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Will The Nintendo Switch Download Games In Sleep Mode?

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With the launch of the Nintendo Switch, gamers everywhere are wondering about all the new features. One question that many people have is whether or not games will be downloaded while in sleep mode. .

Since most of the time your Switch will be in sleep mode on the dock it would be helpful if the games you purchase for download from the eShop will actually download whether your console is on or “sleeping”.

So will the Nintendo Switch still download games when it is in sleep mode?

The Nintendo Switch will download games while it is in sleep mode just like it will when the console is on. So if you purchase a game on the eShop using your phone or computer your Switch will start downloading that game immediately even if the console is in sleep mode.

The only thing that might cause the Switch not to fully download a game while it is in sleep mode is if your internet connection cuts out or if you don’t have enough space on the console or SD card to fit the entire game. Assuming you don’t have either of those problems, your Switch will not have any issues downloading the entire game so it is ready to play the next time that you turn the console on.

The Switch has a 32GB internal memory and can accept microSD cards for more storage. However, if you download too many games, photos or videos, then the internal memory might fill up fast! So just keep this in mind as it’s possible for the internal memory to be used up before downloading all available games.

One good thing about download games is that they can be played anywhere. This means that you can easily play any game that is downloaded to your console and don’t have to worry about carrying the physical cartridges with you.

As long as you have your Switch then you are ready to play since the games are downloaded.

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Why Does Sleep Mode Increase Battery Life?

The most common reason people use the sleep mode is to conserve battery life for when they play later at night or when they leave their Switch in their bag for extended periods of time. 

Leaving your Switch in sleep mode allows you to increase the battery life because while in sleep mode your Switch uses far less battery. This is because the screen is not on and very few processes are running on the hardware. 

This allows your Switch’s battery to last far longer than if your Switch was on or in use. So if you want the battery on your Switch to last a bit longer, when you aren’t using it just click the button at the top left corner and put it into sleep mode until you are ready to play again. 

How Does Sleep Mode Affect The Nintendo Switch?

The main benefit of using sleep mode is that your device will save some power so that you can play it for longer later without needing to charge it. When your Switch is in sleep mode it can still download games if needed but beyond that all of the processes will be shut off to conserve power. 

Essentially sleep mode is like having the console “off” but that it comes back on instantly when you are ready to play again. 

Although your Switch that is in sleep mode will still use a tiny amount of battery so that way it can be instantly turned, it won’t use enough that it will be noticeable. 

Can You Turn Off Sleep Mode On The Switch?

Unfortunately, there is no way to completely turn off sleep mode. However, if you want to turn your Switch console off entirely so it doesn’t use any battery at all you can certainly do that. 

To entirely turn off your Switch just hold the power button down for 3 seconds. That will bring up the power menu on your Switch. Then just use the controller to select turn off and the Switch will turn itself off. 

This method is really only needed if you are planning on not using your Switch for an extended period of time such as when traveling cross country, moving, etc. Nintendo recommends just using sleep mode for regular day to day use of the Switch. 

Can You Leave The Switch In Sleep Mode While Charging?

Many people wonder whether they should entirely turn off their Switch (using the method above) when they want to charge it or whether they can just charge it while it is in sleep mode. 

The Switch will charge when it is powered off or in sleep mode. You don’t have to power down the Switch to charge it. All you need to do is plug it in or put it on the Switch dock and it will begin charging no matter whether it is on, in sleep mode, or entirely turned off. 

I’ve had a Switch for three years now and I always charge mine while it is in sleep mode. I just push the button on top to put it to sleep and then put it on the dock to charge. Sometimes if I am in the middle of the game I will just dock it and keep playing on my TV as well. 

Even if your battery is close to dying you can still just put your Switch on the dock and continue playing the game on the TV. It will slowly charge even while you are playing it when it is docked. 

How Long Does The Switch Battery Last In Sleep Mode?

Nintendo says you can leave your Nintendo Switch plugged in 24/7 if you want. They also say that you should get more than 10 hours of battery life if you are keeping it in sleep mode when it is actively downloading games. 

If your Switch is not doing anything (downloading games) when in sleep mode the battery will last for multiple weeks without dying. Exactly how long it will last in sleep mode depends on which Switch console you have and how old the console is as well. 

With my three year old Switch I can leave it sitting on the counter overnight in sleep mode (so 8 hours) and the battery will only decrease 1-2%. 

So that means a Nintendo Switch battery will last between 17-33 days when in sleep mode! Do you see why you really don’t need to worry about powering off your Switch when the battery lasts so long when it is in sleep mode?

How Much Electricity Does The Nintendo Switch Use?

When buying a gaming console many people think that they are power hungry and might cause your energy bill to go up if you play them all of the time. Now while some gaming computers will draw a lot of power is that true for the Nintendo Switch as well? 

How much power does the Switch use when it is plugged in? 

When you are playing a game with your Switch docked or plugged in it will use approximately 15 watts of power. If your Switch is just plugged in (or docked) and charging it will use 10 watts of electricity. 

Exactly how many watts are used will vary depending on the game that you are playing as some games are more resource hungry and will use a bit more electricity. But even the most power hungry games with the Switch and Joy-Cons charging will only use 17 watts. 

If you charge your Switch for one hour a day it will cost you 53 CENTS A YEAR to use. Yes, that means it will cost you a little over 4 cents A MONTH to use or charge your Switch an hour a day at the 10w usage. If you are playing the most power hungry game that consumes 17w it will cost you a total of 89 cents A YEAR if you play that game on your Switch an hour each day. 

  • Your Switch will cost you .0015 cents (a tenth of a cent) per hour that it is charging. 
  • Your Switch will cost you .0024 cents (2 tenths of a cent) per hour that you are playing on it. 

So essentially you could play on your Switch for 4-5 hours a day and it would cost you ONE CENT in electricity. So as you can see the cost of electricity to run your Switch is virtually nothing. 

Note: The pricing above is based on the average electricity cost in the USA of .144 per kWh. If your electricity cost is higher or lower you will have to adjust these numbers slightly. 


Now that you understand all about the Nintendo Switch, you can see why it is so popular, and why so many people love playing all the games on the device. 

It does not matter what your favorite game is to play on the Switch; Nintendo just wants you to have fun and enjoy the time playing with friends and family.