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I just got a new Switch. Until now I had been borrowing a friend’s, so naturally I’d like to transfer the data rather than starting from scratch.

Is there any way to do this by plugging the two Switches into each other? Or must I do it over the Internet?

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Based on this Nintendo support page it sounds like you CAN transfer details now (it was famously not possible when the console initially launched,) provided both consoles are upgraded to at least version 4.0.0 of the system OS. However, it seems like this process is indeed wireless, no mention of using a USB cable.

I do know that two Switches can connect to each other via Wifi without actually connecting to the internet, if they are in close proximity (based on my own usage while playing Mario Kart with other friends), but I don't think that sort of connection would be sufficient for this transfer process, since the page linked above talks about signing in to your Nintendo Account on at least one of the two devices (which would require an internet connection to Nintendo's servers.)

It seems like that internet connection is required, not only to authenticate the new device, but to facilitate the de-authentication of the account on the old device, so I'm thinking it wouldn't be possible without the internet connection.

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