How to Dock the Nintendo Switch

I love the Nintendo Switch because the console allows you to play in handheld and TV mode.

But, I prefer gaming on a big screen, which a lot of Switch gamers also enjoy.

I mean what’s not to like about gaming on a 50” TV or larger with 1,920 x 1,080 resolution.

To play your Nintendo Switch on the TV, you have to dock the console in the Nintendo Switch dock it comes with.

The Nintendo Switch dock is a plastic docking station with electrical connectors that enable it to charge the Switch console, its Joy-Con controllers, and connect it to a TV using an HDMI cable. 

How do you dock the Nintendo Switch? Docking your Switch is pretty straightforward. Here is how to do it.

  1. At the back of your Nintendo Switch dock open the back cover.
  2. Connect the Nintendo Switch AC adapter the dock comes with into the USB plug labeled AC ADAPTER, then close the back cover.
  3. Plug the other end of the Switch AC adapter into a power socket and turn it on.
  4. Hold your Nintendo Switch and position it such that its LCD screen faces the same direction as the dock’s front panel. The front side of the Switch dock has the Nintendo Switch logo printed on it.
  5. Slide the Nintendo Switch into the space in the dock from the top. At the bottom of the dock, there is a connector that should plug into the Switch.

And, that’s it you have successfully docked your Nintendo Switch.

When docked the console’s LCD screen will power off.

Let’s take a more in depth look at how to dock the Switch successfully and safely.  

How to connect your Nintendo Switch to the TV

The Nintendo Switch dock was designed for three main functions. Powering and charging your console and providing a TV output.

Once you dock your Switch here is how you can connect it to the TV for a better gaming experience.

1: Open the back case of the Nintendo Switch Dock.

Make sure the AC adapter and the HDMI is connected to the Switch dock.

2: Take an HDMI cable, the Switch also comes with one of these cables, and plug it into the dock’s HDMI OUT port. Alos, plug in the power adapter’s USB-C cable into the dock’s power input port. 

3: Connect the other end of the HDMI cable to your TV’s or monitor’s HDMI port. This port in most cases can be found at the back of your TV. Plug the other end of the power adapter into a wall power outlet.

4: Close the back cover of the dock.

5: Next, hold your Nintendo Switch and position it such that its LCD screen faces the same direction as the dock’s front panel. The front side of the Switch dock has the Nintendo Switch logo printed on it.

Slide the Switch into the dock. Sorry about the dust on the screen. Owning dogs means my house is never clean, ever.

6: Slide the Nintendo Switch into the space in the dock from the top. At the bottom of the dock, there is a connector that should plug into the Switch. You’ll feel the Switch make it’s connection. 

7: While still docked, remove the Joy-Con controllers from your Switch for docked play. Do this by pressing the tiny release button at the back of each controller, then slide the Joy-Con upwards to detach it from the Switch.

Press this button to release the joy-con.

8: Power on your Nintendo Switch. You can do this using either one of your Joy-Cons or by pressing the power button on top of the Switch.

9: Turn on your TV and select the correct HDMI input to start playing your favorite Nintendo Switch game on the big screen with 1,920 x 1,080 resolution.

If your console doesn’t output to the TV check to see if the HDMI cable is firmly connected between the dock and TV.

A loose connection communicates to the Switch that it is still in handheld mode. It will continue to act as a handheld console until a good connection is established.

Nintendo Switch dock tips

My Switch in its dock. Look carefully in the background and you can see me working on this article on my computer!
  • The Nintendo Switch Lite doesn’t come with a dock and cannot be docked in the original Switch’s dock. This is because the two devices’ hardware is not compatible, and the Switch Lite also doesn’t support TV output.
  • The Nintendo Switch will charge when docked, which means you can enjoy uninterrupted gaming for extended hours. The Joy-Cons will also refresh their battery if left attached to the Switch.
  • Leaving the Switch docked when not in use, or after it’s fully charged, will not damage the console’s battery.
  • Take care when placing and removing the Switch from the dock. If you don’t do it in a gentle vertical motion you risk scratching the LCD screen of your console. 

You can buy a screen protector like the Spigen Tempered Glass Nintendo Switch Screen Protector to protect your Switch from scratches. This screen protector is easy to install, has the same feel as the Nintendo Switch screen, and is clear so it doesn’t affect the console’s display. It will also save you from expensive screen repairs caused by frequent scratches.

There are third-party sellers of Nintendo Switch docks, who sell them at much cheaper prices than you would pay for the original Nintendo dock. I, however, wouldn’t advise you to buy any of the options available.

Switch software updates could render them useless at any time, or worse they could irreparably damage your console, which happens often.

So, if you go for anything other than the officially licensed Nintendo Switch dock, do it with the knowledge you’re putting your Nintendo Switch at risk.

  • When the Switch is docked avoid moving the dock, as this could damage the console. Consider mounting the dock next to your TV using a Nintendo Switch Wall Mount to limit its movement.


The Switch mates with this USB-C connector inside the dock. You’ll feel it slide into place when when the fit is right. That all sound very dodgy, doesn’t it!?

Below is a quick recap of what we covered in this how-to dock the Nintendo Switch post.

The Nintendo Switch dock lets you convert your Switch from a handheld device to a TV console within seconds.

By simply placing your console into the Switch dock you can play your favorite Nintendo game on a larger screen and with better resolution.

When docked you don’t have to worry about the battery life of your Switch, as it is continuously charged.

This has the advantage of letting you play your console for as long as you want without interruption.

If you damage your Nintendo Switch dock remember to only replace it with an original Nintendo Switch dock, not a third-party option.

This is the only way you can be sure the Switch dock you’re using will not damage your Switch. 


Can I connect my Nintendo Switch to my TV without the dock? Yes, you can. You will need to get a special adapter that is the equivalent of the dock to do this. You can read more about this here

How do I clean the charging port on my Switch? Aha, the delicate charging port can be cleaned very quickly. All you need is a Jewelers Loupe, some compressed air, and a toothpick. Check out our step-by-step guide to cleaning the charging port here

How do I charge my Nintendo Switch controllers? The most obvious answer to this question is to use the Switch dock. However, there are other points to consider, you can read more about this topic here.

How do I clean my Nintendo Switch vents? It’s super simple to clean vents out, all you need is a can of compressed air and a vacuum cleaner. Check out this article here for a step-by-step guide.

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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