Time to update our now traditional article on “How to Hack a Nintendo Switch” with the latest data available as of 2023. Not much has changed since last year in “how” it was done, but the release of the picofly, a cheaper mod, means that modchip prices have dropped significantly since last year. One fact remains: the original, unpatched V1 models remain the easiest Switch consoles to hack.
More and more people are buying a Nintendo Switch only to realize they can’t Easily Hack it in 2023. In the guide below, I’m trying to show you what can and can’t be done. I’ve tried to be as clear and precise as possible, but always feel free to let me know in the comments if anything is inaccurate or simply wrong!
TL, DR: While it’s technically possible to hack all Nintendo Switch models as of the time of this writing, if you’re trying to hack a “recently” purchased Switch (maybe any model purchased after 2018, really), easier It may be a way to resell it and Purchase an unpatched V1 Switch instead of. Modchips have come down in price though, so if you’re good with a soldering iron (or now someone can do it for you), modchips are now a legitimate option on any Nintendo Switch.
table of contents:
5 categories of Nintendo Switch
You can currently classify Nintendo Switch into 5 categories: Original V1 models (aka Uncorrected Erista), Patched v1.0 (also known as iPatched Erista, or Patched Erista), v2 (aka Mariko), Switch LiteAnd OLED (aka Aula).
Whether (and how easy) you can hack your console depends on which model you have, and it doesn’t have to tell at first sight.
A short history of Nintendo Switch Hacks and Hardware Revisions
In 2018, a Nintendo Switch hack was revealed by hacker Kate Temkin. Since it was a hardware hack on the console’s NVidia Tegra chip, it allowed all Nintendo Switch consoles at the time to be hacked, independent of their firmware revision. In response, Nintendo began manufacturing an updated hardware version without a defect, which would later be called “patched V1”, according to the original “unpatched” models. These patched units began reaching customers’ hands in summer 2018. In summer 2019, Nintendo also released a full hardware revision of the console, which did not have the vulnerability, codenamed Mariko (or V2). In 2019 they also released the Switch Lite, which is a different form factor to the console, with a patched (not hackable) chip. 2021 saw the release of the OLED model, which of course has also been patched against the 2018 hack.
While it’s technically possible to hack any Switch currently on the market, doing so on original, unpatched V1 models is much easier (and cheaper) than on other models.
To paraphrase: Only you can switch keyboards Easily The breakthrough in 2023 are the uncorrected V1 models. Everything else can be done with modchips but it requires good soldering skills
Mariko, Erista, Patched, Unpatched… How can I tell which Switch console I have
The only easy thing you can tell at a glance is whether you have a “regular size” Switch (the one that plugs into your TV), an OLED model (slightly bigger, better screen), or a Switch Lite (the portable-only version). Once you get out of the way, if You have a normal sized toggle, you want to select if V1 is uncorrected (older models), V1 is debugged, or V2 is.
- My console is the largest with a nice screen: you have a file OLED switch.
- My console is the small version that doesn’t plug into a TV: you have a Switch Lite
- My controller is a “normal size” switch
- Find your console’s serial number, and head over to https://ismyswitchpatched.com/ . this site Try To tell you if your console is an unpatched model. The result is “green” (in this case it is v1 is not patched – good), “red” (either a Patched v1.0or a v2. Not good), or “buff” (not sure which one of the three…not great, really).
If you don’t have a Switch Lite or OLED, there’s still the question of whether you have a Patched Switch V1 or V2. Basically, you probably can’t tell for sure, but if you bought your new Switch from a popular retailer like Amazon, in mid to late 2020, or after thatit is very likely that you have a Mariko Switch (V2).
Unpatched V1 Erista Switch hack
If you have an unpatched V1 key, you are in the easiest category to hack by far, congratulations! All you need is a file A small dongle that you can find at many retailers. Worst case scenario is a paperclip will do (I am not making this up). There are countless tutorials on how to hack the unpatched adapter, I find that this Very comprehensive.
Hack any other Switch model (Patched V1, Patched “Mariko” V2, Switch Lite, OLED)
Long story short, if you don’t have an “unrivaled V1” console, hacking your Switch in 2023 isn’t for the faint of heart, and will require good soldering skills (or someone to do it for you). However, the prices of modchips are reasonable compared to what they were in the past.
Another piracy date: Nintendo Switch mods
To give a more detailed story, these devices would have been hacked with a modchip, known as “SX Core” and “SX Lite” for the regular and lite Nintendo Switch consoles respectively. But the group behind those chips (Team Xecuter) got caught in 2020 (with one of its members, Gary “GaryOPA” Bowser, recently sentenced to 4.5 years in prison plus millions to pay back to Nintendo. He got out of jail in 2023). Since then these chips have been discontinued, which makes finding these original chips really difficult and expensive.
In 2022, some clones of these chips appeared on specialized websites, in particular some Chinese electronics vendors (including AliExpress). These go by the names “HWFLY”, “SX Clone”, or more recently “INSTINCT-NX”.
In early 2023, a much cheaper modchip, picofly, was released as an “open source” alternative to HWFly. Because the board it’s using (the Raspberry RP 2040) is cheaper, and because the Switch hacking scene has jumped to it as a “community-based” alternative, picofly is cheaper than HWFly. This new kid on the block has also brought healthy competition and contributed to making HWFly and its clones even cheaper in 2023.
I’ve seen Nintendo Switch chips as cheap as $35 aliexpress, at the time of writing this article. These chips used to cost close to $150 in 2021/2022! They are now, in terms of price, a very valid option.
Issues with many variations of the HWFLY chip clone
Since there have been so many clones of these chips out there, and some of them have had compatibility issues in the past, you might want to tread a little bit with caution. Specifically, check with the seller that you are buying a chip that will work with your specific model. When in doubt, head to GBATemp for help.
So, how do I hack a Switch Lite, Switch OLED, Patched V1 Switch, or V2 “Mariko” Switch in 2023?
Let me get straight to the point: If you want to hack your Switch in 2023, the easiest way is to buy an unpatched V1 model (For example on eBay) and hack it the easy way as described above in this article. Or buy any other model with modchip pre-installed. But if you’re willing to dig into more “manual” options for your device:
If you have a Switch Lite, Switch OLED, Mariko Switch (V2), or Patched V1 Switch: Buy HWFLY/INSTINCT-NX or Picofly, and install it yourself (details below).
Picofly or HWFly? Which one do you choose?
Picofly is historically more “manual” and harder to install than HWFly, but it’s also quite a bit cheaper. HWFly (and what appears to be a clone, INSTINCT-NX) is more established, a bit easier to install, but it also has a lot of differences, which can feel overwhelming. The choice is yours and both options, Picofly or HWFly, should get reasonable community support in 2023.
Purchase and install Picofly / HWFly
Finding modified chips is somewhat difficult due to the legal concerns of these devices, but GBATemp and the appropriate subreddit might be covered if you want to explore these options. In any case, aliexpress You will likely find those.
The Nintendo Switch hack in 2023 is much cheaper in 2023 than it was in 2022/2021. I am still convinced of that Buy an older, unpatched modelis the easiest way to hack a Nintendo Switch, but if you have the right soldering skills, installing a modchip is now an affordable option.
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