The most recent firmware update for the Nintendo Switch, 13.0.0, gives the console the ability to connect to Bluetooth speakers and headphones.
The Switch connects to the Joy-Cons and to other controllers, such as the Pro Controller, through Bluetooth. Before the update, it couldn’t connect to audio devices without adapters. The console has clearly always had the ability to utilise Bluetooth audio, but lacked official support until now.
Bluetooth audio is also a boon to the console’s portability. Undocked playing sessions are sure to be a little more convenient now there’s a lack of wires to get tangled up in. As long as you keep an eye on where you’ve put your earphones, of course.
After updating the console, you can connect your audio device via the System Settings. The update does not include Bluetooth microphone support, however. This is not really surprising, given that the Switch doesn’t have its own voice chat application and doesn’t have support for apps like Discord. Instead, you’ve got Nintendo’s mobile app for voice chat, with the exception of the games that have chat built-in (you can still use wired headsets with these).
The list of features also says that you cannot have more than two wireless controllers connected while using Bluetooth audio. Furthermore, it warns that you may experience some latency, depending on the audio device.
Better late than never?
The Switch is four and a half years old. Bluetooth audio was certainly a strange omission right from the start. Why didn’t Nintendo add support sooner? The only reason I can think of is some potential connection between this and the upcoming OLED model. It could be related to optimising the Switch’s capabilities and capitalising on its appeal.
Irrespective of the reasoning, it’s a long-awaited feature that will undoubtedly get a lot of use, regardless of which model you’re using.
Words by Mia Chitty
We’re trying to raise £200 a month to help cover our operational costs. This includes our ‘Writer of the Month’ awards, where we recognise the amazing work produced by our contributor team. If you’ve enjoyed reading our site, we’d really appreciate it if you could donate to The Indiependent. Whether you can give £1 or £10, you’d be making a huge difference to our small team.