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Downloading, Installing and Updating RetroArch for Switch

:warning: WARNING
You need to have Atmosphère custom firmware to run RetroArch on your Switch. Hardware or software changes on your device may damage your device.


Neither RetroArch nor LibRetro support or recommend that your device run CFW.

  • Atmosphère 1
  • FAT32 formatted SD card

Downloading and installing

There are multiple ways of downloading RetroArch for your Switch.

You can find a bundle with RetroArch, all the cores and all the assets here.

Just extract the archive to the root of your SD card to install or update your copy of RetroArch (overwrite any existing file).

Using the nightlies and/or the online updater (advanced users)

If you don't want to download all cores at once, you can go here and only pick the ones you want. Put the downloaded NROs in retroarch/cores on your SD card. You can run them directly using the homebrew menu.

Alternatively, you can download only one core and use the Online Updater inside of RetroArch to download or update additional cores later.

Running RetroArch using title takeover

The preferred way of running RetroArch is to use Atmosphère's title takeover feature. This allows you to (temporarily) replace a game with the homebrew loader, which will then be used to load RetroArch. Make sure to use the latest version of Atmosphère before continuing.

:warning: WARNING
You need at least one title on the console (whether it's a digitally puchased game or a demo or a cartridge game or even an homebrew NSP). If you can pick an up to date game that's better as you won't be nagged everytime you run it.

Atmosphère now contains everything needed to run homebrews out of the box. To do so, simply run any game while holding the R key. Make sure to hold the key until you can actually see the homebrew menu. Select RetroArch in the list to start!

If you wish to change the key, you can edit /atmosphere/loader.ini and change override_key here. You can add a ! in front of the key to flip the condition ("run homebrew if the key is pressed" versus "run homebrew if the key isn't pressed").


Updating RetroArch is the same as installing it, download a higher or lower version (in this case, downgrade) than the version you have and overwrite existing files.



Atmosphère is a work-in-progress customized firmware for the Nintendo Switch.


An NRO file is an executable file used by the Nintendo Switch. It contains compiled code for an application or game. NRO files may also store assets for Homebrew Launcher, such as a icon and metadata.