certainly need a microSD card down the line (if not already). Even then, there may come a time when you just can’t keep your whole digital collection on your Switch at once.

Luckily, the Switch allows you to delete and reinstall games you’ve purchased on your Nintendo account whenever you want, with no impact on your games’ save data. Managing your Switch library is incredibly easy: Here’s how to delete, archive, and reinstall Nintendo Switch games.

Deleting games and apps

Deleting software completely removes the game data from your Switch, along with the game icon. If your game library is cluttered and you don’t anticipate wanting to play that game again, this method is for you.

Step 1: On the Switch home screen, select the “all software” icon on the far right of the game selection bar. If you know the game you want to delete, and have played it recently, you can also select it directly on the home screen.

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Step 2: Once you have selected a game. Press the options (+) button, then click “Manage Software.”

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Step 3: Choose “Delete Software” and confirm your selection.

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Archiving games (recommended)

The Switch has a secondary delete option called “archiving,” which deletes a game’s data, but leaves its icon in your library. Though it may leave your game library cluttered, we recommend archiving games, rather than deleting them, given the Switch’s relatively hidden library of purchased games not on your console.

Step 1: Repeat steps one and two above.

Step 2: Choose “Archive Software.”

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Reinstalling deleted games

The Switch does not include an extended list of purchased games in its library, as you’d find on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Steam. To download games again, you’ll have to find them in the Switch eShop.

Step 1: Go into the eShop.

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Step 2: Navigate to your avatar in the upper-right-hand corner in the eShop.

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Step 3: Scroll to “Redownload” to check out the list of deleted games eligible for reinstallation.

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Step 4: Simply press A on the game to start the download process.

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Unarchiving games

If you archived a game, you’ll still have to reinstall it, but the process is more streamlined.

Step 1: On your home screen or in “All Software,” hover over the archived game (archived games have a cloud download symbol above their icons).

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Step 2: Press A twice to download. That’s it.

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Keeping tracking of your Switch’s storage

If you want to see which games are the biggest storage culprits before deleting or archiving, follow these steps.

Step 1: Go into “System Settings.”

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Step 2: Choose “Data Management.”

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Step 3: Click “Manage Software.” Software will be listed by file size.

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Step 4: Select a game and choose whether you’d like to delete or archive it.

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Alternatively, you can choose “Quick Archive” in “Data Management” to archive multiple titles at once. This menu will also tell you the last time you played each game to give you a better idea of which games you should think about removing from your Switch.

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