'Animal Crossing: New Horizons' transfers and backups are now available

Nintendo explains 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons' transfers and backups

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Nintendo’s holiday update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons has arrived along with its most important feature addition: the ability to transfer save data to another Switch. If you’ve played any Animal Crossing title before, you know that there’s nothing quite more devastating than losing a town you’ve spent thousands of hours building. The new save data transfer function will give you a way to transfer your entire island or just a single resident to another Switch system.

Nintendo has updated its save data transfer guide with detailed instructions you can follow if you or if any friend or family member playing in your town as resident got a new Switch for the holidays. For both options, you’ll need to make sure you’re running the latest copy of the game and to download the Save Data Transfer tool on the source system. The instructions after those steps differ for what you want to do — and whether you want to keep playing the game on your old Switch or not — so make sure to consult the How to Transfer an Island to a New Nintendo Switch System and the How to Transfer an Individual Resident to a New Island guides.

Take note that you need access to both your old Switch and your new one to complete either process. That said, you can still transfer your island to a new console even if you’ve already lost access to the source system if you’ve enabled island backup. The feature automatically and periodically backs up your game when you’re connected to the internet. It allows you to restore your data on a replacement Switch, though you’d need to have an active Nintendo Switch Online membership and you may also need to contact support to complete the transfer.