Can You Play Nintendo Switch Without Internet?

While there are some games that require WiFi, most Nintendo titles can be bought, run, and played without ever using the internet.

I’m a huge Nintendo fan who’s owned the Switch since its initial release. It is that experience, mixed with additional research on how the console interacts with online play, that enabled me to write the below article.

In this guide, I take a deep look at the different ways you can use a Nintendo Switch without the internet. To do that, I go over how the console operates, which games can be played offline, and the features you can only use with WiFi.

Key Takeaways

  • Any single or local co-op Switch game that is inside or downloaded onto the console can be played without internet access.
  • Though you can play the Switch without a WiFi connection, you will not be able to access features like downloads, certain apps, and the eStore.
  • Most large titles on the Switch, including Zelda and Mario, do not need the internet to work. There are plenty of great local co-op and multiplayer games you can run too.

An Online, and Offline, Console

Once upon a time, all video games were offline. However, with the recent rise of the internet and the increase in connectivity, things have changed. There are many online-only titles, and systems have become much more dependent on apps to enhance their user experience.

Despite that, there are plenty of ways to enjoy systems without WiFi. The Switch is no exception. The versatile system is meant to be used on the go. While sometimes that means running it with the internet, there are a lot of times when it can be used without it.

The Switch is an online-enabled device, which means there are many features that only operate with an active internet connection. Even so, there are plenty of offline features as well. I myself play my Switch on airplanes without WiFi anytime I’m on a long trip.

If you don’t access the internet, you can do anything with your Switch that doesn’t require downloading files, accessing a server, or going on the eShop. 

Playing Switch Games Without Internet

You’re able to play Switch games in offline mode as long as you own a physical game cartridge, or if you already have them downloaded to your console when you attempt to access them. If a game hasn’t been downloaded yet, it’s inaccessible unless you have WiFi.

On top of that, there are some games that specifically require an internet connection to work. Titles like Fall Guys and Fortnite need other players and don’t work without WiFi. If a game doesn’t fall into that category, and you own it, it can be played whenever.

There are many amazing titles that you can run on the system without accessing the internet, including Zelda, Mario, and Pokemon titles. The console has a range of great online-only games, but it excels through its single-player options as well.

Enjoying Your Switch Offline

There are several ways you can enjoy your Switch without internet access, and they all make it easy to just grab and play no matter where you are. However, the device is designed to work with WiFi, and there are some features that won’t work without it.

One of the most prominent is accessing your Nintendo Account. You’ll have no way of getting to your information, which also restricts your ability to check into the eShop. Downloads and updates will both be restricted as well.

There have been more than a few times in my life where I wanted to purchase a new game, but couldn’t get it until I got back home to a reliable internet connection. That wait can be annoying, but it’s a minor inconvenience in the long run.

Online games, of course, are restricted as well. That being said, local multiplier and couch co-op are both offline ways to enjoy using your Switch with friends. That’s a lost art in today’s world, but games like It Takes Two are perfect games towards that end.

Just be aware that being offline limits your storage capacity. Keep your Switch’s firmware updated as best you can and get an SD card to increase the device’s storage when possible. That will give you more options and not make you reliable on the internet for new titles.

Downloading apps also enables you to enjoy movies or TV shows when you’re out of WiFi range. Just be sure to save such titles to your system when you have internet.


These are a few of the largest questions users ask about playing their Switch offline.

Can I Play My Switch on an Airplane?

Yes. One of the biggest benefits of the Switch is the ability to play it in handheld mode. That, combined with its slim shell, allow you to use it just about anywhere. That includes airplanes.

How Many Games Can a Switch Hold?

The Switch can hold as many games as its storage allows. The standard 32GB model holds between four and eight, while the 64GB gives you eight to sixteen. Any added space )through something like an SD card) only goes up from there.

Why Can’t I Play My Switch Games Offline?

If you’re experiencing issues with using or playing already downloaded Switch games offline, it’s likely due to an account error. Always make sure you’re using the primary console for the account that bought the games.

Final Words

The Switch is a great system that works well with WiFi, but it can also be used without it. As long as you buy physical games or download them beforehand, you’ll have zero issues enjoying such titles when you’re somewhere without internet access.

Do you ever play your Switch offline? Where do you typically bring it in such situations? What single-player or couch co-op titles do you like the most? Let us know in the comments below!

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