How To Transfer Your Animal Crossing Island To A New Switch

Quick Links

  • Are You Transferring The Island Or A Single Resident?
  • What You’ll Need
  • Download The Island Transfer Tool On Both Consoles
  • Setting Up The Island Transfer Process
  • Load Up Your Game On The New Switch And Link The Characters To The Accounts

If you’ve got a new Nintendo Switch that you want to move everything onto – or perhaps now have your own console when previously sharing one – then it’s important to know how to transfer your save data for Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

The important thing is that you can transfer your island and residents, but it won’t be done automatically when you transfer the rest of your Nintendo Switch data. Here’s a complete guide so you can be sure your island is safe.

Are You Transferring The Island Or A Single Resident?

This is the first important decision when beginning the transfer process. You can either move a resident to a new Switch with a new island, or you can move across the entire island and all residents to the new console. Here’s what you need to know.

Transferring A Single Character

This is if you are moving over just one resident that you wish to play as, but leave the island and save itself on the old console. This will have your existing character start on a new island on the new Switch console.

Note: You cannot transfer a resident representative without the island. You can only transfer the entire island and all residents, or a secondary resident.

If you wish to transfer the entire island, skip ahead to the next step in the guide.

To transfer a single resident, you need to launch Animal Crossing: New Horizons on both consoles. On the old console, while on the start menu for the game, select the minus (-) button to enter the settings. From here, you can select the options for moving a resident, which resident will be moving, and set yourself as ready.

Then, on the new console, when starting a new game and speaking to Timmy and Tommy, select the option “I’m Moving”. This will then continue you through the process of moving across your resident from the old Switch to the new console.

Once done, your resident will carry on with the new game, and will no longer be available on your old island on the previous console.

Moving The Entire Island

This is if you are moving over everything to the new console, and do not aim to play the same Animal Crossing save on the previous console.

If this applies to you, then continue on in the guide.

What You’ll Need

First off, you’ll need to have both Nintendo Switch consoles in front of you and an internet connection. Make sure both Switch consoles are connected to power, either via the dock or the AC adapter.

Also, make sure that both Nintendo Switch consoles are up to date – you can check this via the settings, and the new Switch should update automatically. To do all of this, you will also need a Nintendo Account to be linked to your user data. If this is not already done, you can set one up on your profile page on the Switch console.

Transfer Old Data To New Switch, But Keep Old Switch

While setting up the new Nintendo Switch, you will be asked if you wish to transfer your User Data. Doing so will run you through the process and tell you what you need to do on both consoles.

However, it’s important to note that when the console asks if you will be keeping the previous Nintendo Switch system, select yes.

Once this process is complete, your new console will have your account and save data. If you selected yes to keeping the old console, you will still have the usual access to the previous console as well, but your account will have moved to the new one. This is fine.

Download The Island Transfer Tool On Both Consoles

Now you should have your User Profile on the new console and access to both Nintendo Switch systems. You will need to open the Nintendo eShop and download the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Island Transfer Tool on both consoles.

While you’re there, download the Animal Crossing: New Horizons game on the new Switch console as well, and make sure both consoles have the game software up to date – check this by pressing the plus (+) button while hovering over the application, and check Software Update Via Internet.

If there is somehow any existing save data – eg. you started playing on the new Switch but now wish to transfer the old island – you will need to delete the save data on the new console via the Settings > Data Management > Delete Save Data.

Setting Up The Island Transfer Process

Now go ahead and launch the Island Transfer Tool on both Nintendo Switch consoles.

On the old console, read through the menus – the process is fairly straightforward and it will walk you through the process. Once prompted, designate the old console as the Source System.

The software will tell you to open the Island Transfer Tool on the new Nintendo Switch console and designate it as the Target System. Once you have done this and have selected “Proceed”, you will be able to continue on the old Switch console.

After selecting proceed and having the consoles detect each other, the process will begin. Keep both Switch consoles connected to power and near each other. Once the data has been moved, the Island Transfer Tool will notify you and can be closed on both systems once prompted.

Load Up Your Game On The New Switch And Link The Characters To The Accounts

After everything has been transferred, you’ll want to launch the Animal Crossing: New Horizons game on the new Nintendo Switch console with your own User Profile – the one with your Nintendo Account linked.

Once it has launched, it will inform you that there is saved data for an existing island, and will require you to link the resident to a Nintendo Account.

Go ahead and select your resident to link it to your account. If there are multiple residents on the island, you will need to launch the software with each account and link the corresponding residents.

Once this is done, the game will load up as usual and you can carry on with your island like nothing ever happened. Make sure to re-enable the island back-up from the start menu if you wish to use this feature.

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