How to move your Switch files to a new microSD card on macOS

I finally bought a larger microSD card for my Nintendo Switch, which means I had to move my files (saves, albums, and downloads) from the old card to the new one. Since Nintendo doesn’t want to tell you how to do this if you’re on a Mac, I figured I’d outline it for you, without any scary Terminal commands to boot.

You’ll need your old and new microSD card, and a card reader, which is probably a dongle or adapter since you’re on a Mac.

  1. Take the old card from your Switch, insert it into your card reader, and copy the entire Nintendo folder to your Mac.
  2. Remove the old card, preferably by right-clicking on the card icon on your Desktop and choosing Eject.
  3. Insert your new card, and open the Disk Utility app.
  4. Choose the microSD card within the Disk Utility app and click Delete. You want to format the card in MS-DOS format, not any journal or extended format.
  5. Close Disk Utility, and copy the entire Nintendo folder to your new card. Don’t mess with anything else!
  6. Remove the card from your Mac and stick it into your Switch. The console will want to restart and stuff, probably, but after that you should be ready to go.

I’m not sure why Nintendo doesn’t want to outline this, but gladly talks about how to move files on a Windows system. Maybe it’s because it’s dangerous to format things since they’ll be gone forever, or maybe there are cases when the above won’t work? Anyway, this is one of the reasons to have a blog: To be able to share findings and solutions that should be readily available out there.

Should the above not work, for whatever reason (like not owning an SD card), remember that you can always move important stuff (like save data and album images) to you Switch’s internal memory. The games you bought on eShop can be re-downloaded for free, so that’s the alternative route. Just stick in your new card, format it with your Switch if needed (it’ll tell you), and download your games again. You might want to make sure everything’s there and working before you put your old card to other use.

Oh, and also, it’s a good idea to stick to one microSD card, not swapping them a lot. The bigger the better. If you run out of space, try archiving some games you don’t play very often.