Restore your individual cracked Nintendo Change: This is how I mounted mine

Cracked again cowl restore… halfway by.

Scott Stein/CNET

It’s regular for the Nintendo Change to sometimes expertise some kinds of breakage. The sport console is thought to have some issues with Pleasure-Cons breaking and cracks popping up alongside the Change’s vents or by the again corners of the gaming console. However that doesn’t imply it’s important to purchase a brand new Change. These kinds of injury may be mounted with a bit endurance and a few screwdrivers.


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Nintendo’s transportable sport console has been round for greater than 4 years, with the first iteration popping out in 2017. The Change has since seen gradual upgrades over time, with a model with higher battery life, known as the Change V2, and a lower-priced, handheld-only Change Lite. (Right here’s the CNET Nintendo Change evaluate and Nintendo Change Lite evaluate.) Now a new OLED Change is on its approach this October. It’s anticipated to have a 7-inch OLED show, higher audio system, boosted storage and different interesting options. (The Nintendo Change OLED is probably not for you, however whether it is, you’ll be able to preorder one proper now.)

Final 12 months, my Nintendo Change had turn out to be a dirty mess. Smudged, dust-caked display screen. Oily Pleasure-Cons. My youngsters had been taking part in Animal Crossing: New Horizons for days, jostling it out of the dock within the mornings. I informed them to watch out — then I noticed the crack on the again.

Learn extra: Greatest Nintendo Change video games to play in 2021

It wasn’t a giant crack. However it was there. After all, I freaked out.

I’ve points with issues breaking. And I’m not a repair-oriented individual. I don’t have fix-it in my blood. My yard is a multitude. Dysfunction terrifies me, and but it occurs. And eventually, electronics get broken.

I googled my drawback and noticed a number of different folks had related cracks in well-used methods. 

Learn extra: Greatest Nintendo Change controllers for 2021


The crack.

Scott Stein/CNET

I’ve seen others posting footage of their Switches with new colourful circumstances they placed on, and Pleasure-Con kits they fastidiously assembled, and even Pleasure-Con fixes. A cracked plastic again? Come on, Scott. You are able to do this.

Learn extraThe best way to trick out your Nintendo Change

iFixit instantly got here up in my search with an incredible step-by-step information. You must use it. I’m right here to inform you how I did at following that information, and what I ordered.

Additionally, bear in mind that self-repairs like this might void your guarantee, should you nonetheless have one. And to be secure, simply be sure you’ve backed up cloud saves in your video games.

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Sure, you’ll be able to repair your cracked Nintendo Change


Worth: How a lot does it value to repair your Nintendo Change?

I went to Amazon to get some spare elements: a rear case and entrance cowl set that appeared very well-reviewed, so I purchased it ($9.95). I appeared for Change restore instruments, and went with a set that had a bunch of massive, separate (versus interchangeable-head) screwdrivers (at the moment $14, however I paid $18.89). Whole: $30.79.

They took per week to reach — not so long as some orders to start with months of the coronavirus pandemic, possibly as a result of they’re for repairs. 

Then, I began.


These screwdrivers felt nice to carry, and durable. No swapping ideas wanted.

Scott Stein/CNET

Unscrewing your Nintendo Change: The best way to take off the sport console’s backplate

The subsequent steps concerned taking the unique rear case off. Some recommendation earlier than continuing:

Lay the Change face-down on a mushy material. You don’t need to scratch it up.

Pull off the kickstand. You’ll want that off earlier than eradicating the rear cowl. It’s straightforward to take off, and Nintendo has a information. Push in a bit on one facet. Reattaching it later is comparable however in reverse.

Be very cautious with the screws. The tri-wing specialised screws, and a few Phillips-head screws, are extremely small. Some are additionally very brief. I unscrewed all of them within the order iFixit really helpful, 4 corners first.


Listed here are the screwdrivers I used to repair my Nintendo Change.

Scott Stein/CNET

These had been OK, however some felt caught with grime. I used to be extraordinarily frightened about stripping the tri-wing screws. I saved the screwdriver nonetheless and turned firmly however gently on the similar time.

Thank goodness the screwdrivers are magnetized, conserving the screws hooked up a bit after eradicating. I positioned them in little dishes, to remind myself what step they had been from. I dared not drop one by chance.

  • Subsequent got here the microSD card slot screw, which wasn’t as tightly hooked up.
  • Then got here two Phillips-head screws on the underside, on both facet of the USB-C port.
  • Then, a Phillips-head screw simply to the facet of the highest vent.
  • Then, the middlemost screw on the facet rails the place the Pleasure-Cons usually slide in, one on both sides.

I pulled the plastic off gently; it received caught a bit. I seen how a lot mud there was, and that among the plastic tabs had already damaged off.


OK… some further bits wanted to be transferred from one again panel to the opposite.

Scott Stein/CNET

Surprising further steps: Transferring the microSD bracket and sport cartridge cowl

At this level, iFixit mentioned to reverse the steps. However I noticed there have been nonetheless some lacking elements to my Change rear cowl: 

  • The cartridge slot cowl was on the unique cowl, however not on my new one.
  • A bit of bracket close to the microSD card slot wasn’t on my new cowl, both.
  • Nor had been the little vent grille covers on the underside of the duvet, nor little foam squares on the corners.

I went right into a panic now, however determined to only transfer the elements over. I gently unscrewed the SD card and cartridge elements and reinstalled them on the corresponding areas of the brand new cowl.

The vent covers, these weren’t as straightforward. I noticed folks on-line had gently peeled them off and glued them on. They’re little strips of plastic. I pulled them off, and located they’d simply sufficient stickiness left to stay on once more like a sticker, and form of transfer on from there. The froth nook squares I didn’t fear about.


Seems, the brand new again’s plastic tabs didn’t match completely in my Change.

Scott Stein/CNET

What’s the toughest a part of the Change DIY restore? The decrease plastic tabs

Then I hit a critical snag. I attempted snapping the brand new cowl on, nevertheless it wouldn’t match. One backside plastic nook wouldn’t snap in. It appeared like the opening in my Change wasn’t deep sufficient for the tab.

I do not know what occurred right here. Nothing was left in my Change that I may see, and the rear cowl I eliminated was lacking that plastic tab fully. I couldn’t discover something on-line that matched my drawback.

It was time to improvise. I attempted sawing the plastic tab off.

I used a pocket knife and began gently attempting to take away the plastic tab from the rear cowl with out breaking the whole lot. That is the place I felt like I’d severely gone off-road. Amazingly, the tab broke off and I used to be in a position to snap the duvet on. Not supreme by any means, nevertheless it labored. 

The rear cowl was on, and all of the lacking items had been now hooked up. Issues appeared like they had been getting in the precise course. 

Final step: Screwing on the brand new Change again cowl (with warning)

I screwed the screws again in, in reverse order, backtracking by the steps I took within the first place. Tiny screws are even tougher to get again in than they’re to take out. I attempted reducing them in after which positioning them on the magnetic screwdriver, and really fastidiously screwing again in, not overtightening in any respect. I sweated. I’ll have stripped a couple of screws a bit. I’m by no means doing this once more, I informed myself.



Scott Stein/CNET

How lengthy does it take to restore your Nintendo Change? About an hour

I attempted to doc my repairs by propping up an iPad and exhibiting what I used to be doing. And I took issues actually slowly. It was about an hour of labor. I received actually careworn.  However I used to be rattling proud once I was accomplished. After which, I turned on the Change to ensure it labored. Sure, the whole lot appeared (and appears) nice. 

I did it.

I confirmed my son how the cracked again was all good and easy now, all nice.

He simply nodded and requested to play Animal Crossing.

I gave him the Change, and went to the kitchen to do dishes and make dinner. I felt extra certain of myself in a world the place I’ve been feeling uncontrolled. I took a breath. Repairs can occur, new abilities may be realized. Damaged Switches may be mounted. That is my little story of my very own anxieties. I hope you’re feeling assured sufficient and cautious sufficient to face yours, too.

For extra Nintendo Change fixes, take a look at find out how to repair Pleasure-Con drift. You can too check out CNET’s listing of finest video games in your Nintendo Change in 2021. 

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