I'm thinking of buying a 3DS XL soon and I'd like to do a system transfer to that new device. Is there anything I should know before proceeding?

I have a big SD card on my first 3DS and I want to use it on the second 3DS after the system transfer.

How do I do this?

Does it transfer the whole data or only the purchases so when I'll plug my old card in the 3DS 2 it will directly work?


  • Why not just physically transfer the SD card after transferring your Nintendo ID over to it?
    – Frank
    Aug 19, 2013 at 16:36
  • 1
    That's what I'm asking. Can I do this? I can, right? I thought it would get wiped or something as Nintendo seems to be very protective with their 3DS games data. So I can 1) do a system transfer with sd in first 3DS and then 2) put the sd cart in the second 3ds and play with it straight away? Thx!
    – Tommy B.
    Aug 19, 2013 at 16:40
  • I don't see why not. I believe the PS3 is the only device that will wipe the hard drive if it doesn't detect the correct PS3. It seems...overkill to do that. Nintendo is anal about piracy, but I don't think they'll wipe SD cards if it's associated with the wrong Nintendo ID.
    – Frank
    Aug 19, 2013 at 16:56

2 Answers 2


I just did a system transfer from my 2 year old 3DS to a new 3DS XL. With the current version of the 3DS software, after the transfer is done, the new 3DS wants to use the old 3DS's SD Card. So going through the standard System Transfer process would do exactly what you want!

In my case, I wanted to use the new 3DS XL's SD card since it was bigger than the old 3DS's one. Nintendo has a pretty easy process for this: http://en-americas-support.nintendo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/309. It's essentially copying the contents of the SD card from old one to the new one via your computer's SD card reader.


If I were you I'd make an image of the SD card, then pop it into the new DS. If it erases everything, then your saves are safe and you now have the new ID to switch the imaged files over to. A quick google search for the HEX values to change should aid in this quest.


Copy the files from the SD card to your computer then try the above.

As stated in the comments though, there shouldn't be a safeguard like there is in the Playstation 3. I will update this answer later after I attempt the above with my system. I had to use the sd card in a new project and so there is additional files intermixed with the 3DS and I did not make a backup so this will be fun!

  • You don't even need an image, just a copy of the Nintendo 3DS folder and DCIM if you have photos.
    – ERJ
    Jun 4, 2014 at 9:56
  • @ERJ I'm thinking in terms of disk metadata that can be skipped in certain Operating Systems such as Mac or Linux. (anything with a .filename [not to be confused with filename.ext] would be skipped as it is hidden by default in *nix based OS'es Similarly, Windows hides certain files [such as .filename] which can also be skipped.)
    – Cole Busby
    Jun 5, 2014 at 18:52

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