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.

Follow this guide on setting up EmuNAND on your fresh Nintendo Switch.

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.

Required Downloads:

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]

RCM Jigicon-amazon

  • A RCM Jig is required to enter your Switch into RCM mode (Recovery Mode)
  • They are relatively cheap and easy to acquire online

USB-C to USB-A Cableicon-amazon

  • 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

MicroSD Card (128GB or Larger Recommended)icon-amazon

  • 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.switch exfat system update

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.

  1. Select your MicroSD as the [Device]
  2. Set [Boot selection] to [Non bootable]
  3. Set [Partition scheme] to [MBR]
  4. You may name your SD card with [Volume label]
  5. Set [File system] to [Large FAT32]
  6. Set [Cluster size] to the Default settingswitch exfat fat32 format sd
  7. Select [Show advanced format options] and uncheck [Create extended label and icon files]switch exfat fat32 format sd advanced options
  8. 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

  1. Delete any pre-existing folders named atmosphere, sept and switch from the root of your SD card
  2. Extract the contents of the It Just Works: Atmosphere .zip file to the root of your SDswitch atmosphere sd folder
  3. Create a folder called payloads on your PC
  4. Copy the fusee-primary.bin to 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 CFWswitch atmosphere payloads folder
  5. Insert your SD card into your Switch but do not power it on

Enter RCM and Boot into Atmosphere CFW

  1. Install TegraRCMGui and the APX driver when promptedtegrarcmgui install apx driver
  2. Connect your Switch to your PC via USB and ensure it is powered off
  3. Enter RCM on your Nintendo Switch
    1. Insert your RCM Jig into the Right Joycon slot, sliding it all the way down
    2. Hold down the [Vol+] button and press the [Power] button, the Switch will now enter Recovery Mode (RCM) but the screen will stay offswitch rcm mode jig volume power button
  4. The icon in TegraRCMGui should now read [RCM O.K.]tegrarcmgui rcm ok
  5. Select the fusee-primary.bin file from the /payloads/ folder on your computer and click [Inject payload], your Nintendo Switch should now boot into Atmosphere CFWatmosphere neutos tegrarcmgui switch tinfoil payload bin rcm inject
Congratulations on successfully hacking your Nintendo Switch and booting into the Atmosphere CFW. We will now setup HBG Shop to download and install games without a PC.switch atmosphere splash

Setting Up HBG Shop (Tinfoil) and Downloading Games

  1. From the Switch Home screen, launch the Album to access the Homebrew Menuswitch atmosphere album homebrew menu
  2. Select [Tinfoil Installer] to install the Tinfoil application to your Switch Home menuswitch atmosphere tinfoil installer hb menu
  3. Once Tinfoil has loaded, select [New Games]switch tinfoil hbg shop new games
  4. Find the game you wish to install and press [A] to select it (use the [ZR] and [ZL] triggers to scroll faster)switch hbg shop tinfoil games
  5. Select [Install] and wait for the download to completeswitch tinfoil hbg shop install
  6. Once Installed, the game will appear in the Tinfoil [Installed] tab and your Switch Home menuswitch atmosphere tinfoil installed hbg shop home menu
  7. Press the [Home] button to exit Tinfoil and launch your newly installed game to playsonic mania switch

Congratulations on successfully hacking your Switch and setting up Atmosphere and Tinfoil / HBG Shop. Congratulations on setting up HBG Shop to download Switch and install games without a PC. You may now enjoy the Nintendo Switch’s great library of games with access to more homebrew and tools to enhance your experience. It is now strongly advised to use Incognito to protect your Nintendo Switch from bans via telemetry.

Next Steps and Homebrew Applications