New Horizons saves data to a new Switch

Worried about having to start over on AC: New Horizons if you get a New Switch? Good news, you don’t have to! Here’s how to continue your journey.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons took the gaming world by storm when it released in 2020, as it quickly became one of the best-selling games on the Nintendo Switch. Players were quickly swept up in the Animal Crossing obsession, with many spending hundreds, if not thousands, of hours painstakingly designing their islands.


This type of commitment is not something you can easily delete and start all over again. So what happens if you buy a new Nintendo Switch? Luckily, you can transfer your beloved Animal Crossing save data to a new Switch.

What do I need to transfer my Animal Crossing island to another Nintendo Switch?

There are plenty of exclusive titles on the Nintendo Switch, but Animal Crossing: New Horizons is something special. For many people, their island is their place of happiness, so being able to transfer all that hard work to a new Switch is essential.

To transfer your Animal Crossing save data to a new Switch, you’ll need three things. A Target Switch – this is the console you want to transfer the data to, a Source Switch – the one containing your Animal Crossing save data and Island Transfer Tool.

The Island Transfer Tool is an application available from Nintendo eShop. It’s free, so you don’t have to worry about spending money transferring your Animal Crossing save data. You will need to download the Island Transfer Tool on your original and new Nintendo Switch consoles.

Once you’ve downloaded the app on both consoles, it’s a good idea to create a new user on your source Switch. Indeed, the Nintendo Switch has a security function that does not allow two Nintendo Switches to use the same application simultaneously on the same user profile.

Animal Crossing save data is saved on the Switch itself, rather than the user, so creating a new one to safely move your save data won’t affect you in the long run. You will still be able to access your Animal Crossing island from your regular profile once the transfer is complete.


It’s also a good idea to make sure both Nintendo Switch consoles are connected to a charger while you’re transferring. If either console goes flat before the transfer is complete, all of your save data may be lost.

How do I transfer my Animal Crossing island to another Nintendo Switch?

Once these preparations are made, you are ready to transfer your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island to a new Nintendo Switch. Here’s how:

  1. Open the island transfer tool on your source console and press A.
  2. Hurry Continue.
  3. The app will notify you to plug both consoles into a charger. Once done, press OKAY.
  4. Hurry let’s start.
  5. Hurry Source.
  6. Wait for the app to locate the island data you want to transfer. Once done, press Yes.
  7. You will see a message telling you to wait until the other system prompts you.
  8. Open the Island Transfer Tool on the target console and follow the same prompts as before until you reach the screen that asks you to confirm if this is the target or source console. Hurry Target.
  9. Hurry Continue on the source console.
  10. Hurry Proceed on the target console. Consoles will now start searching for each other.
  11. Once they locate each other, a message will appear on the target console stating the name of the island. Confirm this is the island data you want to transfer and press Proceed.
  12. On the source console, confirm that the name of the console you want to transfer your island to is correct and press Continue.
  13. A final message will appear on both consoles confirming the transfer. Hurry Proceed on both consoles.
  14. Once the data has been transferred, close Island Transfer Tool on the target console and launch the game.
  15. Hurry Next.
  16. The game will ask you if you want to link existing data or start from scratch with a new island. Hurry Existing data.
  17. Hurry Show data to display a list of available residents.
  18. Select your villager.
  19. Hurry Yes.
  20. Hurry close.


The transfer is now complete and you can start playing again with all your favorite villagers on your island. Check out our Animal Crossing: New Horizons tips and tricks for more handy tips for making your island the best it can be.

Keep living your best island life

Transferring your Animal Crossing: New Horizons save data can be a stressful experience. But I hope that with the use of this guide, the transition to a new Nintendo Switch will be a little easier.

All in all, the transfer only takes a few minutes, and then you’re ready to continue living your best island life on your new Nintendo Switch console!

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