Nintendo Switch uses friend codes

Much to the dismay of Nintendo fans everywhere, the Switch will use antiquated Friend Codes to add friends on the platform.

Published Thu, Mar 2 2017 7:20 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 11:56 AM CST

Now that Nintendo Switch's day-one update is rolled out we can finally see the exact way to add friends onto the system...but you're not going to like it. Yes, it uses friend codes.

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Press Start has confirmed that the Nintendo Switch uses the outmoded--and often confusing--Friend Code system to add different players to your friends list. It was originally believed that the FC system would be scrapped in favor of being able to add users via their Nintendo Account User IDs, however this wouldn't work because anyone can change their User IDs at any time. So hence the necessity of the Friend Code system.

However it's worth noting that this is just one way to add friends to your list on the Switch. Users can search for gamers they recently played with and add them that way, or even add anyone you're playing LAN games with with multiple Switches.

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All the ways you can add friends on the Switch

  • Search for Local Users
  • Search for Users You've Played With
  • Search with Friend Code (12 digit)
  • Sent Friend Requests
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The Nintendo Switch launches tomorrow(!) for $299. Check below for a massive catalog of Nintendo Switch coverage.

Everything we know about the Nintendo Switch:


Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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