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How To Improve the Battery Life on the Nintendo Switch

Want to improve the battery life on the Nintendo Switch? Get a little longer play time out of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? I have had a little time with the Switch and have a few tips that could help get a slightly longer playtime out of the console.

The Nintendo Switch is finally here and is selling faster than many of us anticipated. The combination of traditional gaming console and handheld is unique at the moment and offers a lot of freedom in how we play our games. However, any portable device has to depend on batteries to perform which is the Achilles heel of any mobile device. While console technology marches on, battery technology is always a couple steps behind.

The Nintendo Switch is the current most powerful handheld around but it takes a lot of energy to deliver that power. According to Nintendo, the Switch can last up to two and a half hours playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at maximum brightness. Surely we can do better than that?

Current issue with battery readings

At the time of writing, the Nintendo Switch has an issue where it does not report the correct amount of battery. Sometimes it says it has only 1% left, when it fact it has much more. The Nintendo forums [1] have a number of posts complaining about this.

There is also another issue where the battery is being reported as being drained even when turned completely off. Whether this is related to incorrect charge reporting or not isn’t yet clear. Watch your battery indicator carefully just in case it is one of the ones not reporting its charge state correctly.

How to improve the battery life on the Nintendo Switch2

Turn down that brightness

The 720p screen in handheld mode is very detailed, bright and has very vibrant colors. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild pushes the Nvidia Tegra X1 graphics chip to the limit and powering both the screen and the GPU drains battery fast. One way to mitigate that is to turn down brightness.

Here we can use the same principles as saving battery on a cellphone or tablet. We turn down the brightness to stretch that battery life out a little. It is a matter of trial and error to find the brightness level that gives you the experience you want but also delivers slightly longer battery life.

  1. Navigate to System Settings from the Home screen of your Switch.
  2. Select Screen Brightness and Auto-Brightness Adjustment.
  3. Use the slider to adjust the brightness.
  4. Test and adjust until you find a level you are comfortable with.

This will require a little tweaking and may need adjusting per game. You will find a comfortable level at some point that should hopefully get you a little more battery life.

Airplane Mode

Again, just like a smartphone, the Nintendo Switch has Airplane Mode. This mode turns off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC which all drain power. You can of course turn all these settings off individually but where’s the fun in that?

  1. Navigate to System Settings from the Home screen of your Switch.
  2. Select Airplane Mode from the left menu.
  3. Toggle it on
  4. Scroll down and modify Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC

I don’t exactly know how much extra battery life you will get from this but disabling Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on their own should save quite a lot. Until the battery indicator issue is addressed, it’s hard to tell.

You will obviously need to tweak these settings if you want to play online or use the Joy-Con controllers.

How to improve the battery life on the Nintendo Switch3

Use a battery booster

Battery boosters are nothing new. We have used them on our smartphones for years. With the USB-C port on the Switch, you can use a booster to help keep it alive for much longer than the battery alone.

Viable options include the Anker Powercore 10,000 [2] which comes in at only $23.99 plus shipping. Rated at 10,000mAh, it can deliver an extra five hours of gameplay at maximum brightness even when playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Lower brightness and turn on Airplane Mode and it will likely provide even more.

There are of course other brands of portable chargers on the market such as Lumsing Glory P2 Plus 15,000 and RAVPower 26,800 but these are larger and heavier than the Anker. Just put ‘portable charger’ into Google or Amazon and you will see lots of options. Just make sure they can work with USB.

Other websites have suggested playing lower intensive games. That kind of defeats the object. With Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild being the main reason to buy a Nintendo Switch, it doesn’t make sense to avoid playing it so as not to drain the battery!

Got any other battery saving tips for the Nintendo Switch? Tell us about them below if you do!