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How to turn off a Nintendo Switch controller

The Nintendo Switch has a ton of different controller options, making it one of the most versatile consoles ever created. The standard Joy-Con controllers can be placed in the Joy-Con grip, and you can use a Pro Controller or third-party alternatives to play your games. You can even hook up a GameCube controller as long as you have an adapter.


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What You Need

  • Nintendo Switch

With all of those options, however, comes the possibility of you accidentally leaving several controllers turned on and needlessly wasting batteries. Fear not, however, as the solution is quite simple. Here is how to turn off a Nintendo Switch controller.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to turn off a Nintendo Switch controller before a game

If you want to swap controllers on the Nintendo Switch, you can turn your current controller off before entering the game.

Step 1: Go to the main menu of the Switch by pressing the home button on your controller, and select the Joy-Con icon at the bottom of the screen.

Step 2: On the next screen, select the Change Grip/Order option on the right, and you’ll be prompted to press the L and R buttons on the controllers you want to use. What this will also do is turn off every controller currently connected to the system. Not only is this the perfect way to turn off a controller you don’t want to use, but it can also let you reconfigure the one you’re using already.

Step 3: Want to turn a Joy-Con sideways instead of playing with it vertically? Just press the L and R buttons on the side of it when this screen is up to do so.

nintendo switch games you should play docked review photos pdx 574
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How to turn off a Nintendo Switch controller by putting the Switch to sleep

As with most other game consoles, you can put the Nintendo Switch to sleep to also shut off any controller currently connected to it.

Step 1: Either tap the Power button located on the top of the Switch itself, or select the Power icon at the bottom of the main menu and confirm your selection.

Step 2: Pressing the Home button on any of your controllers will wake the console back up, and that controller will be the only one still connected.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to turn off a Nintendo Switch controller using system settings

If you are giving a controller away to someone else, you will want to disconnect that controller from your own system first — this will stop it from turning your console on when they attempt to wake up their own Switch.

Step 1: Go to the System settings, which you can reach by selecting the Gear icon at the bottom of the home screen.

Step 2: Scroll down the menu on the left until you spot Controllers and Sensors.

Step 3: Select the Disconnect Controllers option while your system is in handheld mode. Several instructions will appear on the screen that you can follow directly. By doing so, you’ll remove the devices from your console’s memory. Be sure not to try this while the device is in docked mode— the process won’t work. You’ll receive an error message instead.

How to charge Nintendo Switch controllers

If you can’t turn on your Switch controller, or it keeps shutting down randomly, you likely simply have a dead battery. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can quickly charge your Switch controllers. And it doesn’t even have to disrupt your gameplay -- you can charge while playing.

You can use any USB-C cable and charger to charge up your Nintendo Switch Pro controllers. On top of that, you could simply connect the controllers straight into the Switch dock. Or you could always slide the Joy-Con controllers directly into the sides of the console to recharge. It’s up to you whether you’d prefer to charge the device by its USB-C port or with a docking station.

Or, you could also always buy two separate docking stations for your Switch and Joy-Con controllers instead.

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Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
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