How to Turn Off a Nintendo Switch Controller

Playing on the Nintendo Switch is a load of fun, but knowing how to properly turn off your controllers can help save battery life and ensure they last for many gaming sessions to come. Whether you’ve just completed a marathon session of your favorite game or you’re tidying up your living space, shutting off your Switch controllers is a simple process that you can master in no time. Let’s walk through several methods and tips to power down your controllers, so you can keep them in tip-top shape.

how to turn off a nintendo switch controller

Disconnecting via the Controllers Menu

If you’re looking to turn off your Nintendo Switch controllers, an easy way to do this is by using the ‘Controllers’ menu on your Switch console.

  1. Power on your Nintendo Switch console.
  2. Select ‘Controllers’ from the main screen.
  3. Choose ‘Change Grip/Order’.
  4. Once you are in the ‘Change Grip/Order’ screen, simply press and hold the small circular button located on the top of the controller for a few seconds until the lights go out, indicating that it is turned off.

This method is handy since it can be used at any time, even mid-game, without affecting your gameplay or progress. It’s a quick fix to extend your controller’s battery life when not in use. However, it does require you to navigate the console’s menu, which might not be ideal for everyone.

Powering Down with the Console

Turning off your controllers can also be done by powering down the Nintendo Switch console itself.

  1. Hold down the power button on the console until a power menu appears on the screen.
  2. Select ‘Power Options’.
  3. Choose ‘Turn Off’ to completely power down the console and the connected controllers.

By turning off the console, you ensure that all connected controllers are turned off as well. This method is beneficial as it guarantees that your controllers won’t stay on accidentally and drain their batteries. The downside to this method is that you won’t be able to use your console or controllers again until you manually power them back on.

Using the Joy-Con Charging Grip

Another effective way to turn off your Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers is by using the Joy-Con Charging Grip accessory.

  1. Slide your Joy-Con controllers into the Charging Grip.
  2. Connect the USB cable from the Charging Grip to your Nintendo Switch dock or another USB power source.
  3. Press and hold the small circular button on the top of each Joy-Con for a few seconds until the lights turn off, indicating they are powered down.

Using the Charging Grip not only turns off your Joy-Con controllers but also charges them when they’re not in use, making sure they’re always ready for your next gaming session. The drawback is the additional cost if you do not already own a Charging Grip.

Putting Controllers to Sleep Automatically

Joy-Con controllers and the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller can be set to automatically turn off when not in use for a certain period.

  1. From the Switch’s home screen, go to ‘System Settings’.
  2. Scroll down and select ‘Sleep Mode’.
  3. Choose ‘Auto-Sleep(Playing on Console Screen)’ and/or ‘Auto-Sleep(Connected to TV)’ and select the desired time until auto-sleep.

This is an efficient, hands-off approach that ensures your controllers will turn off after a period of inactivity. This auto-sleep feature can prevent unnecessary battery drainage and prolong the life of your controllers. The downside is that if you take a short break, you might have to resync your controllers when you return.

Using the Synchronization Button

For some situations, like troubleshooting or simply wanting to make sure your controller is off, using the synchronization button on the controller can also turn it off.

  1. Locate the small synchronization button on your controller; it’s different depending on the controller type.
  2. For Joy-Cons, it’s a small black button located between the SL and SR buttons.
  3. For the Pro Controller, it’s near the USB-C port.
  4. Press and hold the button for a few seconds, and the controller will turn off.

This method is straightforward and doesn’t involve navigating through any menus on your Switch console. However, it’s important to remember that the next time you wish to use your controller, you may need to re-sync it to your console.

Attaching to the Switch Console

By simply attaching your Joy-Con controllers to the console, you can also turn them off.

  1. Slide the Joy-Con controllers into the rails on the side of the Nintendo Switch console until they click into place.
  2. Press the power button on the Switch to enter sleep mode or turn off the system.

As the Joy-Cons charge while being attached to the console, this method is convenient for keeping them charged and turning them off simultaneously. However, it is not applicable for the Pro Controller.

Going into the Nintendo Switch’s Sleep Mode

Using the Nintendo Switch’s Sleep Mode is another way to manage your controllers indirectly.

  1. Briefly press the power button on the console to enter Sleep Mode.
  2. The console and controllers will enter a low power state, significantly conserving battery life.

This won’t turn the controllers off entirely, but it does significantly reduce their power usage. It’s a quick and effortless way to conserve battery life without fully powering down your console or controllers.

Disconnecting Controllers via System Settings

For a more in-depth method, you can disconnect controllers through the System Settings.

  1. Go to the home screen on your Nintendo Switch and select ‘System Settings’.
  2. Scroll down and select ‘Controllers and Sensors’.
  3. Choose ‘Disconnect Controllers’.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to detach the controllers you wish to turn off.

This approach is ideal for managing multiple controllers or if you wish to change which controllers are actively connected to your Switch. It does involve several steps and navigating the system menu, which might be a bit cumbersome for everyday use.

Rebooting the Nintendo Switch

If all else fails or if you are encountering issues with your controllers, rebooting the Nintendo Switch can help.

  1. Hold down the power button on the console until the power options appear.
  2. Select ‘Restart’ to reboot the console and reset all connections, including controller connections.

Note that while this method effectively turns off the controllers, it’s typically used for troubleshooting rather than as a daily solution.

Charging Dock Turn Off

For those using a separate charging dock or station for their Pro Controller, removing the controller from the dock when not in use can help preserve battery life.

  1. Simply remove the Pro Controller from the charging dock.
  2. Hold down the power button on the controller until the lights turn off.

While this is a straightforward method, it doesn’t apply to Joy-Con controllers and relies on you having a separate charging dock for your Pro Controller.

Each of these methods allows for turning off your controllers to save battery life, which is beneficial for the longevity of your device. Moreover, preventing burnout and power drain means you’re always ready for your next gaming adventure. However, remembering to turn off your controllers can be an extra step you need to get used to, and in certain cases, you might need to re-sync your controllers when you turn them back on.

In conclusion, learning to power down your Nintendo Switch controllers is as vital as charging them. It ensures they are ready and responsive for every gaming session and extends their longevity. Now that we’ve gone through various methods to turn off your Nintendo Switch controllers, along with some helpful tips, you can choose the one that best suits your routine. And remember, it’s the little things, like caring for your gaming accessories, that contribute to a smooth and enjoyable gaming experience.


Q: Do I need to turn off my Nintendo Switch controllers after each use?
A: While it’s not mandatory, turning off your controllers can save battery life and prevent wear and tear from unnecessary power drain when they’re not in use.

Q: Can I turn off my Nintendo Switch controllers using just the console, without physically interacting with the controllers?
A: Yes, you can either power down the console, put it into Sleep Mode, or use the ‘Disconnect Controllers’ option in the ‘System Settings’ to turn off the controllers.

Q: What should I do if my Nintendo Switch controller won’t turn off?
A: Try rebooting your Nintendo Switch by holding down the power button and selecting ‘Restart’. If the problem persists, you might need to reset the controller by using the small circular button found on the top of each Joy-Con or Pro Controller.

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