Switch Ban Essentials: Q&A
Bans are scary and Nintendo hasn’t been shy about banning hacked Switch consoles. However, educated hackers know that bans are avoidable and they know how to avoid them. The Q&A below should answer any questions you may have on how bans work and how to avoid getting your console banned.
This guide was written by Discord user Gunther#8698 (and eip). Click on a question below to reveal the answer. If you have further questions, you can ask on the Nintendo Homebrew Discord server.
The following actions will cause an immediate ban of your Nintendo Switch:
- Piracy of any sort
- Homebrew NSPs (installed to the home menu)
- Changing user icon through Homebrew
- Sketchy eShop behavior
The following actions will not result in an immediate ban, but will still result in a ban:
- Modding online games
- Cheating in online games
- Clearing error logs after they’ve been uploaded to Nintendo (this may extend to using both emuMMC and sysMMC online, due to mismatched logs)
The following actions have not resulted in a ban (so far):
- Atmosphere itself
- Using the Homebrew Menu (via launch takeover, eg by album or a gamecart/installed title)
- Custom themes
- Custom sysmodules
- Mods/cheating in offline games
- Overclocking with sys-clk
(Thanks to Discord user Val#8035 on the ReSwitched Discord server for this list)
Since the telemetry logs are stored in the Switch’s NAND, an emuNAND is useful because it allows you to have two copies of the Switch’s internal storage. Your sysNAND can be used for online play and eshop purchases while your emuNAND can be used for CFW and hacking and be kept permanently offline. This lets you have the best of both worlds! If you followed the recommended CFW setup on Nintendo Homebrew’s guide, you should already have an emuNAND set up.
An emuNAND is a tool to help prevent bans, it is not a magic bullet. You have to keep your emuNAND permanently offline or it won’t help you very much. It is also important to note that even though the internal storage of your sysNAND and emuNAND are separate, they are still copies of the same system with the same unique identifiers. If Nintendo bans your emuNAND then your sysNAND gets banned too and vice versa.
The recommended way to do this is dns-mitm, which is an on-console custom DNS black hole that allows connection to the internet, but blocks Nintendo’s servers. The NH Switch guide sets up dns-mitm by default here.
Part of the way Incognito functions is by forcing your console to send "invalid data" when connecting to Nintendo servers, which at the time reject such invalid connections. If Nintendo wanted to, they could simply set their servers to receive these connections, and then everyone and anyone relying on Incognito will be sending all of their telemetry to Nintendo instantly.
The other issue with Incognito is that what it does delete, is (to speak simply) significantly short of everything that it should delete to have the functionality it claims to have. This is roughly equivalent to blanking out your street address when showing your driver's license to the police, but showing your full legal name.
As of Atmosphere 0.12.0, a virtual PRODINFO blanking feature is included, which is safer than Incognito as the relevant data is redirected not deleted, but this method of protection is still not a viable replacement for 90DNS.
(Thanks to Discord user noirscape#6666 on the Nintendo Homebrew Discord server for the explanation of why Incognito is bad, also denn and meme)
Using the Switch’s stock “factory format” feature does not erase telemetry logs and will not protect you from a ban.
There is a method for manually resetting the NAND’s data, but it is not as reliable as restoring a NAND backup and should not be your preferred option.