How to fix Nintendo Switch not connecting to TV

Sometimes my Nintendo Switch is in an argumentative mood. 

Regardless of how much negotiating, how big a bribe I offer, it refuses to pump a picture to my TV. 

Why would the Switch do this to me? Why won’t it just play nice and connect to my TV, like a good little Switch? It did yesterday. Temperamental thing! 

Having jiggled HDMI cables and wiggled power adapters for seemingly the hundredth time I realized I couldn’t be the only one with a Switch that crosses its arms and petulantly refuses to connect to the TV.  

So I thought I would collect all the ideas that I have tried, successfully I might add, to get my Switch to play nice and connect my TV.

Let’s take a quick look at the list…

How do I fix the Nintendo Switch not connecting to my TV? There are a number of steps you can take to fix your Nintendo Switch not connecting to a TV When docked. These include:

  • Checking that all the ports are clean
  • Ensuring all the cables are connected properly 
  • Is everything Switches on
  • Is the TV on the right channel
  • Make sure the Switch/dock connection isn’t obstructed
  • Use first-party dock/power adapter 
  • And many more…

Now you’ve got an idea of the issues that may stop your Nintendo Switch from connected to your TV. Let’s explore each one of them in a little more detail and how you can fix them. 

Does the Switch turn on in handheld mode?

Check the Switch works in handheld mode before moving on.

Before trying to fix the Switch’s connection to the TV we are it’s worth checking that your Nintendo Switch is still actually working.

I know that sounds like a strange question, but it’s actually valid considering the Switch is easy to drop on the floor in handheld mode. 

The Switch, like many electronics, is actually quite delicate internally. A single drop can bring the Switch to a dead stop. 

But don’t worry, your Switch probably isn’t broken. And there’s an easy way to tell if it is:

If your Switch does turn on in handheld mode, congratulations your Switch hasn’t taken a running jump down into Hades’ underworld. 

Now that you’ve ruled out your Switch as the problem, you can check out the following list of tips you should check to figure out why your Switch won’t connect to your TV and how to fix it. 

Things you can check that might fix your Nintendo Switch not connecting to your TV

Is the Switch’s USB charging port clean? 

Keep the Switch’s USB charging port clean and free of debris.

Being a handheld console, the Nintendo Switch does have a particularly nasty habit of picking up dust, grime, and other detritus in its ports. So before declaring your Nintendo Switch a dead loss check the USB-C port on the bottom of the console. 

There’s a really good chance that there’s an unwanted buffer of dirt and dust stopping the Switch dock’s USB-C connector from inserting into the Switch’s USB port. 

To clean the port, take a look at my article on how to clean the Switch’s USB-C port here.

Is the dock’s USB-C cable clean? 

Have you ever looked inside the Nintendo Switch’s Dock?

In between the two flaps of plastic, in the slit that the Switch slips into, is the end of a USB-C cable. This mates with the Switch’s charging port.

There is nothing extraordinary about this USB-C cable. It’s like any other. Except that it is always pointing upwards inside the dock. 

This can lead to just hair and other unwanted material falling into the USB-C cable which will stop it from making a clean connection with your Switch. 

Grab a flashlight and shine it into the dock and take a good look at the USB-C cable. If it needs a clean it can be spruced up in a similar way to how you would clean the Switch’s USB-C port. 

Is the Switch making a good connection with the Switch Dock?

Things can get into the Switch dock that stop it making a good connection with the Switch console.

A few months back a marble had taken a little trip over the edge of my TV stand and rolled into my Switch’s dock. 

As you can imagine I was trying to put my Switch in the dock and it just wouldn’t go in.

If your Nintendo Switch won’t connect to your TV be sure to check that there’s nothing in the dock stopping the Switch from making a good connection. 

Have you turned everything on? 

Make sure everything is “Switched” on. Get it? I’ll grab my coat…

Not to sound patronizing or anything, but have you turned everything on? 

Check that your: 

  • TV is turned on at the mains, check the back of the TV for any on or off switch, and check the TV remote 
  • Check power Switches on multiplugs
  • Check that the TV’s power cable is connected correctly
  • Check everything that needs to be powered on is getting power  

Is the Switch’s power adapter working?

IS the power adapter actually working? Yes, I know, this is a UK plug. I’m from Wales.

Check that the Switch’s power adaptor is actually working. 

The switch’s power adapter, like any of the plug, has a fuse in it and that can blow.

If you suspect your Switch’s power adapter has powered its last gaming session, ask a friend if you can borrow their power adapter to test with. 

If you can’t borrow a power adaptor you can buy new power adaptors fairly cheaply

Also, don’t try using your phone’s power adaptor with the Switch’s dock as it likely won’t provide enough electricity to signal to the Switch that it’s in docked mode. 

Is the HDMI cable working? 

These things do stop working.

Though it’s quite rare, HDMI cables do stop working. Try using a different HDMI cable with your Switch before calling funeral directors to declare your Switch dead.

Have any cables worked their way loose from the back of the Switch dock?

Check that all the cables, at both the Switch end and the TV end, haven’t worked their way loose. 

Push the connectors in so they are fully snuggled into their corresponding ports.

I find the USB power adapter for my switch dock often works its way loose if I nudge the dock when removing the Switch. You might find yours does the same thing. 

Is the TV working? 

I know this may sound a little extreme, but is your TV actually still working? 

I have known people in the past who have enjoyed a full series of Netflix one night on to wake up in the morning to have a dead TV stinking up the living room. 

Try your Switch on a different TV before blaming the Switch. It could be your TV that’s let you down. 

Is your TV on the right channel?

Before jumping to conclusions and organizing your Switch’s funeral, check that your TV is on the correct HDMI channel. 

Are your Display settings correct for the TV you are connected to? 

If you’ve recently moved your Switch from an old TV to a new TV, or vice versa, you may find that the Nintendo Switch is set up for a resolution that is incompatible with your new TV.

In this case, you’ll need to reset the Switch’s display TV output setting in order to get a picture to the TV. 

To reset your Switch’s display settings simply put your Switch into handheld mode, then do the following.

1: Navigate to the System settings on the home menu by clicking on the little cog icon. 

2: Next, on the menu on the left scroll down to “TV Output”. Click on it. 

3: On the right menu, there are two options you need to pay attention too: TV Resolution and RGB Range.  

4: Click on both of them in turn and set them to Automatic. 

5: Reconnect your Switch to your TV. It should now work. 

Ensure HDMI and Power adaptor cables are inserted into the dock before you dock your Switch

Make sure both the HDMI cable and the power adaptor cable are inserted into the Switch dock and powered on before inserting your Switch into the dock.

If you insert the Switch to the dock before attaching the cables the Switch will not realize it is attached to the dock and will not enter docked mode.

Have you tried pressing the Switches main power button? 

Sometimes the Joy-Cons, the beautiful little toy-things though they are, have trouble turning the Switch on. 

Instead of frantically mashing the Home button on your Joy-con, go and press the power button on top of the Switch. 

You might be surprised to find it turns the Switch on, first time. Disaster, averted.

Are the Joy-cons charged? 

Charge your Joy-cons.

If you’re using your Joy-Cons to turn on your Nintendo Switch while docked be sure the joy-cons are actually charged. 

If smashing the Joy-con’s home button doesn’t stimulate your Switch to life, your Joy-con might be out of battery power. Try giving them a charge for 5 minutes then try again.

Are you using a 3rd party USB-C power adapter? 

Many third-party usb-c power adaptors do not work correctly with a Nintendo Switch. 

They will charge the Switch but they don’t deliver enough power to make the Switch enter docked mode. 

The only way to ensure your power adaptor delivers enough power to the Switch for docked mode is by using an official Nintendo power adaptor or an officially licensed power adaptor.


Ok, one of my articles wouldn’t be complete without one of my now world-famous scintillating summaries to brand all the points permanently on to your brain. Let’s take a final look at all the main points in this article: 

  • Check that your Switch work’s in handheld mode. If it doesn’t there could be a hardware issue that’ll need fixing by Nintendo. 
  • If the Switch does switch on in handheld mode, check the following:
    • Is the Switch’s underside USB-C charging port clean? 
    • Is the end of the USB-C cable in the dock clean?
    • Is the Switch making a good connection in the dock? Are there any bits in the dock stopping the Switch from fully docking? 
    • Have you turned everything on such as the TV and the Switch itself? If you are using a multi-plug is that on/working correctly? 
    • Is the Switch’s power adaptor working? Has the fuse blown? Try borrowing a friend’s power adaptor to test.
    • Is the HDMI cable working? 
    • Have any cables worked their way loose? 
    • Is the TV actually working? 
    • Is your TV on the right HDMI channel? 
    • Are the Switches Display Settings correct for your TV? 
    • Were the HDMI cable and the empower adapter inserted into the Switch before you inserted the Switch into the dock? 
    • Try pressing the power button on the Switch to turn it on when it’s docked. 
    • Check that your Joy-cons have power. 
    • Are you using a 3rd Party power adaptor? It might not be providing enough power to make the Switch enter Docked mode.


How can I add credit to my Nintendo account? Basically, you need to go to the eStore and then go to your account. From here you can add credit by adding your account details. Check out this article that’ll explain all of this in more detail for you. 

How long will the Nintendo Switch be around? At least until 2026. But newer Switch will inevitably come out, so you’ll be able to invest in new consoles. Want to know more about this topic, read more about it here.

How do I know what Switch I’ve bought? There are a few things you can check to see what Switch you’ve bought. These include the box, the model number, serial numbers, product description, and price. Still not sure what to look out for? Check out this article here.

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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