Nintendo Switch firmware version 9.0 (kind of) enables the notification LED

If you've looked at a Nintendo Switch, you may have noticed that the Home button looks pretty unique in comparison to the other buttons on the Joy-Con. It has a seemingly useless ring around it, which is very much reminiscent of the same button on the Wii U GamePad, which would light up whenever there was a notification.

For two years and a half, that ring has had no purpose, but as it turns out, it is an actual LED, just as we've seen on other Nintendo consoles. The company has acknowledged the existence of the LED ring in the latest firmware update to the console, which was released last night.

The firmware carries version number 9.0, and the changelog is significant. It includes a new section for online play invitations, so you can see if your friends have asked to play with you, as well as an important fix for an issue that would prevent Fire Emblem: Three Houses from launching for users that purchased the season pass. But what's really interesting is a new change in the Settings for alarm notifications, which will seemingly make use of the LED ring around the Home button. Here's the full changelog:

  • Added a search feature for the News Channel.

    • Channels can be searched using filters or free text.

  • Added “Display QR Code to Check In” to User Settings.

    • You can display a QR Code on-screen to check in using your Nintendo Account.
  • Alarm Notifications have been added to System Settings > Notifications.

    • You can check or delete pre-set alarms.

    • Alarms can be set up only within supported software (to be added at a later time).

    • A controller firmware update may be required to use this feature.

  • You can now configure touch screen sensitivity settings.

    • Select between Standard and Stylus sensitivity (optimized for stylus input).

  • Added the option to turn on/off the system button input (Nintendo Switch Lite only).

    • When this setting is turned off the system no longer receives input from the console buttons, with the exception of the Capture and HOME Buttons, and can only be operated from a wirelessly paired controller (sold separately).

    • This setting is on by default and can only be turned off if a compatible controller (sold separately) is wirelessly paired to the console.

    • The setting will automatically turn back on when the console is restarted or after returning from sleep mode.

  • Added “Online Play Invites” section to the User's page.

    • Invites from friends to join online play in supported software will be displayed in this section.

  • General system stability improvements to enhance the user's experience.

    • Resolved an issue where some users can’t start the Fire Emblem: Three Houses game, and get an error instead.

As noted in the changelog, the feature isn't actually enabled yet, as you'll need to set alarms within supported apps, which will be added at a later date. It seems that the notification LED won't be used for regular notifications, but it remains to be seen what kind of alarms will be available to set up to use with this feature.

There are a few other noteworthy changes in this update, such as the ability to adjust touchscreen sensitivity for stylus use - which is useful if you use it to create levels in Super Mario Maker 2 - and a new setting that allows you to disable input from the built-in controls on the Nintendo Switch Lite, so it can be used exclusively with wireless controllers. This cheaper Switch model is set to launch next week, on September 20.

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