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How To Turn Off Your Nintendo Switch Instead Of Putting It To Sleep

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Nintendo Switch is easily one of the fastest-selling consoles of its generation. And, as with all Nintendo consoles, it’s a great system in just about every regard. Whether that’s the massive array of first-class first-party and third-party titles. Or its ability to go fully portable or full-screen on the big screen at the drop of a hat — or, more precisely, at a drop in the dock. But not, necessarily, when it comes to turning the console off entirely.

Now, learning how to put a Nintendo Switch into Sleep mode is easy enough. That’s actually the default result of simply pressing the off-button. But, in a very un-Nintendo fashion, that also causes some potential for difficulties for some users. Namely, figuring out how to turn the Switch off, since that other option is the default, won’t be intuitive to everybody.

The fact that the Nintendo Switch only has a single way to actually turn it off doesn’t necessarily make matters easier. If anything, many users will find that to be counterintuitive.

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Fortunately, that’s exactly what this guide is here to discuss, whether you’re playing docked or in handheld mode. So let’s dive in.

How to turn off your Nintendo Switch

As noted above, using the software won’t be of any help at all here. The Nintendo Switch UI does, in fact, show a power button just below the row representing your games library. But that doesn’t actually power the Switch down. In fact, just as with the power button’s default, that simply puts the console into a power-saving sleep mode.

Similarly, users are free to press and hold the house-icon bearing home button on any controller, attached to the Switch or not, to pull up the power menu. But the only option there is, of course, to put the console to sleep. But if you look to turn the console off completely, extra steps and the hardware itself are required.

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  1. Along the top of the Nintendo Switch, Switch OLED, and Switch Lite, the company has placed a power button. For clarity, that’s next to the volume rockers. More directly, on the exact opposite side of the console to the 3.5mm audio jack and game card slot. As discussed already, a single tap on that will put the console to sleep. Instead, you will need to not just press, but to press and hold the button for several seconds until the power menu appears. This typically takes less than ten seconds.
  2. When the Power menu appears, the first option will put the console into “Sleep Mode” and the final option will “Close” the menu entirely. The second option will, instead, feature a “Power Options” label. Select “Power Options” either using the touch screen or a controller. In our example images, we’re utilizing the touchscreen. It’s worth noting that there’s no real advantage to that. Instead, it is really a matter of preference since either may be used
  3. After selecting “Power Options,” select the option labeled “Turn Off,” in the resulting menu. Note that turning the console off, unlike with Sleep mode, will actually close any and all open software. So if you’ve got a game running, it would be a good idea to ensure all progress is saved before selecting the option to power off your Nintendo Switch
  4. Your Nintendo Switch screen will turn off as your console shuts off. To turn your console back on, press the power button again. Rebooting from a power-off state does, however, take significantly longer than from a Sleep state
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Turning your Switch off using in docked mode still requires the power button

Now, the same steps will actually need to be followed to turn off the console, even if your Nintendo Switch is docked. And that’s because, as of this writing, Nintendo Switch is the only console for which there is presently no software-first way to accomplish the task. Instead, it’s entirely hardware-driven.

The primary caveat to that is, of course, that you’ll need to keep the Switch firmly seated in its dock to accomplish that. If your Switch leaves the dock during the process or otherwise becomes undocked after turning it off, prior to reseating, it will turn back on. Since the Switch will actually turn on automatically, by default, if docked while turned off.