A dumping ground of quick tips and suggestions as an owner of a hacked switch.


Atmosphere Custom firmware (CFW) that modifies/replaces a number of elements of Switch stock firmware
Hekate Bootloader for hacked switches.
RCM Recovery mode – nvidia on-board feature for developing/debugging/recovering a device
fusee-gelee Switch hack that exploits RCM to allow unsigned code to run
NAND Term used by the community to refer to the OS image on the device
sysNAND The stock operating system on the internal device storage
emuNAND A separate copy of the operating system running on external storage
AutoRCM Setting that forces the device into RCM on a cold boot – great so long as you are always in a place where you can run the jailbreak

Some quick how-tos

Executing the tethered jailbreak

  1. Install your jig, hard modded joycon, or other method if grounding pin 10.
  2. Hold down the Volume Up button.
  3. Press and hold the power button for a second or two.
  4. Release and plug the device into your host device (phone, laptop, etc).
  5. Execute the fusee-gelee exploit (I use fusee-gelee launcher) using the hekate payload.

Getting into the homebrew menu

The preferred method to launch the HBM is to have it basically hijack the launching of a game. This ensures the homebrew has full access to all the resources on the Switch.

  1. Select a game to run – yes, this means you need at least one game available on your Switch.
  2. Press A to start the game, but don’t select a profile yet.
  3. Hold down the R button and select your profile.
  4. Release R when the HBM opens up.

Switching homebrew

Because the HBM basically takes over a running game, if you want to switch homebrew, you have to stop the current software first. So press X to close it down or pick another game and launch the HBM again.

Upgrading your CFW

  1. Download the latest version of Atmosphere their releases page: https://github.com/Atmosphere-NX/Atmosphere/releases
  2. Download the latest version of Hekate their releases page: https://github.com/CTCaer/hekate/releases
  3. Restart your Switch, remove the SD card, and pop it into an SD card reader
  4. Unzip the two archives into the root of the SD card
  5. Replace sd://atmosphere/reboot_payload.bin with the Hekate fusee payload file
  6. Replace the SD card and boot!

Tip #1 - Don’t eject your SD card without restarting your Switch first!

I only mention this because I got bit by it and it surprised me.

If you eject the SD card while the Switch is running, the OS will force you to shut down the unit. Not restart. Shut down. That means you’ll have to do a tethered jailbreak to reboot the thing.

That’s super annoying.

So don’t do it if you can avoid it!

Just restart and Atmosphere will kick you back to Hekate, at which point you can safely remove the card.

Tip #2 - Don’t upgrade your firmware without checking first!

Whenever Nintendo ships a new version of firmware it’s possible it can break Atmosphere. As a result, it’s crucial to not upgrade until you’ve checked sources (I typically check the SwitchHacks subreddit).

If you’ve checked and confirmed that Atmosphere does not work with the new firmware, you have a couple of options:

  1. Ignore it. Just live with the nag screen but don’t upgrade until Atmosphere is fixed.
  2. Turn on Airplane mode (so the Switch doesn’t re-download the upgrade) and then use Goldleaf to delete the upgrade.

I tend to do the latter so I don’t accidentally upgrade. To do this:

  1. Fire up Goldleaf from the homebrew menu.
  2. Select “Console and Goldleaf settings” -> “Firmware and updates”
  3. Remove the pending update

When you are ready to upgrade, make sure to upgrade both Atmosphere and Hekate (see above).

Tip #3 - Always run in your emuNAND

Your sysNAND is basically the stock operating system and we don’t want to monkey around with that. Always using the emuNAND ensures that we don’t screw anything up on the stock firmware, and ensures that a clean reboot will always take us to clean, stock firmware.

Tip #4 - Don’t switch between NAND!

Switching between emuNAND and sysNAND a lot while interacting with Nintendo’s online services could trigger a ban.