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Why Does the Nintendo Switch Die So Fast & How to Fix It

If you’re having issues with your Nintendo Switch dying when it’s not docked, you might be wondering if that’s just something you have to deal with or if there’s a fix for such a short battery life. There are many reasons worth exploring when you feel like you’re not getting the most out of your Switch battery.

If your Nintendo Switch battery drains quickly, potential reasons include having an older model, playing high-powered games without optimizing your settings, and an inaccurate battery indicator. A Switch should maintain good charge for at least 800 charge cycles. 

To figure out exactly why your battery is dying so quickly and if it’s a fixable issue, you should work through each of these reasons as well as educate yourself on how long the battery should last. That way, you’ll be able to see if there’s an actual problem with your console or if you’ve set your expectations too high for the games you’re playing and the settings you use. 

How Long Should Nintendo Switch Battery Last?

Hybrid video game console with switch detachable controllers on both sides

The classic Nintendo Switch (which you can buy on Amazon) can last anywhere between four to seven hours. However, if you’re playing a game that demands a lot or have your brightness set very high, this can decrease to as little as two and a half hours. 

The older model, which was launched in 2017, is a different story. It can only last an absolute maximum of anywhere between two and a half to six and a half hours. If you’re struggling with battery life seeming low, regardless of your settings and which game you’re playing, check the serial number of your Switch. If it begins with XAW, it’s an older model. 

It’s important to bear in mind that Nintendo has stated that the Switch’s battery life will also decrease after 800 charge cycles. If you’ve had your Switch for quite a while and have surpassed this number, you can expect the battery life to be lower. 

And note that the battery is fundamentally related to charging. At this point, you may want to know about a couple related resources we have on what to do if the Nintendo Switch charges too slowly, how long the Switch should take to charge fully, of from 0%/flat dead up to 1% to turn back on. And note you should be doing your charging with USB-C. And don’t forget, you can have charging issues with individual Joy-Cons too!

Oh – and one of the things that can drain your battery is a dropped WiFi connection, and when the battery is fully dead, the Switch may seem like it won’t turn on at all. Lastly, if you’ve recently downloaded a bunch of games, that will each up your battery a bit quicker too.

How Do You Fix a Nintendo Switch That Is Draining the Battery?

Nintendo Switch video game console developed by Nintendo

If you’ve established that compared to the battery life you’d expect from a Switch, yours isn’t meeting those standards, then it’s time to try finding out what the issue is with your battery and deciding if it’s fixable.

First, recalibrate the battery indicator to ensure it’s accurate. If you’ve noticed that your battery drops quickly, but you’ve never actually seen the Switch dying, it could be that the indicator is simply inaccurate.

You can investigate this by connecting an AC adapter (On Amazon) to your console and leaving it until it’s fully charged. If you’ve lost the original adapter, or suspect your Switch’s AC adapter is broken, have a look at our related post on that.

Once it’s at 100%, leave it alone for another hour with the adapter still connected. Afterward, disconnect it and leave the Switch on the home menu for a few hours while the battery depletes as much as possible. Then power the console off.

You’ll have to repeat these steps a few times, but the indicator will gradually improve as you do.

If it’s not the indicator that’s the problem, turn your brightness down as much as possible when playing. High brightness is something that can kill any device fast, from game consoles to phones, and you might be surprised at the difference if you play the brightness lowered.

This is especially important when playing large, open-world games.

If all else fails, you may need to take your Switch in for repair or send it away to Nintendo. Nintendo has a paid-for battery replacement service, so if your battery is just well and truly on its way out, they can give you a brand new one. Then your battery life will be as good as new.

Alternative Solutions

If you don’t want to pay for a brand new battery but you’re really struggling with how quickly yours dies, then there are a few workaround solutions you can try. These won’t fix your battery, but they will allow you to play your Switch without worrying about it dying.

Play in Docked Mode

It ruins the convenience of the Switch working as a handheld device, but you can always play in docked mode. When the Switch screen is visible on your TV, it isn’t using the battery to power the game, and you’ll have unlimited time to play.

If you usually play from the comfort of your own home, this might be the best solution for now. 

Keep the AC Adapter Plugged in

Keeping the AC adapter plugged in is another workaround that might help you for now. If you’re sitting near an electrical outlet, simply plug it in and keep it that way. You can keep the battery at 100%, even when you’re playing very high-powered games, which is very helpful. If you run out of juice all the way, it may seem like the Switch’s power button isn’t working, but that’s usually a charge issue.

Use an External Battery Pack

If you’re often on the go when playing your Switch and these workarounds aren’t viable for that reason, consider purchasing an external battery pack (which you can get on Amazon), otherwise known as power banks. They contain enough power to keep your Switch charged as long as it’s plugged in, or you can use them to recharge the Switch when it dies.

You will have to make sure you keep the power bank itself charged, as they vary with how much power they can provide.

Generally, the larger and bulkier they are, the more power they provide, so you can use that guideline to decide which one is best for you when looking at the Amazon specifications.

Buy a New Nintendo Switch

Finally, if you’ve asserted that you have an old Switch and the battery is dying simply because it was made before Nintendo upgraded their battery life, the only other option is to buy one of the new versions.

If you don’t mind using a battery pack or adapter this may not be a big deal. But, if you’re constantly playing the Switch while traveling, it might be the more convenient option.

Oh – and if you’re thinking of picking up a Switch Lite, or maybe you already have one and you’re seeing the same issues, be sure to check out our dedicated guides on a Switch Lite that won’t charge, or which dies too quickly.