Hack your Nintendo Switch and Install Games - HBG Shop (Tinfoil)
This guide will show you how to hack your unpatched Nintendo Switch and install Atmosphere custom firmware with Tinfoil + HBG Shop so you can download games directly to your Switch SD card. You will also have access to various homebrew applications such as cheat managers, emulators, offline updates and more.
Huge thanks to JackInTheShop for creating this Atmosphere (sigpatches) + Tinfoil pack.
It is advised that you create a full backup of your Nintendo Switch system before you begin. You will be able to use the backup file to restore your Switch back to a clean, pre-hacked status at any time if anything ever goes wrong.
“The best backup is the one you never need, the worst backup is the one you never made.”
You should never attempt to play online once you have installed a custom firmware on your Nintendo Switch due to the high likelihood of a ban. If you wish to play online AND have access to homebrew features, you can setup an emulated Switch storage (EmuMMC / EmuNAND) partition on your SD card. This means a copy of your Switch internal storage containing custom firmware can be run directly from the SD card without leaving any files on your actual console.
This will allow you to boot into both custom firmware and the stock firmware on the same Switch, without ‘contaminating' the console's internal storage. This is only recommended if you have NEVER used custom firmware on the console before.
If you wish to remove custom firmware and start ‘fresh', follow this guide on using Haku33 to ‘clean' your Switch NAND.
Unpatched Nintendo Switch
- Not all Nintendo Switch consoles can be hacked; your Switch must be an earlier model (determined by the serial number) that is vulnerable to the fusee-gelee exploit
- Visit ismyswitchpatched.com and enter your Switch's serial number (found on the white strip next to the USB port) to check if your Switch is hackable
- The serial number can also be found from the Nintendo Switch Home menu in [System Settings] -> [Settings] -> [Serial Information]
- A RCM Jig is required to enter your Switch into RCM mode (Recovery Mode)
- They are relatively cheap and easy to acquire online
- A USB-C to USB-A cable is required to connect your Nintendo Switch to your PC
- USB-C to USB-C cable can also be used if your computer features a USB-C port
- An SD card (and reader) is required to install and launch homebrew on your Nintendo Switch
- Your SD card must be formatted as FAT32 if your Switch does not have the ExFAT driver installed
- If you are unsure, use FAT32 to avoid errors.
- The ExFAT driver can be installed manually without updating firmware after successfully hacking the console
- 128GB or more is recommended for storing games
- 64GB or larger is required to make a full backup of your Switch so it is highly recommended as a minimum
Wi-Fi Internet Connection
- An internet connection is required to download games from the HBG Shop
Formatting SD Card to FAT32 (Optional)
If you are using a new SD card that is formatted to exFAT, it may not be compatible with your Switch without the exFAT update installed. Upon entering an exFAT SD card for the first time, your Switch will display a warning that a system update is required.
This system update will update your firmware to the latest version. To prevent this, it is recommended to format your SD card to FAT32 and install the exFAT driver with homebrew later if you wish to do so. FAT32 does carry some limitations such as not being able to store files larger than 4GB, however some users have reported instability and data loss with exFAT SD cards. Many have also found no problems with exFAT but there are many workarounds for the limitations so it is generally recommended to use FAT32.
Windows is unable to format SD cards larger than 32GB to FAT32 so we will be using a well-known portable software tool called Rufus to accomplish this. This will delete all the files on your SD card so create a backup of any files you wish to keep.
- Select your MicroSD as the [Device]
- Set [Boot selection] to [Non bootable]
- Set [Partition scheme] to [MBR]
- You may name your SD card with [Volume label]
- Set [File system] to [Large FAT32]
- Set [Cluster size] to the Default setting
- Select [Show advanced format options] and uncheck [Create extended label and icon files]
- Select [START] -> [OK] and wait for the process to complete
Congratulations, you've now formatted your SD card to FAT32 and can begin hacking your Nintendo Switch
Preparing SD Card
- Delete any pre-existing folders named
switchfrom the root of your SD cardYou will not lose any save game data as this is usually stored on the Switch's internal memory. Album photos and installed games are stored in the
/Nintendo/folder. Create backups of your previous homebrew apps from the
/switch/folder if you wish keep them.
- Extract the contents of the It Just Works: Atmosphere
.zipfile to the root of your SD
- Create a folder called
payloadson your PC
- Copy the
/payloads/folder on your PC, this is the payload file that will be pushed from the computer to your Switch to boot into Atmosphere CFW
- Insert your SD card into your Switch but do not power it on
Enter RCM and Boot into Atmosphere CFW
- Install TegraRCMGui and the APX driver when promptedIf you are not prompted to install the APX driver, go to the [Settings] tab and click [Install Driver]
- Connect your Switch to your PC via USB and ensure it is powered off
- Enter RCM on your Nintendo Switch
- Insert your RCM Jig into the Right Joycon slot, sliding it all the way down
- Hold down the [Vol+] button and press the [Power] button, the Switch will now enter Recovery Mode (RCM) but the screen will stay off
- The icon in TegraRCMGui should now read [RCM O.K.]
- Select the
fusee-primary.binfile from the
/payloads/folder on your computer and click [Inject payload], your Nintendo Switch should now boot into Atmosphere CFW
Setting Up HBG Shop (Tinfoil) and Downloading Games
- From the Switch Home screen, launch the Album to access the Homebrew Menu
- Select [Tinfoil Installer] to install the Tinfoil application to your Switch Home menu
- Once Tinfoil has loaded, select [New Games]
- Find the game you wish to install and press [A] to select it (use the [ZR] and [ZL] triggers to scroll faster)
- Select [Install] and wait for the download to completeYou may choose the installation location (SD Card / Internal Storage) and install additional updates or DLC also.
- Once Installed, the game will appear in the Tinfoil [Installed] tab and your Switch Home menu
- Press the [Home] button to exit Tinfoil and launch your newly installed game to play
Congratulations on setting up HBG Shop to download Switch and install games without a PC. Games installed via the HBG Shop will only be playable via Atmosphere CFW and will not run under the Switch's stock Horizon OS.
Creators of HBG Shop have chosen not feature Nintendo's first-party developed games such as the Mario, Zelda or Pokemon series. For access to first-party games, you must add additional locations (download sources) in the File Browser tab.
Using HBG Shop to Download First-Party Titles
- From the HBG Shop menu, select the [File Browser] tab then press the [-] button to add another entry
- Set Protocol as https
- Set Host as tiny.cc
- Set Path as CarrotShopShops that include first-party titles often change url or go offline, search online for alternatives if you are ever in need of additional hbgshop locations. Check this list for some additional shop suggestions.
- Press the [X] button and wait for the app to refresh
- First-Party Nintendo games will now be available in the [New Games] tab for downloadSimply close and restart the Tinfoil application if the games do not appear at first
Congratulations on successfully hacking your Switch and setting up Atmosphere and Tinfoil / HBG Shop. You may now enjoy the Nintendo Switch's great library of games with access to more homebrew and tools to enhance your exerience. It is now strongly advised to use Incognito to protect your Nintendo Switch from bans via telemetry.