How To Fix Nintendo Switch’s No Cartridge Bug
Nintendo Switch Cartridge
(Last Updated On: March 11, 2017)

While the mainstream media and enthusiast games press have seemingly taken up a fascination with licking the game cartridges of the Nintendo Switch, others in the YouTube community have actually been attempting to fix issues with the cartridge reader that sometimes shows that you have no game inserted.

It’s hard to tell how wide a problem it is, but some gamers are reporting that when they insert a game cartridge into the Switch, it shows an icon in the top left hand corner indicating that no cartridge is inserted. Some people have repeatedly taken the cartridge out and placed it back in, all to no avail.

However, YouTuber Maximilian Dood has put together a quick eight minute video detailing some troubleshooting tips for repairing the cartridge problem where the Switch won’t read the game when it’s inserted. Check it out below.

So first off, if you have a game like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and it’s not reading the cartridge at all and showing no game is inserted, Maximilian suggests taking a pair of 3.5mm headphones and plugging them into the headphone jack and then removing and reinserting the game.

After about three or four tries of plugging in and unplugging the headphones and game, the Nintendo Switch finally reads The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s note a definitive solution, but it seems to work as a makeshift alternative just until Nintendo either issues a patch or people return their Switch and get it replaced.

If the Switch reads the game and you plan on playing it without wearing the headset or headphones, you can simply unplug the headset before starting up the game. If it still shows that the cartridge is inserted, then you’ve managed to fix the problem. If it shows that the cartridge is not inserted, then you’ll have to repeat the steps of plugging in the headphone and then unseating and reinserting the game cartridge.

Maximilian suspects that it may be something to do with a loose board inside or a connector not making contact, or something hardware related. He wanted to return it but since the systems are all sold out at the moment, he isn’t quite inclined to be out of a Switch for the next several months. However, if you have a warranty on the system it would probably be best to return it if the console consistently fails to read the game cartridges.


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Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • AR7777

    Very rushed system

  • TT

    “While the mainstream media and enthusiast games press have seemingly
    taken up a fascination with licking the game cartridges…”

    THANK YOU

    it’s ridiculous seeing how all the so called “games media” has been focusing on such a retarded thing, I was wondering if anyone was going to point it out. And yet they panic about youtubers, who seem to do their job a hell of a lot better.

    • mikebrand83

      Probably a side effect of licking lead based paint in their spare time. Or maybe brain damage from Kuru, if they’ve been learning from the Cannibal News Network.

      • TT

        That or some kind of inbreeding

    • Worse yet, when you look up the Nintendo cartridges to see how many people are having trouble with it, all the search results are tainted with retard media outlets talking about licking the darn cartridges.

      • TT

        i wonder if alot of the media has been paid off by Ninty. I find it hard to believe there was no way they didn’t know these issues existed, and all I see is focus on the dumbest things.

        I wager they rushed it, considering that there seems to be a divide between people who have no issues and people who do. Maybe something to do with the manufacturers? All speculation, but I really have no way of making sense of it other than it was rushed before everything was fixed or they cut corners.

      • TT

        my tinfoil theories aside, I really wonder where this whole “taste the cartridge” thing came from? It’s a plastic little chip, what the hell do people expect it to taste like?

    • Smug

      licking switch game cartridges give you the breath of the wild

  • LurkerJK

    I knew those shitty micro connectors would be trouble the second I saw a tear down of the switch, the whole thing looks like a hastly put together prototype

  • Smug

    There are plenty of other bullshits surrounding the Switch

    >no soft paddings on the (overpriced) dock, and the way the tablet wobbles inside (especially if you connect the joycons), means the screen can be easily scratched
    >microSD is locked by the system and have to be reformatted if you plan to use it on another switch system
    >downloaded games are locked to one device only
    >cant manage saves at all (they’re tied to the internal memory of the system, and not the microSD, even if you own cartridges)
    >low-quality LCD screens
    >switch cant handle other devices (laptops, phones, etc) around for connectivity
    >alongside of paid online, you need a fucking smartphone (the thing that the switch cant handle having around) for voicechat and matchmaking
    >no exclusive games
    >ports, such as Dragon Quest Heroes, run at worse framerate than on Vita.

    • Lot of these can be addressed with firmware updates, especially save manage and microSD hard-locks. Reggie already mentioned they could addressing that in the near future with cloud saves, so we’ll see. It’s just common sense given how small the internal memory is.

      I’ve also heard conflicting reports about the screen being scratched. Some people who own it say that the way it’s designed it’s impossible to scratch the gorilla glass the way it’s being shown in the videos, others are saying the way it’s designed it makes it too easy to scratch. Too tough to tell right now. Reminds me of when sites like Kotaku tried starting a witch hunt on the PS4 with the HDMI port.

      As for the low-quality LCD screen? Yeah that can definitely be an issue, but haven’t heard too much about it other than what was in that compilation video.

      As for the issue with it losing connectivity around phones and laptops? That’s a new one. Haven’t heard much about it or seen that one.

      As for exclusives? Meh. PS4 and Xbox One still don’t have any good exclusives, so we’ll see how Nintendo does by the end of the year. In fact, I can’t think of one decent exclusive the XB1 had during its first year out that wasn’t crap.

      • Mr.Towel

        I think the LCD issue, if people are referring to dead pixels, maybe just misinformation. Most LCD screens HAVE dead pixels, in LCD TVs those are endemic. One or two dead pixels are still inside the industry’s standard. It’s just that for video games we tend to notice more. But even for the Vita’s “golden” OLED screen, while definitely impressive, even in its prime, was not all that perfect, even a good working one had small burns and artifacts in darker images.

        • It makes it REALLY hard to gauge the Switch’s actual issues. Without a hard fail rate figure we can only go by empirical evidence, and it’s all wishy washy at the moment.

          Dead pixels may be a thing, but the frequency is what could be a problem. Again, without figures there’s no way to know how frequently dead pixels are an issue for the Switch.

          I’m taking a more cautious approach to some of these. I figured since Max had a really good troubleshooting guide for the cartridge issue it was worth covering.

          Unfortunately I couldn’t find enough hits on Google to see how widespread an issue it is. So maybe it’s a fringe issue or a lot of people are buying their games from the eShop? Not sure.

        • Smug

          the main drawbacks of the OLED screen on Vita is that it doesnt appreciate stuck images for way too long and the full black color gets somehow greener in a room with barely or no light

          • Mr.Towel

            Indeed, it doesn’t even need to be full black, just generally dark image is enough, I’ve seen it in casted shadows at some games, depending on the color palette.

            And I think the OLED is the reason Sony forced a very short dimming timer on the screen, which you can’t change. You can change the timer for the screen to go to sleep but you can’t change the timer for the screen to dimm out, it’s always 30 seconds without any input and the screen dimms out till you press something again. It generally doesn’t annoy me, but in some games, heavy on cutscenes, it can become annoying.

      • Uncle Joey

        It’s not gorilla glass though, just normal plastic.

      • Smug

        You mean cloud saves that might be integrated to the pay-for-online service like it was the case with the Vita and PS+? At least there was a content manager on the Vita to manage saves (even if backing up the whole game+update+saves on PC was pretty retarded, not to mention a PSN account and an internet connection was also mandatory)

        like uncle joey said, it’s just a plain plastic recovering the screen

        “That’s a new one. Haven’t heard much about it or seen that one” it mostly entails the joycons, preventing them from pairing to the main system properly or registering the correct controls if nearby wireless devices are around (and the list also include a fucking aquarium as source of interference)
        http://en-americas-support.nintendo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/22513/p/897

        The 8th generation of home consoles was a fucking joke and I know people lowered their expectations because of that.

        • Missed you smug. :^)

        • it mostly entails the joycons, preventing them from pairing to the main system properly or registering the correct controls if nearby wireless devices are around

          Ahahaha… wow. Okay that’s funny. Kind of fail, too.

          I wonder if this is what’s causing the left Joy-Con to desynch so much?

          You mean cloud saves that might be integrated to the pay-for-online service like it was the case with the Vita and PS+? At least there was a content manager on the Vita to manage saves

          Likely. I wouldn’t doubt it if they made you register a premium Nintendo ID to use cloud saves. That’s probably why they haven’t announced it yet.

          The 8th generation of home consoles was a fucking joke and I know people lowered their expectations because of that.

          A huge step backward is more like it. If NIntendo can at least deliver some fun games, I will be okay with that. So far Sony and Microsoft have been fighting over… ehh… I don’t even know what they’re fighting over. Sony seems to be trying to embrace more identity politics with their Western first party titles, and Microsoft seems like a bum searching a dark room for a moldy sandwich. I don’t know what they’re doing.

          The Scorpio and PS4 Pro are also just so darn aimless. Like, what’s the point of 4K if the games are still crap? If Nintendo can iron out the kinks with the second batch of Switch units off the production line then it might be okay (assuming the issues aren’t fringe). I’m interested to see what their first party comes up with beyond Splatoon and Mario Odyssey.

  • Mr.Towel

    It seems that in a effort to keep the price of the switch down Nintendo decided to make it with the cheapest materials and cheapest build quality available. This is not the only problem switch is having. Overall the system feels kinda of flimsy and most bugs seems hardware connections issues.

    I hope they launch another version later some day, using better materials and smarter engineering.

    • Smug

      get rid of all the shitty gimmicks and make an actual handheld instead

      especially that third-party devs arent forced to integrate TV mode for their games

    • Uncle Joey

      Cheapest shit but still costs 330€. :^)

  • They’re going to have to go back to the drawing board with this one.

    Looks pretty clear to me that Nintendo bit off more than they could chew.

  • Uncle Joey

    This thing is such a clusterfuck.

    Won’t read cartridges
    Dock scratches the tablet (mine already did after inserting it once, even with felt pads glued in)
    The Wifi Antenna is piss-poor just like the Wii and Wii U’s was, maybe even worse.
    Some people reported problems with the left joycon losing sync, hasn’t happend to me yet though.

    Honestly, this thing should’ve stayed in the incubator for a bit longer.

    I do appreciate the simple main menu GUI though.

    • mikebrand83

      One thing I don’t get is why anybody would use anything other than a tempered glass screen protector, given that the Switch uses a capacitive touchscreen?

      I’ve been putting the Switch into the dock and taking it out with zero consideration for anything other than not dropping it, and scratches certainly doesn’t seem to be an issue for my unit.

      The only time I’ve trusted a screen to go “naked” is my Pebble Time Steel, with Gorilla Glass… It has multiple scratches on it, naturally.