For complete guides to homebrew and custom firmware for other devices, check out Hacks.Guide.
Thoroughly read all of the introductory pages (including this one!) before proceeding.
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What is Homebrew?
Homebrew usually refers to software that is not authorized by Nintendo. This includes homebrew tools, applications, games, and emulators.
If your device is on firmware version 3.0.0, running homebrew on your device is 100% free using just the system browser. Lower firmware versions can update to 3.0.0 with the use of a game card. Higher firmware versions can block future updates in order to assure access to future exploits.
What is Custom Firmware?
When released, Custom Firmware (“CFW”) will enable you to use more advanced hacks that userland homebrew can’t easily do. It is currently in development, and will be released according to schedule when all relevant components are completed.
The current CFW release schedule is in order of ascending firmware versions, divided into the following tiers:
|Near Future||Distant Future||Far Future||To Be Determined|
|1.0.0||2.0.0 - 3.0.0||3.0.1 - 4.1.0||5.0.0|
If your device is on firmware version 1.0.0 and you are interested in CFW, your best current option is to follow this guide’s Blocking Updates page, pick up a Japanese copy of Puyo Puyo Tetris (which will be required for 1.0.0 Custom Firmware), and wait patiently for a CFW release.
If your device is on a firmware version >=3.0.1, your best current option is to follow this guide’s Blocking Updates page and wait patiently for a CFW release.
What does this guide install?
This guide currently enables access to the Homebrew Launcher via a browser exploit, though “installed” is not a particularly good description. This is because the exploit must be re-run after every reboot in order to re-enable Homebrew Launcher access.
If you are familiar with iOS device “jailbreaking”, this idea could be considered analagous to a “semi-untethered jailbreak”.
What do I need to know before starting?
- While Switch hacks are constantly progressing, they are not yet in a very user-friendly state. As such, this guide may require some technical understanding in order to troubleshoot any issues which may come up.
- The scope of device modification is limited for most current homebrew, meaning there is little chance of data loss or console damage when using popular homebrew applications.
- This guide will work on all Switch devices on firmwares from 1.0.0 to 3.0.0, with all versions up to 4.1.0 having planned future support (with support for 5.0.0 to be determined). Instructions are included for blocking updates on devices with firmware versions >=3.0.1.
- You will need a micro SD card for your device. It should be formatted as Fat32 and MBR, not GPT (most micro SD cards will be formatted this way by default).
- If you need to format a micro SD card larger than 32gb on Windows, you can use
guiformatand set to an Allocation Unit Size of 32K.