Nintendo Switch Console on Blue Background

Secretly playing your Nintendo Switch can be difficult because, by default, Nintendo alerts all of your friends when you launch a game, and they can see if you’re online from their friends list. Luckily, you can always appear offline if you choose. Here’s how to set it up.

First, wake up your Switch and press the “Home” button. On the Home screen, select your user profile icon, which is located in the upper-left region of the screen.

Next, you’ll see your profile page. In the sidebar menu, choose “User Settings.”

On your Switch profile page, select "User Settings."

In “User Settings,” scroll down the page and choose “Friend Settings.”

In Switch User Settings, select "Friend Settings."

In “Friend Settings,” select “Display online status to.”

In Switch user settings, select "Display online status to."

In the “Display online status to” menu that pops up, select “No One.”

(Alternately, you could decide to only share your online status to friends marked as “Best Friends.” In that case, select “Best Friends” here.)

Select "No One" from the list.

After the change is registered, you’re free to exit your profile settings. From now on, your Nintendo Switch friends will not be notified when you’re online or playing a game.

How to Hide Play Activity from Friends

Even if you have your online status hidden from friends, it’s still possible that they might see your play activity—the list of games you’ve played recently that is shown on your profile page. To disable play activity, visit your profile page and select User Settings > Play Activity Settings.

In Nintendo Switch User Settings, select "Play Activity Settings."

In “Play Activity Settings, set “Display play activity to” to “No One.

On the Switch, set "Display play activity to" to "No one."

Once set, exit your profile settings by pressing the “Home” button. The next time your friends look at your profile, they will not see a list of games you’ve played recently. Happy gaming!

RELATED: How to Add Friends on the Nintendo Switch

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Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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