Can the Nintendo Switch Get too Cold?

It resembled a mammoth found deep in Siberian tundra….

After spending the day sitting out in my garden, winter-sun and Switch for company, I awoke the next morning to a different world… 

Snow had fallen and I, as forgetful as ever, had left my Nintendo Switch outside. 

I donned my robe, stepped into my slippers, and huddled up like an Inuit on a particularly cold day in the arctic. Wrapped up, I went all penguin and waddled out my back garden with only my crystallizing breath for company. 

What was once a gorgeous garden wearing flowers like jewelry, was now a white canvas devoid of nature’s colour. 

My feat parted drifts and I plowed my way over to the seat where the Sun had kissed me the previous day. As my teeth chattered, I brushed away some of the snow to reveal my Nintendo Switch. It looked as cold as a corpse and dead as one too. My fingers reached out, the sting of ice-cold plastic greeting them, and I grabbed my Switch and made my way back to the house.  

After bringing the Switch inside, I was immediately struck by the question: Can a Nintendo Switch survive cold like that?

Before doing anything I grabbed my laptop, warmed my fingers with some stretching exercises, and then started typing for answers. This is what I found: 

Can the Nintendo Switch get too cold? Yes, the Nintendo Switch can get too cold. The Switch if left at a temperature below -10°C (14°F) for too long it will get too cold to operate correctly. The Crystals in the Nintendo Switch’s LCD screen can start to freeze. And the battery will discharge very quickly. Fortunately, in most cases, you can thaw a Nintendo Switch without causing damage. 

Ok, now you know the Switch can get too cold to operate. In the next section, I’ll look at some of the early warning signs that your Switch is getting too cold. Then I’ll look at how to thaw out your Switch if it gets too cold. Finally, I’ll take a look at how to avoid your Switch getting too cold in the first place. 

How to know if your Nintendo Switch is too cold

See this lovely warm looking house? It best you leave your Switch in a place like this.

There are a number of signs and symptoms that indicate that your Nintendo Switch is too cold to properly operate. 

Let’s take a look at a few of them. 

Look for the these signals on your Switch’s LCD screen:

  • The screen’s response is sluggish to control input. 
  • In extreme cases, the action on the screen can freeze completely. 
  • Extreme ghosting 
  • Dimming of the screen 
  • Bluish tint to the screen
  • Screen shut down entirely. 

Other signs your Switch is too cold:

  • Moisture is condensing onto the Switch and immediately freezing
  • The battery is discharging rapidly even when not being used
  • The Switch is generally very cold to touch
  • In extreme cases moving parts will become stiff
  • Buttons become stiff or won’t release when pushed in

Be careful when your Switch is very cold as plastic can become extremely brittle at very low temperatures. Do not flex your Switch, and try to avoid dropping or bumping it. 

Also, do not use the Joy-Cons. The plastic that makes the neck of the analog stick can become brittle in very low templates. 

What to do if your Switch has frozen. 

So your Switch has decided to take an impromptu ice bath and frozen itself, don’t worry. Your Switch can be brought back to life…  

This is what you need to do: 

1: Remove your Switch from the source of the extreme cold. If you are outside, I recommend you go inside as soon as possible. If you can’t get indoors, get your switch as close to your body as possible so your body heat can keep it warm or wrap it up.

2: Next, you want to slowly increase the temperature of the Switch. The last thing you want to do to a frozen Switch is thaw it out quickly. So don’t go lighting a fire under it. The screen, if truly frozen, needs to be brought back up to operating temperature slowly. 

3: First, wipe away any frozen condensation that has accumulated on the Switch. This will make sure no melting ice can get into the Switch’s delicate electrical components. 

4: Wrap the Switch in a towel or blanket. This will stop the Switch from increasing in temperature too quickly. 

5: Leave the Switch for 6 hours until it has had time to raise it’s internal components to room temperature. 

6: Test your Switch. If you still notice any of the signs from the previous section that indicates your Switch is still cold, leave it for a further 6 hours or until the next day. 

If you follow the instructions above your Switch should make a full recovery. 

However, it’s worth remembering that every Switch is slightly different. If your Switch doesn’t make a full recovery after leaving it at room temperature for 24-48 hours, you may need to return it to Nintendo to be fixed.

How to avoid your Switch getting too cold. 

The extremely pretty arctic fox is well adapted to the cold. Your Switch, on the other hand, is not. Best leave it at home, ay?

It’s a good idea to make sure your Nintendo Switch never gets too cold. 

And the simplest way to avoid a frozen Switch is to not take it out in cold weather in the first place. 

However, if leaving your Switch in the warmth of your home isn’t an option you can try some of the following tips. 

  • Keep the Switch wrapped up in a towel – this will insulate it against the cold 
  • Keep the Switch in a bag designed to protect it – This too will also help insulate the Switch against the cold. 
  • Keep the Switch close to your body such as in an inside pocket in your jacket
  • Wrap your Switch up and put it in a rucksack and surround it with a few reusable thermal hand warmers – make sure the hand warmers don’t make direct contact with the LCD screen. Too much heat is just as bad as too much cold when it comes to electronics 
  • Only use your Switch when indoors


Ok, now that you’ve read through the article, it’s time for a quick summary just to hammer the main points home. Let’s take a look: 

  • There are a number of signs and symptoms that’ll tell you that your Switch is too cold. These include: 
    • Battery running out quickly. 
    • The screen’s response is sluggish to control input. 
    • In extreme cases, the action on the screen can freeze completely. 
    • Extreme ghosting 
    • Dimming of the screen 
    • Bluish tint to the screen
    • Screen shut down entirely. 
  • You shouldn’t warm your Switch up quickly if it is frozen
  • Instead, wrap it up and leave it slowly warm up to room temperature over a period of 6 hours or more. 
  • You can avoid your Switch freezing by not taking it out in the cold
  • If you must take it out in the cold you can:
    • Wrap the Switch up 
    • Put the Switch in a bag designed to hold it 
    • Put the Switch in a pocket so your body keep it warm
    • Wrap the Switch up, put it in a rucksack, and place thermal hand warmers near it to keep the temperate up. 

What Next?

Ok, so a Switch can get too cold. But can it get too hot? Yes, it can. Generally speaking, if your Switch is used at a temperature exceeding 35 degrees Celsius for extended periods of time it will eventually shut down as the internal components will be too hot.

Nick Sinclair

Nick Sinclair, a gaming aficionado since the Commodore 64 era, studied Creative Computer Games Design in university before founding his own gaming company. Discovering a passion for content creation, Nick now helps gamers squeeze every drop of fun out of their favorite gaming hardware

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