How Tos

How to transfer data to a New Nintendo 3DS, from a 3DS, 3DS XL, or 2DS

Going up in the world

How to transfer data to a New Nintendo 3DS, from a 3DS, 3DS XL, or 2DS
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

Just got a New Nintendo 3DS? Welcome to the club! You're entering a world of super-stable 3D and amiibo.

But you're probably wondering how to get all your stuff off your old system and onto your new device, right? That's why we're here, with a step-by-step walkthrough of the system transfer process.

This will transfer everything from an older 3DS unit to the New 3DS console, including eShop and DSiWare games and their save files, photos, StreetPass plaza progress, themes, Miis, and activity log data.

During the transfer, the old 3DS will automatically be formatted and returned to factory settings so you can sell it on, or give it to someone else

The process is the same as before if you've already transferred data from one 3DS to another. But the move to a microSD card does complicate matters slightly, as we'll explain.

First things first, you'll want to go ahead and do the initial set up for your New 3DS. Just, don't create a new Nintendo Network ID on the new device or you'll mess everything up.

Now, update both consoles to the most recent firmware. To do this, open the 'System Settings' app, choose 'Other Settings', and find 'System Update'. If there's a new update, download and install it.

Next, charge both of your devices to full battery. You don't want to run out of juice halfway through the process!

And finally, you may want to back up your data on your old console. To do this, take the SD card out of your 3DS and put it into your computer. Copy all of the files onto your hard drive for safe keeping.


Okay, let's get this show on the road. On both devices, open the settings apps, choose 'Other Settings', pick 'System Transfer', and then - when the Internet check has finished - choose 'Transfer from a Nintendo 3DS system'.

On the New 3DS, choose receive transfer. On the old 3DS, pick send transfer.


After many many confirmation screens, you'll be asked whether you want to delete the data on the microSD card in the New Nintendo 3DS. Pick yes. You'll then be asked how you wish to transfer data from the SD card in your old 3DS, to the microSD card in your New 3DS.

Your options are

  • Wireless Transfer (Full)
  • Wireless Transfer (Limited Data)
  • Copy via PC

Wireless (Full) is fine if you don't have many eShop games, but it will be very slow if your card is filled with games and downloads. We recommend Copy via PC if you're near your computer.

If you choose full wireless, the process will basically finish here. If you choose PC, read on!

Allow the systems to transfer data from your old 3DS to your new device. You'll see Pikmin carrying blocks of data on the New 3DS screen.

When it's finished the old 3DS will be formatted and will start up like its a brand new device. Hold down the power button until it shuts off, then remove the SD card. Put it into your computer and copy the contents into a folder on your hard drive.

After the whole process is finished you may wish to format the card and put it back in the old 3DS so it's ready for sale.


When the process is finished on the New 3DS it will restart and show a screen that looks like this, asking whether or not to transfer DSiWare data from the microSD card to the system memory.

Whether or not you own any DSiWare games, or whether or not you wish to move them to the system memory, this is as good a time as any to put your data onto the new microSD card.

So, hold down the power button until the screen switches off.


Take off the console's bottom panel by removing the two screws and then pulling at the small gaps on the sides with your finger nails. Take out the microSD card.


You may wish - or need - to replace it with a bigger card at this point. If you never upgraded the 2GB or 4GB card in the old 3DS or 3DS XL, then ignore me. But if you bought a bigger card to store more eShop games, then you'll need a microSD card that's big enough to hold your collection.

Anyway. Put the microSD card into your computer (you may need an adapter of some kind) and then delete any content from it. Then take the data you saved off the old SD card and put it into the microSD card.

Put it back into the New 3DS, screw the screws back up on the faceplate, and turn the system on. Move or don't move DSiWare games when prompted to finish the process. And you're done - all your data is now on your device.