The new Nintendo Switch image transfer system is so wild, it’s hard to believe it exists

‘Please scan the QR code twice every time you transfer’ – it in a nutshell

So uh, a new Switch firmware update is out, and it actually adds features! That’s good! But it’s a Nintendo update: so be careful what you wish for.

In a monkey’s paw of firmware, Nintendo has patched in the ability to transfer images “directly to your smartphone.” But I question how direct the whole process is. Strap in, it’s a bit weird.

In your standard image gallery, you can now select up to 10 images at a time to “send to your smartphone,” a new option thanks to the recent system update.

But there’s a catch. To do it, you’ll need to physically scan a QR code with your phone (gulp), then connect to a Wi-Fi network with the Switch (double gulp). You read that right: the first QR code creates a Wi-Fi connection, similar to plugging in smart devices in your home, to establish a connection.

From there, you need to scan a second QR code, which provides a browser address for the images in question. Then you can download them on your device, and manually choose where to send them after that. You need to repeat this process for each file transfer: it’s not a one-time deal. You’re generally better off using the new USB direct transfer feature.

Now let’s compare that digital image transfer process to the Xbox and PlayStation apps. There, you simply upload a file (Xbox does this automatically if you let it), open the app, and click the file. That’s it. On Xbox you can also upload files to OneDrive and access it from any device through a browser: which doesn’t even require a dedicated app. It “just works.”

Now it’s not like this extra step that Nintendo added takes anything away. In fact, I’ve used it a few times this morning and it does work. But like….imagine designing something this obtuse, and having it actually get approved. Nintendo has a smartphone app! The next step is wiping this process clean and streamlining it on that existing app. For now, you can scan QR codes.

Chris Carter
EIC, Reviews Director - Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step in January of 2009 blogging on the site. Now, he's staff!