How to Delete Games and Apps From Nintendo 3DS

The Nintendo 3DS offers a world of entertainment with its vast range of games and applications, but there may come a time when you need to clear up space or simply declutter your device. Whether it’s to make room for new titles, to troubleshoot, or to prepare for a resale, understanding how to properly remove unwanted content from your 3DS can enhance your gaming experience and device performance. Fear not, as the process is designed with users in mind, requiring no technical expertise. Let’s walk through various methods to help you manage your 3DS storage efficiently and effectively.

how to delete games and apps from nintendo 3ds

Managing Software via Settings

Before you delete anything, knowing how to navigate the system settings is crucial. The Nintendo 3DS is equipped with a straightforward interface that allows users to view and manage their installed software.

  1. From the HOME menu, select the System Settings icon (it resembles a wrench).
  2. Tap “Data Management.”
  3. Now, tap “Nintendo 3DS.” Here, you will find options to manage both downloadable software and save data.
  4. Select “Software” to view a list of all games and apps you have downloaded.
  5. Choose the title you wish to delete and tap “Delete.”
  6. Confirm your choice by selecting “Delete” again, and the software will be uninstalled.

Summary: This method provides a centralized location to manage your 3DS content. It’s useful for keeping your library organized and making bulk deletions simpler. However, be cautious as deleting a game or app also removes its related save data and cannot be undone.

Using the HOME Menu

Sometimes, you might want to delete a game directly from the HOME menu for a quicker process. This method is convenient for handling content individually and on-the-fly.

  1. Navigate to the HOME menu.
  2. Use the touchscreen or the circle pad to select the title you want to remove.
  3. Tap and hold the icon until it becomes movable, then select “Delete” from the drop-down menu.
  4. Confirm your decision by selecting “Delete” again, and the software will be uninstalled.

Summary: Deleting directly from the HOME menu is efficient and fuss-free, ideal for when you want to quickly remove specific titles. However, it’s important to remember that this process also deletes all save data associated with the app.

Reducing Save Data

If your primary goal is to free up space, you might consider reducing save data before deleting the entire game or app. Some titles have large save files that take up significant space.

  1. From the HOME menu, select the System Settings icon.
  2. Tap “Data Management.”
  3. Next, tap on “Nintendo 3DS” followed by “Extra Data.”
  4. You will see a list of extra data; some games store additional data separate from your save files here.
  5. Select the data you want to reduce or remove, then tap “Delete.”

Summary: By removing only the extra data, you preserve the game itself and its main save file. This is a useful approach if you’re not ready to part with the game but need to free up some space. Be aware though, that some game features might be affected by the loss of this data.

Archiving Software

Deleting games and apps is not the only way to free up space. Archiving titles leaves the game’s icon on your HOME menu and preserves the save data while removing the game file itself.

  1. On the HOME menu, select the software title you wish to archive, and tap “Options.”
  2. Tap “Archive Software” followed by “Archive” to confirm.
  3. The game is now archived, and the save data remains intact.

Summary: Archiving is beneficial for users who may want to redownload the game in the future without losing progress. However, the disadvantage is that you must redownload the game to access it again, which requires an internet connection.

Resetting the System Memory

For those looking to revamp their device entirely, resetting the system memory will delete all games and apps at once.

  1. Select System Settings from the HOME menu.
  2. Scroll to the “Other Settings” tab and tap on it.
  3. Scroll right to find “Format System Memory” and tap it.
  4. Follow the on-screen prompts to reset your system.

Summary: A system reset can be useful if you are experiencing software problems or preparing the device for resale. However, this option is irreversible and should be used with caution as it will delete ALL data on the device.

Individual App Deletion

Certain applications may have a built-in option to delete their own data. This can be a handy way to manage space without affecting other areas of your device.

  1. Open the application you wish to manage.
  2. Look for an in-app option for data management; this may be in the settings menu or on the title screen.
  3. Follow the in-app instructions to delete or manage data.

Summary: This method allows for control over specific app data directly within the app, minimizing the risk of accidentally deleting unrelated content. However, availability varies and not all applications support this feature.

Removing Downloaded Content

If you’ve purchased content that you no longer wish to keep, you can remove these downloads easily. This includes videos, demos, and other downloadable media.

  1. From the HOME menu, select System Settings.
  2. Tap on “Data Management” followed by “Nintendo 3DS.”
  3. Choose “Add-on Content” to view downloadable items.
  4. Select the item you wish to delete and tap “Delete.”

Summary: Removing downloads helps to streamline your storage without touching your main games and apps. However, like other deletions, this process is not reversible, so ensure that you are certain before proceeding.

MicroSD Card Management

Some 3DS models allow for additional storage via a microSD card. Managing data on this card is an excellent way to organize your space effectively.

  1. Power off your 3DS and remove the microSD card.
  2. Insert the microSD card into your computer’s card reader.
  3. Navigate to the card’s directory and manually delete unwanted files or back up data to your computer.
  4. Eject the card properly and re-insert it into your 3DS.

Summary: This method allows for bulk management and backup of your data, yet it requires a computer with a card reader and some basic knowledge of file structures. Proceed carefully to avoid the loss of valuable data.

Updating Software

Occasionally, software updates can resolve performance issues without the need to delete and reinstall apps or games.

  1. Select the title you wish to update on the HOME menu.
  2. Press the options button and select “Software Update” followed by “Via the Internet.”
  3. Allow the device to download and install any available updates.

Summary: An update can sometimes free up space due to optimizations and can improve your experience with the software. However, it will not always result in saved space and generally should not be relied upon as a method for managing storage.

Using the Download Management

The Download Management screen offers a view of what you’ve downloaded and what could be removed. It’s more about keeping track than an actual deletion tool.

  1. On the HOME menu, select the orange wrapped package icon to open Download Management.
  2. Here, you can view your download history.
  3. While deletion is not directly available, you can identify large files you may wish to remove using other methods.

Summary: This method is beneficial to identify space hogs but does not delete them directly. It’s a good starting point for a comprehensive cleanup strategy.

Contacting Support

When all else fails, or you’re unsure, contact Nintendo’s customer support for guidance. They can provide step-by-step advice tailored to your particular issue.

  1. Visit the Nintendo website and navigate to the support section.
  2. Choose the option to contact support via phone, chat, or email.
  3. Describe your issue accurately to the support representative for the best assistance.

Summary: Reaching out to support can offer peace of mind and ensure you don’t accidentally delete something important. However, it can be time-consuming and may not be necessary for simpler tasks.


Managing your Nintendo 3DS software and data is a straightforward process that can significantly improve your device’s functionality and organization. Whether it’s deleting individual titles, managing save data, or performing a full system reset, the key is to proceed carefully and be sure of your actions. Regular maintenance and management of your 3DS can extend your device’s lifespan and make your gaming experience more enjoyable.


  1. Will I lose save data if I delete a game from my Nintendo 3DS?
    Yes, deleting a game or app from your 3DS typically removes all associated save data unless you’ve used the archive function or backed up data onto a computer from a microSD card.

  2. Can I re-download a game after I’ve deleted it from my 3DS?
    If you’ve purchased a game from the Nintendo eShop, you can re-download it at any time as long as it’s still available on the shop and you’re using the same Nintendo Network ID.

  3. Does archive a game on the 3DS free up as much space as deleting it?
    Archiving frees up space by removing the game file but not the save data, so it will free up slightly less space than a full deletion. However, it offers the convenience of preserving your progress.

You may also like

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in How-To