Installing a full-fledged Android Operating System is now possible on the Nintendo Switch. You can access the Play Store, installing games and even you can root it. And in this article, I will show you how to do it. So let’s get started.
The most important thing is, you need a hackable Nintendo Switch. So get it if you want to get some fun.
Next, you need an RCM jig to get you into RCM mode.
Then a payload injector of your choice, you can use your phone, your computer or a dongle.
You also need an a micro SD card to install the Android OS.
Download the latest version of Balena Etcher. It is for writing the Android OS image to the micro SD card
Download the Android OS image of your choice. It depends on your micro SD card capacity, so choose from 16gb up to 128gb
And download the shieldifier.zip archive if you want to spoof your Switch to be an Nvidia Shield TV so you can download Nvidia exclusive games.
Click the extras and download the fix-joycon.zip archive to enable L3/R3 button and report the sticks as analog.
If you want to install Google apps, then download the open-source Gapps archive. Make sure you download for the ARM64 platform, Android 8.1 , and choose any variant you like. I selected the stock version.
Then press the red button to download the archive
The next one is optional, but if you want to root your Android OS, then download the latest stable version of Magisk in zip format
Download the latest version of TegraRCMGUI if you are using a Windows PC to inject the payload.
Choose either the installer version or the portable version
And if you are using a cellphone or a dongle, then download the latest version of Hekate payload
And you might need to download Winrar to extract the downloaded archive
Turn off your console and remove the micro SD card from it.
So you need to have another micro SD card to install the Android OS. Don’t use the one that you used on the console as everything will get erased.
This is the micro SD card for installing the Android OS. Mine is 32GB
Now install Balena Etcher
Press Select Image, then select the Android OS image that we have downloaded earlier
Since I am using a 32GB micro sd card, so I have downloaded a 32GB image for it.
Then make sure you have correctly select the micro sd card to flash the image
And if everything is OK, you can press the Flash button
It will take some time to finish so you take a break for a while
At this point, Do not press the Format Disk button. Close the pop-up window and open the file explorer
Open the micro sd card. Then drag all the downloaded zip file into the root of the sd card.
Now we are ready to setup the Android OS to our Nintendo Switch
Insert the micro sd card into the console
Place the RCM jig into the right joy-con rail
Press and hold the Volume Up button, then press the Power button
If you are planning to use a Windows PC to inject the payload, then install TegraRCMGUI
Then run it
Connect the console to the computer using a USB type C cable
If this is your first time connecting the console to the computer while on RCM mode, then you will see a new device notification at the bottom right of the screen.
Click the Settings tab then press Install Driver
And you will see that the RCM status turns green. Click the Payload tab, select the Hekate payload and click it twice to send the payload to the console.
And when everything worked well, then you should boot into the Hekate menu
You can remove the USB cable or the dongle at this stage
Select More Configs
You will see the Android icon inside this menu. If you don’t see it then you didn’t flash the micro sd card correctly.
Now you need to press and hold the Volume Up button, then press the Android icon
Keep pressing the Volume Up button and do not let go until you see the TWRP screen.
Swipe right to see the menu
Press the Mount button
Enable the System partition
Press Select Storage and choose Micro SD card
Press the Home button to get back to the main menu
Press the Install button
First you need to select the open gapps zip archive.
Then swipe right to install the image
Then press the Wipe cache/dalvik button
And Swipe right to confirm
Now Press the back button to go to the previous screen
And install the rest of the zip files
Beginning with the fix-joycon archive
Again, you can wipe the cache
Next, we will install Shieldifier archive
Again, you may wipe the cache if you want
FInally, you can install Magisk to root the device. Remember, this step is optional
Now wipe the cache
And then press Reboot System
And swipe right to install TWRP app
Again you must press and hold the Volume Up button and press the Power button to get into the RCM mode
Connect the USB cable and send the Hekate payload from the computer
You can remove the USB cable for now
Press More Configs and rerun the Android OS. But this time, you don’t need to press and hold the Volume Up button
Now wait 30 seconds to see if the console boot into the Android OS.
If it doesn’t then press the power button for about 15 seconds, resend the payload and try rerun the Android OS one more time
When you see this boot animation, then you are good to go, let’s see if you can reach the setup screen
If you cannot reach this screen, then you must turn off your console, resend the payload and retry to boot the Android OS
And you might see this error pop-up. And I understand that this OS is not stable yet.
Now follow the on-screen instruction to setup the OS
Then wait for a while. Hopefully, you can pass this screen. But if you think that it is looping forever, then you can double-press the Power button to give a wake-up kick.
Then wait for a while. Hopefully, you can pass this screen. But if you think that it is looping forever, then you can double-press the Power
button to give a wake-up kick.
At this screen, You can choose between Copy the data from other device or set up as a new device
I chose Setup as a new device
Input your Google Account at this screen
The Nintendo Switch has no built-in microphone, so you must disable the Google Assistant
At this step, you have successfully installed and run the Android OS on your Nintendo Switch.
For those who opted to root the device, now you need to open the web browser to download Magisk Manager
Go to the Magisk Github page and download the latest version of Magisk Manager
Click the apk file and save it to the tablet
Now Open the apk file and select Settings
Enable to Install unknown apps
Then press the back button
And press Install
Now open Magisk Manager
Click the Safety Check option
Then press Yes
You can see that the ctsProfile is in false state. To fix this, you need to press the top left button then select Download
Now search “safety”
You need to download and install these two apps to fix the ctsProfile
Select the first one, then press Install
Now go back and select the second one that is SafetyPatch
Press the Reboot button
Again you must enter the RCM mode and send in the Hekate payload using your computer or dongle
Then rerun the Android OS
Now you will see this harmless error message upon booting up the Nintendo Switch Android tablet. Ignore it for now
Re run the Magisk Manager and tap the Safetynet check
Now you have completely rooted the Nintendo Switch Android tablet
You can use your Joy-Con while you are on the Android mode, but it only works wirelessly via Bluetooth connection, so before we use it, we
need to sync both joy-cons.
Swipe the top screen down and choose the gear icon
Select Connected devices
Then select Pair new device
Get your joy-con and press the sync button
Then press the Joy-Con device
Do the same for the other joy-con
Now you can control your Nintendo Switch Android tablet with your Joy-Con
Now let’s try downloading a game from the Play Store
For example PUBG Mobile Lite
The game runs normally, but we cannot use the joy-con to move the character. We can only use the right joy-con to change the camera view
Since we have installed the Shieldifier, then we can access the Nvidia Games app.
Make sure you have login with your Nvidia account.
We will try to download a racing game
Now we can use both joy-cons to control the game
Now let’s try to run Nvidia GameStream game
These games are installed on my computer. GameStream means playing your computer game using your tablet. I will try GTA V
It is cool isn’t it? Playing your computer game using your Nintendo Switch Android Tablet with the Joy-con
And the game runs smoothly
If you are not comfortable with the joy-con, you can add any bluetooth controller such as the Xbox One Controller
So again, go to the settings, and sync the Xbox One wireless controller to the Nintendo Switch Android tablet
So now you can have alternatives to control the tablet beside using the joy-con. Its super awesome.
If somehow you want to get back to the Nintendo Switch Horizon OS, then turn off the console.
You can remove the RCM jig
Remove the micro sd card
then replace it with the one that you use for the Nintendo Switch
and turn it on.
And if someday you want to get back to the Android OS, then reverse this process, enter the RCM mode and inject the payload and Piece
load the Android OS. Piece of cake.
So there you go, I have told you everything I know about installing the Android OS to the Nintendo Switch. It is still buggy, but it has enormous potential. I hope it will get better and better in future releases. Thank you for reading this article.
Tutorial by sthetix