The Switch has been out for a good six months now and seems to continue trucking along at a good pace with competitive sales numbers all across the world. One feature of the Switch that I was thrilled about when it was announced was the Share button and its ability to capture screenshots. It is a feature I quickly became addicted to on the PlayStation 4 and, to this day, those capture folders continue growing in size!
And so, since Switch day one I have been clicking away at that square button. But, when it came time to retrieve my first set of screenshots for a blogpost I was faced with the question: How the hell do I transfer the screenshots to my phone or laptop?
After some quick research and trial-and-error I found two approaches: Using the SD card or sharing through social media directly from the Switch.
Using the SD Card
Like many over-prepared Switch owners, I ordered a nice SD card prior to the system’s launch. This meant that, after some quick setting tweaks, all my screenshots were already being saved on the card, instead of internal memory. Admittedly, I have not personally tried this approach but it is the “standard” way to transfer out pictures:
Open the kickstand/SD card cover and pull the card out. Then, insert the card into the card reader on a PC or laptop and transfer away.
- Fast transfer speed.
- Easier and faster to move multiple screenshots at once.
- Have to undock the Switch AND pull out the very small and fragile SD Card. (I may be biased; it is probably not fragile).
Sharing to Social Media
The Switch interface allows users to select any picture and share it to a linked Facebook or Twitter account. This, in combination with the easy-to-use text adding features, makes for a very convenient way to quickly share cool screenshots or create and share game inspired memes.
But, what if all we want to do is transfer pictures without spamming all of our friends with tons of screenshots? Fair question. Here is how I worked around this little detail.
Each Switch user account can be tied to its own Facebook and Twitter profiles. So, I created an alternate Nintendo account an an alternate Twitter account. Then, added a new user to my Switch hooked up to these new accounts.
Now, whenever I just want to transfer a picture to my PC or phone, I select the picture, hit the “Share” option and, instead of selecting my normal user account to share as, I pick the alternate one.
Last, I jump on Twitter on my phone or laptop and download the picture. If you did not know, the Twitter app allows users to have multiple accounts logged in and makes it really easy to switch between them, making this part super painless.
- No undocking or moving required; can potentially do the whole process from the couch.
- Pictures become super easy to access from multiple devices.
- Can only be done one picture at a time and can take some time if the desire is to transfer multiple pictures at once.
Reality is I would love for Google Photos to be on the Switch so that all my screenshots would automatically get backed up to the cloud. But, that not being the case yet (wink wink, Google and Nintendo), the social media sharing option is by far my preferred way to get the screens I want to share out of the system. When my SD card becomes grossly filled with pictures or I start to worry that it might explode, I may have to get off my butt and pull out the SD card for a proper PC transfer. In the meantime, couch potato it is!
Bonus: How was this done on the Wii U?
As part of this little guide, I went ahead and asked my secret informant, who goes by Josh (‘cause that is his name), to figure out if the Wii U has options to take screenshots and get them out of the console. I was well aware of the ability to post the current game screen unto Miiverse, but was not aware of anything beyond this.
Surprisingly, there is an option on the Wii U, somewhat similar to the Switch’s social media share. While playing any game, press the Home button. Then, instead of going to Miiverse, open up the web browser and navigate to https://i.nintendo.net. This navigates to the Wii U Image Share website, where the current image can be uploaded to the social media account of choice.
It is certainly quirky in the implementation but it is very cool that Nintendo provided players with some way of exporting in-game screens out of the console. If I am not mistaken, they also setup a similar feature on the 3DS family of handhelds.