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.

how to delete archive reinstall games nintendo switch 2018010910375200 57b4628d2267231d57e0fc1078c0596d

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

how to delete archive reinstall games nintendo switch 2018010910380100 57b4628d2267231d57e0fc1078c0596d

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

how to delete archive reinstall games nintendo switch 2018010910380700 57b4628d2267231d57e0fc1078c0596d

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.”

how to delete archive reinstall games nintendo switch 2018010910510000 57b4628d2267231d57e0fc1078c0596d

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.

how to delete archive reinstall games nintendo switch 2018010910382500 57b4628d2267231d57e0fc1078c0596d

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

how to delete archive reinstall games nintendo switch 7cjhz

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

how to delete archive reinstall games nintendo switch hdhkg

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

how to delete archive reinstall games nintendo switch ynnzu

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).

how to delete archive reinstall games nintendo switch 2018010910510400 57b4628d2267231d57e0fc1078c0596d

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

how to delete archive reinstall games nintendo switch 2018010910542700 57b4628d2267231d57e0fc1078c0596d

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.”

how to delete archive reinstall games nintendo switch 2018010911010000 57b4628d2267231d57e0fc1078c0596d

Step 2: Choose “Data Management.”

how to delete archive reinstall games nintendo switch 2018010911010600 57b4628d2267231d57e0fc1078c0596d

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

how to delete archive reinstall games nintendo switch 2018010911011000 57b4628d2267231d57e0fc1078c0596d

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

how to delete archive reinstall games nintendo switch 2018010911034200 57b4628d2267231d57e0fc1078c0596d

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.

how to delete archive reinstall games nintendo switch 2018010911042100 57b4628d2267231d57e0fc1078c0596d

Turn your Raspberry Pi into a Steam streaming hub with Valve’s Steam Link app

Valve's Steam Link app is now fully supported by Raspberry PI hardware, meaning that just about anyone with a few dollars to spare can build their own Steam streaming box in a matter of minutes.

Grabbing a Switch for the holidays? Here's what you need to know to play online

If you want to play online multiplayer on Switch, you'll need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Here's what you need to know about Nintendo Switch Online, from price to features to the awesome library of NES games.

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.

How to delete and reinstall games on your Xbox One

Removing and reinstalling games on the Xbox One's hard drive isn't difficult, but it's a process that not everyone is familiar with. Thankfully, our guide will run you through each step so you'll know precisely what to do.

Nintendo pulls the plug on making more SNES Classic, NES Classic systems

Nintendo extended production of the NES Classic and SNES Classic into 2018, but once the current supply of consoles is gone, the company won't be making more. Instead, you'll have to use Nintendo Switch Online.

Fancy ‘Kingdom Hearts III’ PlayStation 4 Pro launches alongside game in January

A limited edition PlayStation 4 Pro bundle for Kingdom Hearts III will launch alongside the game in January. The system included has a special design on the side, as does the controller.

Want to share your Xbox One games? Here's how to do it

Sharing games on modern consoles is possible, but it takes a few steps. Here's how to start sharing games on your Xbox One console, so friends and family can easily access your library.

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.

‘Fortnite’ removes the Infinity Blade weapon after player backlash

Following player backlash over the Infinity Blade weapon's inclusion in Fortnite's battle royale mode, Epic Games decided to remove the weapon from the game completely. It was not limited to a special mode.

Want every suit in 'Marvel's Spider-Man' for PS4? Here's how to get them all

Marvel's Spider-Man features a whopping 33 different suits for Peter Parker to wear as he swings across New York City knocking out baddies. Here are all the suits and how to unlock them.

Everything about 'Red Dead Online', including its new microtransaction store

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.

HDR monitors are beginning to have an impact. Here are the best you can buy

HDR isn't the most common of PC monitor features and is often charged at a premium, but the list of available options is growing. These are the best HDR monitors you can buy right now.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.