There may come a time when you may need to factory reset your Nintendo 3DS. Maybe you’re getting rid of it, or maybe you just want a fresh start. Either way, it’s an easy process. Here’s how to do it.

Step One: Make Sure It’s Connected to Wi-Fi

If you have your Nintendo Network ID connected to your 3DS, you’ll first need to make sure the device is connected to the internet before you can factory reset it, so the NNID can be unlinked from the 3DS.

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Thus, if you don’t have a NNID signed into your 3DS, you don’t actually have to worry about this step. But if you do, then you’ll need to make sure it’s connected first.

It will automatically do this when you try to reset the system, but you can also do it ahead of time by jumping into the Settings menu (it’s the wrench icon in the list of installed games and apps) and choosing “Internet Settings.”

Step Two: Factory Reset

Once you’re sure it’s connected to Wi-Fi, it’s time to factory reset it. Start by jumping into the Settings menu—it’s the wrench icon on the bottom home screen.

From here, tap on “Other Settings.”

Scroll all the way over to the very last screen and choose “Format System Memory.”

It will ask if you’re ready to connect to the internet. Tap “OK.”

It will take a few seconds to connect, then present you with a warning to let you know what’s going to happen: all data will be deleted. If you’re ready to move forward, tap “Next.”

This screen will let you know the Nintendo Network ID will be unlinked from this device. Tap “Next.”

The final screen should let you know that if you want to link your NNID to a new 3DS system, you’ll need to perform a system transfer. If you’re ready to format the system, tap “Format.”

And that’s that. You can now set up your 3DS from scratch, or sell it for someone else to enjoy.

Profile Photo for Cameron Summerson Cameron Summerson
Cameron Summerson is ex-Editor-in-Chief of Review Geek and served as an Editorial Advisor for How-To Geek and LifeSavvy. He covered technology for a decade and wrote over 4,000 articles and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times.
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