The Nintendo Switch Camera Where Is It and How Does It Work

The Nintendo Switch has captivated gamers worldwide with its blend of home console performance and portable convenience. One of the features that might not be as well-known is its camera capabilities. Unlike a traditional smartphone or tablet, the Nintendo Switch does not come with a visible external camera for taking photos or videos. However, it does include an infrared (IR) motion camera on one of the Joy-Con controllers, which has unique functions within certain games. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the IR motion camera, its location, how it operates, and dive into some creative ways to utilize this feature to enhance your gaming experience.

the nintendo switch camera where is it and how does it work

Joy-Con IR Motion Camera Usage

The Nintendo Switch’s camera isn’t meant for taking selfies or pictures. Instead, it is used in gaming. The right Joy-Con houses an IR motion camera that detects the shape, motion, and distance of objects in specially designed games.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Locate the IR Motion Camera: It’s at the bottom of the right Joy-Con, looking like a small, dark square.
  2. Enable games that use the IR camera, such as ‘1-2-Switch’ or ‘Ring Fit Adventure’.
  3. Follow in-game instructions to use the camera, usually involving specific gestures or motions.


The IR camera adds a unique level of interaction in compatible games. Its benefits are confined to creativity in gameplay, with the downside of limited utilization outside of supported titles.

Finding the Joy-Con IR Motion Camera

Discover where the infrared camera is on your Nintendo Switch and learn about its primary function in this section.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Ensure you have the right Joy-Con, which is typically colored red on the standard Switch.
  2. Flip the Joy-Con to view the bottom, and locate the small black square below the SL and SR buttons.
  3. Understand that this camera is used to detect motion and distance rather than take pictures.


Locating the IR camera enables users to explore its functionalities. However, its use is game-dependent and may not serve all players.

Enabling IR Motion Camera Features

Some Switch games require additional steps to activate the IR camera functionalities, which can vastly change your gaming experience.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Check the game’s compatibility with the IR camera. Refer to the game’s back cover or online description for this information.
  2. Insert the right Joy-Con into the required accessory, if any, as instructed by the game.
  3. Start the game and follow on-screen prompts to enable the IR camera features.


This option allows players to experience enhanced gameplay with certain titles, though it does have a learning curve for those unfamiliar with the technology.

Adjusting the Room’s Lighting

Optimizing the room’s lighting can make a big difference in how well the IR motion camera works during gameplay.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Play in a well-lit room, but avoid direct sunlight or reflections that can interfere with the IR camera.
  2. Test the camera’s responsiveness by adjusting the lighting and observing any improvement in detection.
  3. Use trial and error to find the best lighting environment for your play session.


Proper lighting can influence the camera’s performance positively, but be aware that it may take some time to find the perfect setup.

Maintaining the Joy-Con

Keeping the Joy-Con clean and in good working order is essential for the optimal performance of the IR motion camera.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Regularly wipe the camera’s lens gently with a soft, dry cloth.
  2. Avoid exposing the camera to dust and debris.
  3. Store the Joy-Con in a safe place when not in use to prevent damage to the camera.


Maintaining your controller can lead to improved camera functionality, but accidental damage may still occur and affect performance.

Expert Calibration

In some cases, you may need to calibrate the Joy-Con’s IR motion camera for it to work correctly with certain games.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Go to the Switch System Settings menu.
  2. Navigate to Controllers and Sensors.
  3. Select ‘Calibrate Control Sticks’ and then ‘Calibrate Motion Controls’ to adjust the IR Motion Camera.


Calibration can greatly enhance responsiveness, but it requires a level of patience and precision that may be challenging for some users.

Usage in Creative Projects

Outside of gaming, the Joy-Con’s IR camera can be used for educational or creative projects that involve motion detection.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Research community projects or educational kits that leverage the IR camera.
  2. Follow instructions to set up these projects, often involving programming or connecting other devices.
  3. Experiment with the IR camera to create unique interactive experiences.


The IR camera’s potential can extend beyond gaming into creative realms, offering a rewarding but somewhat niche application.

Accessorizing for Better Performance

Certain accessories might enhance your experience with the IR motion camera, from grips to protectors.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Identify accessories designed to work with the IR camera.
  2. Install these accessories according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Test the camera’s performance with the new accessories to ensure compatibility.


Accessories can offer protection and enhanced utility for the IR camera. Still, they might represent an additional expense and may not be universally compatible.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

If the IR motion camera isn’t working as expected, you may need to resolve the issue through troubleshooting.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Ensure the camera lens is clean and unobstructed.
  2. Restart the Nintendo Switch and reconnect the Joy-Con.
  3. Check for any software updates for your Switch or the specific game using the IR camera.


Troubleshooting can fix common issues but may require multiple attempts or further research if problems persist.

Exploring the Joy-Con IR Motion Camera’s Capabilities

A deeper look into the camera’s capabilities could unlock new ways of enjoying your Nintendo Switch.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Play through all the IR camera-compatible games to fully understand its range of uses.
  2. Participate in online forums or groups to learn how others are using the camera.
  3. Share your findings and experiment with the camera in new and unexpected ways.


Exploring its capabilities can expand your gaming experience, though such exploration might not appeal to all users.

In conclusion, the Nintendo Switch’s IR motion camera is a unique feature that breaks the mold of traditional gaming interactions. Though it may not be widely utilized as a standard camera, its specialized applications in certain games and creative projects open a novel avenue for interactive play. Understanding and maintaining the camera will ensure that whenever you come across a compatible game, you’ll be ready to jump into an immersive and responsive gaming experience.


Q: Can the Nintendo Switch’s camera take pictures or videos?
A: No, the Nintendo Switch does not have a camera for taking pictures or videos like a tablet or phone. Its IR motion camera is solely for detecting movement and distance in specific games and applications.

Q: What games use the Nintendo Switch’s IR motion camera?
A: Notable games that use the IR motion camera include ‘1-2-Switch’, where it detects hand shapes in certain minigames, and ‘Ring Fit Adventure’, which uses it to monitor the player’s heart rate. Check the game descriptions to see if the title supports the IR camera.

Q: Do I need to buy any additional accessories to use the IR motion camera on the Switch?
A: Generally, no additional accessories are required to use the built-in IR motion camera. However, certain games may come with or recommend specific peripherals that utilize the camera, such as the ‘Ring Con’ for ‘Ring Fit Adventure’.

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