How to delete and reinstall games on the Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is a huge hit thanks in large part to its stellar, constantly growing selection of games. As your library grows, storage space will become an issue — especially with only 32GB of onboard storage. You’ll almost certainly need a microSD card down the road (if not already), but 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 the 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’s icon. If your library is cluttered and you don’t anticipate playing that game again, this method is for you.

Nintendo Switch Select All Software

Step 1: Tap or select the All Software icon located on the right end of the game grid, as shown above. However, if you know the game you want to delete and have played it recently, you can just select it on the home screen.

Step 2: With a game now selected, tap or press the physical Options (+) button, then tap or select Manage Software (using the A button) listed on the pop-up screen.

Step 3: Scroll down and choose Delete Software. To confirm, tap or select Delete when prompted.

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. While this clutters your library, we recommend archiving, rather than deleting, given how the Switch buries every purchased digital game deep into your Nintendo account.

Step 1: Tap or select the All Software icon located on the right end of the game grid, as shown above. However, if you know the game you want to delete and have played it recently, you can just select it on the home screen.

Step 2: With a game now selected, tap or press the physical Options (+) button, then tap or select Manage Software listed on the pop-up screen.

Step 3: Choose Archive Software. To confirm, tap or select Archive when prompted.

Reinstalling deleted games

Your entire digital game library is not listed on the console like it is on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Steam. To download games again, you’ll have to dig for them in your profile on the Nintendo eShop.

Step 1: Tap or select the Nintendo eShop icon.

Step 2: Tap or select your account avatar located in the top-right corner.

Nintendo Switch Access Downloads

Step 3: Scroll down and tap or select Redownload to view your library of games not currently installed on the console.

Nintendo Switch Redownload

Step 4: Tap or select the Cloud icon to the right of the game you want to install.

Nintendo Switch Install From Cloud

Unarchiving games

If you’ve already archived a game, you may need to complete this process to restore it.

Step 1: Locate the ‘All Software’ tap on the home screen or highlight the selected game. Once the game starts to download, a cloud symbol will appear.

Step 2: The game will begin downloading to your Switch after you tap or select it. If you need to confirm your selection, press the download button once more.

Keeping track of storage

Some games are major storage hogs, and you’ll need to keep track of which ones take the most space. Use the following steps to keep track of storage.

Step 1: Tap or select System Settings.

Step 2: On the left-hand side of the screen, select the Data Management option.

Step 3: Tap or select Manage Software. Every game that you have installed on your Switch device is listed here. The list is organized by ascending order from which game takes up the most to least space.

Step 4: From here, you can manage if you want to delete it or archive it permanently.

You can archive more than one game at a time if you select Quick Archive in Data Management. To see the most recent playdate, hover over each game. The date can help you determine which games you should delete.

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