Nintendo finally adds Bluetooth audio to the Switch in new software update

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge Nintendo has surprise-announced that Bluetooth audio support has come to the Switch through a software update. The ability to use Bluetooth headphones to listen to game audio has been a conspicuously missing feature since the console launched in 2017, so it’s great to finally have it — though there are some limitations. According to a Nintendo support article, you’ll be limited to using two wireless controllers if you’ve got a Bluetooth headset attached. The system also won’t support Bluetooth microphones, which isn’t necessarily surprising given that Nintendo’s own voice chat system relies on an app running on your phone. Still, it’s a bummer for people who play games with their own built-in voice chat abilities. The latest #NintendoSwitch update is now available, including the ability to pair Bluetooth devices for audio output.For more information, including restrictions on some features while using Bluetooth Audio, please visit the support page: https://t.co/vzAB6lZTDu pic.twitter.com/6J5xcDl5kU— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) September 15, 2021 People have gone through great lengths to get wireless audio on their Switch (we even said that it’d be a great selling point for a Switch Pro): there have been accessories that acted as Bluetooth audio adapters, and some headsets like the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless came with a dongle that took advantage of the Switch’s support for USB wireless headphones. Having Bluetooth audio built-in is a big deal, though (especially given that Nintendo’s Pro Controller, unlike many others, doesn’t include a headphone jack). Even with the aforementioned limitations, the feature seems to be well-supported — Nintendo says that the Switch can save up to 10 connected devices, and says that it should work with both the regular Switch and the Switch Lite. My colleague Jay Peters was able to connect his AirPods Pro to the base Switch (not a Lite) without much trouble. In the settings menu, there’s a section for “Bluetooth Audio,” and you can pair your headphones from there by following the instructions. The AirPods Pro worked well in a few rounds of WarioWare: Get It Together, with no noticeable delay — something that’s particularly important for WarioWare’s fast-paced, twitchy microgames. Jay also reports that after a cold boot, his AirPods Pro paired nearly instantly after selecting them again in the settings menu. However, Sean Hollister’s second-generation Switch (also not a Lite) had trouble finding and connecting to any Bluetooth devices whatsoever. He tried with an Arctis Pro Wireless, first-gen Amazon Echo Buds, the Wyze Buds Pro, a Bluetooth adapter for the Bose QC25 and even an LG TV set, but none of them would pair with his Switch. The gaming system spit out an “Unable to find Bluetooth audio devices” message even after repeated attempts and multiple reboots. We’ll let you know if he fixes it. Developing...

Nintendo finally adds Bluetooth audio to the Switch in new software update
Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Nintendo has surprise-announced that Bluetooth audio support has come to the Switch through a software update. The ability to use Bluetooth headphones to listen to game audio has been a conspicuously missing feature since the console launched in 2017, so it’s great to finally have it — though there are some limitations.

According to a Nintendo support article, you’ll be limited to using two wireless controllers if you’ve got a Bluetooth headset attached. The system also won’t support Bluetooth microphones, which isn’t necessarily surprising given that Nintendo’s own voice chat system relies on an app running on your phone. Still, it’s a bummer for people who play games with their own built-in voice chat abilities.

People have gone through great lengths to get wireless audio on their Switch (we even said that it’d be a great selling point for a Switch Pro): there have been accessories that acted as Bluetooth audio adapters, and some headsets like the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless came with a dongle that took advantage of the Switch’s support for USB wireless headphones.

Having Bluetooth audio built-in is a big deal, though (especially given that Nintendo’s Pro Controller, unlike many others, doesn’t include a headphone jack). Even with the aforementioned limitations, the feature seems to be well-supported — Nintendo says that the Switch can save up to 10 connected devices, and says that it should work with both the regular Switch and the Switch Lite.

My colleague Jay Peters was able to connect his AirPods Pro to the base Switch (not a Lite) without much trouble. In the settings menu, there’s a section for “Bluetooth Audio,” and you can pair your headphones from there by following the instructions.

The AirPods Pro worked well in a few rounds of WarioWare: Get It Together, with no noticeable delay — something that’s particularly important for WarioWare’s fast-paced, twitchy microgames. Jay also reports that after a cold boot, his AirPods Pro paired nearly instantly after selecting them again in the settings menu.

However, Sean Hollister’s second-generation Switch (also not a Lite) had trouble finding and connecting to any Bluetooth devices whatsoever. He tried with an Arctis Pro Wireless, first-gen Amazon Echo Buds, the Wyze Buds Pro, a Bluetooth adapter for the Bose QC25 and even an LG TV set, but none of them would pair with his Switch. The gaming system spit out an “Unable to find Bluetooth audio devices” message even after repeated attempts and multiple reboots. We’ll let you know if he fixes it.

Developing...