Switch Not Reading Game Card? 10 Proven Fixes to Get You Gaming Again (2023 Updated)

Is your Nintendo Switch giving you errors when trying to read game cards? Don’t worry – with a few simple troubleshooting steps, you can get your Switch reading game cards again. This article will walk you through the common issues and solutions to get your Switch back up and running. Here’s how to fix Switch not reading Game card:

Clean the Game Card and Switch Game Card Slot

One of the most common reasons for the Switch not reading game cards is a dirty game card or dirty contacts in the Switch game card slot itself. Here’s how to clean them:

Clean the Game Card and Switch Game Card Slot
  1. Remove the game card from the Switch.
  2. Gently clean the gold contacts on the game card with a dry cloth or swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol.
  3. Dip a clean swab in isopropyl alcohol and insert it into the Switch game card slot. Move it around to clean the interior contacts.
  4. Allow any lingering alcohol to fully evaporate before reinserting the game card.

Cleaning the contacts often fixes game card reading issues. Reinsert the game card and see if the problem is resolved.

Update Your Switch Firmware

An outdated system firmware version can also cause problems reading game cards. Follow these steps:

  1. Go to System Settings.
  2. Navigate to System -> System Update.
  3. Install any available Switch firmware updates.
  4. After updating, try your game card again.

Updating to the latest firmware improves compatibility and fixes bugs that may interfere with reading game cards.

Reset the Cache

Sometimes a corrupted cache on the Switch can prevent games from loading properly. Resetting it is easy:

Reset the Cache
  1. Go to System Settings.
  2. Choose System -> Formatting Options -> Reset Cache.
  3. Select your user profile.
  4. Choose Reset. This clears the cache for that user.

Resetting the cache can clear out bugs, glitches or corrupt data that might stop game cards from being read.

Try Other Game Cards

The issue could be isolated to one faulty game card. Try these steps:

  1. Test the game card in another Switch if possible. If it doesn’t work, the card itself is likely defective.
  2. Try other game cards in your Switch. If they work fine, then there is an issue with that one game card specifically.

This quick test can confirm whether or not the problem lies with a single game card or the Switch itself.

Reseat the Game Card

Sometimes simply reseating the game card makes proper contact:

Reseat the Game Card
  1. Remove the game card and reinsert it firmly into the slot.
  2. Try gently rocking it or reinserting at a slight angle.
  3. Power the Switch off and on while leaving the card inserted.

If the contacts didn’t make a solid connection the first time, reseating the card can often get it to read properly.

Check for Bent Pins in the Game Slot

Inspect inside the Switch game card slot for any bent or damaged pins. If pins are damaged or out of alignment, card contact will be intermittent or fail completely. Pin damage requires professional Switch repair.

Update Game Software

For issues with a particular game, check for a software update from the developer:

Update Game Software
  1. Highlight the game icon on the home screen.
  2. Press + or – to open game options.
  3. Select Software Update, then Via the Internet to update.

Game-specific patches may resolve card reading problems for those titles. Apply any available updates.

Try a Different User Profile

Create a new user profile and test if game cards load correctly when playing under that profile. If they do, the original profile’s saved data may be corrupted and preventing games from loading properly.

Power Cycle the Console

As a last resort, completely power cycle the Switch:

  1. Power off the console.
  2. Unplug the AC power adapter.
  3. Press and hold the power button for 30 seconds to discharge residual power.
  4. Plug the AC adapter back in and power on the Switch.

Power cycling forces a full reboot which can clear any glitches stopping game cards being read.

When to Send Your Switch for Repair

If you still have problems after trying all troubleshooting steps, it’s likely a hardware issue with the Switch itself. Common causes include:

  • Faulty game card reader
  • Damaged reader pins
  • Bad reader ribbon cable connection

These require the Switch to be opened and repaired by a professional. Your options are either a local repair shop or Nintendo’s mail-in repair service. Contact Nintendo Support to start a mail-in repair ticket.

Get Back to Gaming

With a bit of cleaning and troubleshooting, you can get your Nintendo Switch back to smoothly reading game cards. Start with quick fixes like cleaning and resetting the console. If issues persist, don’t hesitate to send it in for professional repair. Follow the steps in this guide and you’ll be all set for many more hours of entertainment.


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