How to Connect Nintendo Switch to Laptop: In 7 Steps With Photos

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How to Connect Nintendo Switch to Laptop: In 7 Steps With Photos

If you’ve looked at your Nintendo Switch console carefully, then you may have noticed the USB-C port on the underside. One of the first thoughts that comes to mind when seeing this is that you can plug the Switch into a computer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer as much as you may think because this port is essentially limited to charging and connecting to the Switch dock. With all of that said, there is a way that you can connect a Nintendo Switch console to a laptop. The primary way to do so is with a capture card. If you aren’t familiar, a capture card is a special device that lets you record gameplay videos on your computer or stream them to the internet. Below we will walk you through all the steps required to connect your Switch to a laptop.

Step 1: Connect Capture Card to Laptop

To start, you need to connect the capture card to the Laptop’s USB port. This will vary slightly as some capture cards have different connections. But nearly all use a USB cable to connect to the computer. Be sure to check if there is an added power supply that you must also connect.

Nintendto Switch to laptop connections
Check your Nintendo Switch Capture Card’s connection types before connecting it to your laptop.


Step 2: Plug in Switch Dock HDMI to Capture Card

Next, you need to unplug the Switch Dock’s HDMI cable from either the TV or the dock itself. For this explanation, we will remove it from the back of the TV and then plug it into the HDMI input on the capture card.

Nintendto Switch to laptop connections
Unplug the Switch Dock’s HDMI connection first.


Step 3: Connect Capture Card Output to TV

We will then use another HDMI cable and plug it into the output side of the capture card. The other end will plug into the TV where the original Switch HDMI cord was.

Nintendo Switch to laptop connections
Plug the Capture card into the TV.


Step 4: Install OBS

This is where things get a little complicated, because not all capture cards are the same. But the most common way to record or stream content with them is using OBS or Streamlabs. You will need to download one of these onto your laptop and connect your capture card through it. This requires creating a scene with the capture card as the input device.

Nintendo Switch to laptop Streamlab
Download and install Streamlabs onto your laptop.


Step 5: Turn on Switch

Once you have set everything up on the capture card side, it is time to turn on your Switch. If everything works correctly, you should now see the video on your TV like normal, but it should also show up on your computer.

Nintendo Switch to laptop dock
Turn your docked Switch on using the button.


Step 6: Start a Stream or Recording

Now that you have hooked your Switch up and gotten it working, it is time to launch a game. You can play the game for a little while and wait for a moment to record, or you can start immediately once you have turned the Switch on. When you are ready to start recording, hit the “Record” button on the computer. For streaming, you will need to connect the software to your Twitch or other accounts before clicking “Start Streaming.

Nintendo Switch to laptop Streamlab
Choose the red REC button at the bottom right to start recording your game.


In the following video, iTechTechnologies demonstrates how to connect a Nintendo Switch to a laptop or MacBook.

Step 7: Start Playing a Game

Finally, it is time to start actually enjoying the game. The stream or recording will continue uninterrupted until you end it on the computer. If you are doing Let’s Plays or want to add audio to your stream, you can add a microphone to most capture cards easily to integrate the feed.

Nintendo Switch to laptop TV
Choose your favorite Switch game and enjoy!


Playing Switch Games on a Laptop

It’s worth mentioning that once you have connected your Switch to your laptop, you can play some Switch games on it. Unfortunately, you will not be able to play first-party titles like Mario and Zelda games because Nintendo only makes them available on their consoles. However, games made by other developers are commonly available on PC via stores like Steam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you add games to a Switch from a laptop?

No, it is not possible to add games to a Switch console from a laptop.

Why does the Switch use a USB-C port?

Unlike previous Nintendo consoles, the use of a USB-C cable is convenient because it is a standard connector. Not only can USB-C be used for charging, but it can also transfer data and output to a display all at the same time.

Can you stream to Twitch with a Switch?

No, you cannot stream to Twitch directly from a Switch console. The only way to stream from a Switch is by using an external capture card.

Does the Switch have a Link cable for local play?

No, the Switch relies on wireless connectivity for local multiplayer games rather than the older Link cables used on the Gameboys.

Can you use the Switch as a PC controller?

No, there is no official way to use the Nintendo Switch controllers on your PC.

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