Animal Crossing New Horizons’ Island and Resident transfer app is now finally available

At long last Nintendo has released a mechanism to move your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island from one Switch to another. You can also ‘move out’ one resident to a new island or to another existing island – something we weren’t expecting.

Nintendo added an island backup feature a number of months ago, and while this did backup your island into the cloud (providing you subscribe to Nintendo Switch Online) it could only be retrieved by phoning Nintendo Support and only after you lost or had your Switch stolen – not ideal.

This now means there are three ways to move your island and it’s residents around. The first two are the new ones.

Entire Island Transfer

This moves your entire island to a new console, you must have both the old and new consoles to do this. When you transfer your island it will no longer be playable on the older one.

To do this you’ll need to download the transfer tool.

Keep in mind that…

  • Both your new and old Nintendo Switch consoles should be updated to the latest firmware
  • Both copies of Animal Crossing New Horizons should be updated to the latest version on both systems
  • If you have bought an entirely new Switch with nothing on it, do a save data transfer first. This will put your user account and save game data from games that aren’t Animal Crossing on your new Switch. The old switch will retain the Animal Crossing save but under a blank “User”. You can then use the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Island Transfer Tool.

Resident Move (Single Player Transfer)

This will move one resident off your island to a new or existing New Horizons Island on another console. If you want to kick off your little brother from your island, this is the way to do it.

Island Backup and Restore

This is the existing method of island backup and you should have it on just in case. This means Nintendo can restore your island to a new system should yours be lost of stolen.

Nintendo’s full and detailed instructions are here.

We could copy and paste Nintendo’s instructions but wouldn’t want to copy anything wrong and something might change down the road. The instructions are long, but to get your island off your console this is what needs to be done.

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Daniel Vuckovic
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  • Silly G
    November 20, 2020 at 3:33 am

    About bloody time. I can finally unbox my Animal Crossing Switch and take advantage of that sweet battery life.

    It’s going to take forever transferring/re-downloading all them patches though (as well as migrating all of that save data).

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