Nintendo Support

NES Controller is Not Recognized While Attached to Nintendo Switch

After attaching the NES Controllers to Nintendo Switch, the console does not detect one or both controllers.


  • The NES Controllers are designed to work with NES – Nintendo Switch Online software. Although it's possible that these controllers can be used to navigate the Nintendo Switch menus and even play other games, we cannot ensure that all in-game options and features are supported. 

  • The NES Controllers are intended to be used wirelessly with NES – Nintendo Switch Online software. While these controllers are attached to the console, not all buttons will be responsive, or the buttons will appear to have a different function when pressed. 

  • When NES controllers are attached to a Nintendo Switch system, the system will not fit in the dock with LAN port.

What to Do:

  1. Ensure that your console has the latest system update

  2. Attach the NES Controllers to the console, then from the HOME Menu, select “Controllers.”

    • If the NES Controllers are not responding, you can use the console touch screen to make your selections. 

    • When the NES Controllers are registering as being attached to the console, they will be displayed in the Controllers screen like so:

  3. If the NES Controllers are not registering correctly, detach them from the console and try the following with one controller at a time:

    • Reset the NES Controller. Press the SYNC Button once, then press any other button to power on the controller again. 

    • Attach and detach the NES Controllers several times. Ensure that the NES Controller is correctly oriented and inserted all the way. 

    • Verify that other controllers can be registered on the console. Attach a pair of Joy-Con and verify that they appear on the Controllers screen.

Situation Not Resolved:

If the NES Controllers are not recognized in the Controllers screen while they are attached to the Nintendo Switch console, but the Joy-Con can register correctly on the same console, then the non-working NES Controller(s) will need to be repaired.

Please contact Nintendo Consumer Support for further assistance.