Nintendo Switch finally gets support for Bluetooth audio, with a bunch of caveats

A Nintendo Switch with blue and yellow Joy-Con attached standing on a wooden table

Ever since its launch in 2017, the Nintendo Switch has only natively supported wired audio accessories. Support for Bluetooth audio devices such as Bluetooth headphones has been completely absent. Although some manufacturers do offer dongles and accessories to work around this limitation, native support has just not been present. We have talked in length about how we would love to have support for Bluetooth audio in the system, particularly given the fact that even Switch controllers connect to the console via the same technology. Today, Nintendo has finally pushed out a software update which enables this capability.

Support for Bluetooth audio comes via system software update 13.0.0, which is available both for the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite right now. It adds a "Bluetooth Audio" configuration in the settings menu, which enables you to pair your console with a Bluetooth headset.

That said, there are a number of caveats to be aware of. If you pair to a Bluetooth headset, you cannot connect more than two wireless controllers at the same time, and a pair of Joy-Cons counts as two wireless controllers. Moreover, Bluetooth audio will not work when you boot up a local wireless multiplayer game. Although the Switch allows saving up to 10 audio devices, only one can be connected at one time. Bluetooth microphones will not work in multiplayer games and you may also experience audio latency.

It's quite a list, honestly. In our limited testing, our Bluetooth headset connected just fine and we didn't notice any noticeable audio latency. However, we do have to note that there's no Bluetooth toggle that allows you to disconnect a device from the "quick settings" menu that is accessible by long-pressing the Home button. The only way to disconnect is either via the headset or via the main settings app. While support for Bluetooth audio will likely be welcomed by Switch gamers, it's evident that there's a lot of room for improvement, should Nintendo decide to enhance this feature in subsequent software updates.

Report a problem with article
A photo of Microsoft president Brad Smith with the Microsoft logo next to him
Next Article

Microsoft taps Brad Smith as vice chair of board, shareholders meeting set for November 30

Xbox Returns to Tokyo Game Show 2021
Previous Article

Xbox is making a return to Tokyo Game Show this year

17 Comments - Add comment

Advertisement