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How Long Do Switch Games Take To Download? (How To Download Faster)

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When it comes to owning a Switch, one of the best things about it is the fact that all of your games can be downloaded online from the Nintendo eShop. You do not need to carry around a bunch of different physical game cartridges in a carrying case in order to have all of your favorite games with you. 

In order to have all of your games on the Switch you can download them directly onto a micro SD card. The question everyone wants to know is how long these games take to download on the Switch.

Most full-length Nintendo Switch games will be 10-15GB and will take 20-40 minutes to download. Smaller games such as super simple Switch games will download in 5-15 minutes.

While most simple games (or those that offer a free download trial) are only a few hundred Mb, some full-length games (such as Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild) can be upwards of 10 GB of data. This is why there are many different download times depending on which game you want to download. 

How fast your Switch will download games will also vary depending on your internet connection and internet settings. If you have a slow internet speed your downloads will be considerably slower than someone who has faster internet.

You should also make sure that your router settings aren’t set to throttle a connection that is pulling a certain amount of bandwidth. If your router has a setting like that you will want to disable it so your Switch will download as fast as possible.

In general, Switch games download a bit slower than the same game will on PlayStation or Xbox consoles. This is because those consoles can be hardwired to the internet (using an ethernet cable) while the Nintendo Switch console can online get online through a Wifi connection.

Another thing that can slow down your Switch game download speeds is online gaming while you are trying to download the game. To get the best possible Switch download speed you will want to put the Switch on the dock and press the power button so the Switch home screen turns off.

This will put all of the processing power towards downloading that game to your Switch.

Thankfully most games do not take that long to download, so you will be ready to proceed to play your newly downloaded game almost immediately. There is nothing more frustrating than buying a new gaming console and having to wait to pay for it when you first get it. 

This is one of the biggest reasons that being able to purchase games online and download them immediately has become so popular. That and the simple fact that you no longer have to carry any games with you when you go anywhere. 

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How Can I Make My Switch Download Faster?

While there are many tips and tricks that people use to try and get games to download faster, there are some that work better than others. These tricks include having your Switch in standby mode as well as holding it closer to your internet router. 

While all of these tips and tricks claim to work to make games download faster on the Switch, there are only a couple that actually work. There is one way though that you are guaranteed to download games faster. 

You can make your Switch download faster by going to the network settings on your Switch and changing the MTU (maximum transmission unit) to 1500. It is set originally to 1400 as a standard, but can easily run at 1500. 

Running these higher transfer speeds will make the system transfer those files a bit faster, but it will not damage the Switch. This will give you the faster download speeds you feel like you should have when downloading games. 

To get to this setting you will need to take the following steps:

  • Open the main menu
  • Scroll over the system settings (the little gear icon).
  • On that screen go down and click on “Internet”
  • On the screen that opens click on “Internet Settings”
  • Next, you will select the network that your Switch is connected to.
  • Then scroll down to the middle option which says “Change Settings”
  • Scroll down to the option that says MTU and click into it
  • Change the MTU setting to 1500 (standard is 1400) then push ok
  • Lastly, you will go over to the right and click on the green Save button.

Since the Switch is now transferring the data a little bit faster the games that you are downloading will download to the console faster. You can use this along with the other tricks mentioned above and below to speed up downloading games to your Nintendo Switch system. 

Does The Nintendo Switch Download Faster When Docked?

When downloading games on the Switch, you obviously want it to go as fast as possible. You don’t want to wait around forever for a game to download just so you can play it. This is why many people look for different ways to make the download times go faster. 

If you want your download times to go faster on your Switch, you have probably looked up a bunch of different tips and tricks to help you out. One of these tricks is to simply put your Switch on the dock when you are downloading a game.

But does docking your Switch actually speed up the downloads?

Placing your Switch on the dock does allow games to download faster! If you put your Switch in sleep mode while on the dock it will download even faster as all of its power will be used to download the game. 

Because the Switch has a dark screen when it is in sleep mode and docked, it is hard to know just how much faster the games download. Even though it is hard to know exactly, it is probably around 15-20% faster than if it was not on the dock or in sleep mode. 

This makes perfect sense because if you are on using the Switch not all of the CPU can be used to download the game. Instead, it has to be used to download the game and do whatever you are doing on the Switch. 

This means that if you are playing a game on the Switch, it will download slower than if you download a game and are not playing a game on the device. While this makes perfect sense, many people will still choose to play games on the Switch which have slower download speeds. 

People will play these games while downloading others even though the download speeds go slower. They do this because they do not want to just wait around and not play games while they are waiting on a game to download. 

I know that I would much rather play a game for 2 hours while waiting for a new game to download than just let the Switch sit for an hour in order to play the new game faster. The other option is to download games at night time when you are not normally playing games. 

This allows you to download all of the new games that you want on the Switch without having to compromise and not play any of the games you already have downloaded. 


Overall there are many different ways that you can speed up downloading games on the Switch. Because there are so many different ways and things you can do, you might be wondering how you know what works. 

When trying all these tips and tricks, you really just have to try them all in order to see what works best for you. Most people simply choose to download the games when they are not using the Switch. 

This allows them to download all the new games, and not miss out on any time playing the games they love and already have downloaded.