… We wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, though.
Thanks to homebrew developers over at XDA Developers, it’s now possible to install Android OS onto your Nintendo Switch. Do keep in mind that this will obliterate your warranty, and you can forget about any support from Nintendo with regards to your ‘new’ Android tablet.
Essentially, the Android 8.1-based LineageOS 15.1 will turn your console into a small tablet with controllers, which will allow you to use your Switch to run any number of mundane tasks, such as e-mails, social media, or even certain games.
It’s worth noting that the experience is still a relatively buggy one at this moment in time. Battery life is a little wonky, auto-rotate doesn’t work particularly well, and touchscreen sensitivity is inconsistent, but the important bit here is that the OS actually works.
If you’re interested in exploring the Android game library, the Switch’s Android OS is based off the same Android tree as Nvidia’s critically-acclaimed Shield TV, which means that exclusive titles to Tegra-powered Android devices such as Borderlands should theoretically run on the Switch—we’re not sure how smooth your experience will be, however.
The Joy-Con controllers should work with the Switch, although you will need to connect them via Bluetooth even if the controllers are physically attached to the console.
The unofficial Android OS may not work on all Switch devices, we’re told. It seems that newer Nintendo Switch consoles have been patched to prevent people from running arbitrary code on them, so you’ll need to check if you can boot your Switch into the Hekate tool, first. According to XDA, Switch consoles sold before July 2018 should be hackable, as it were.
If you’re interested, here’s some information on what will, and will not work on LineageOS for Switch:
- LineageOS 15.1 – Android 8.1 Oreo
- Based on the Nvidia Shield TV trees
- TWRP pre-installed
- CPU and GPU performance profiles
- Works in handheld and docked mode
- Audio is supported
- Joycons connect via Bluetooth, also in handheld mode
- Deep sleep, so battery life is not great
- Auto rotation
- Screen off in dock
- Charging is not detected, but console still charges
- Some apps don’t handle joycon inputs correctly
- The touchscreen sometimes detects touches even when your finger is just floating over the screen
All in all, the Switch doesn’t make for a particularly impressive Android tablet, with a comparatively weak display, although its Joy-Con controller support is intriguing. If you’re up to experiment with your console, it might be worth a try. However, if this is your primary gaming device and you’re still under Nintendo’s official warranty, perhaps you should tread with caution here.