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Which Nintendo Switch is hackable?

All Nintendo Switch consoles are not created equal.

hackable nintendo switch
Image: KnowTechie

If you’ve recently decided to buy a Nintendo Switch, congratulations on finding one that was in stock, at a reasonable price. If you’ve been a Nintendo console owner for previous generations, you might be used to hacking your console to add homebrew software. From the 3DS to the Wii, Nintendo enthusiasts have been jailbreaking their consoles and adding custom software and other functionality for years, so why not the Nintendo Switch?

Two years ago, an exploit in the Tegra chipset that powers the Switch was found, which let unpatched consoles boot into a recovery console made for technicians to fix non-working devices. That same recovery mode also opens the door for adding custom firmware to the console, and homebrew software made just for the Nintendo Switch.

So, how do you know if the Nintendo Switch you bought is able to be hacked in this way?

So, which Nintendo Switch is moddable?

Short answer: You want an early serial number

See, thanks to the exploit in the Nvidia chipset that powers the Nintendo Switch, only certain serial ranges are hackable by the current methods of putting homebrew software onto the Nintendo Switch. That’s thanks to those serials being able to boot into RCM or Recovery Console Mode, which is needed to flash custom firmware onto the Nintendo Switch. Without it, you can’t hack your Nintendo Switch in the same way, closing the door to custom software and other modifications.

Here’s a full list of unpatched serials, thanks to SuchMemeManySkill:

  • Serial XAW1: XAW10000000000 to XAW10074000000
  • Serial XAW4: XAW40000000000 to XAW40011000000
  • Serial XAW7: XAW70000000000 to XAW70017800000
  • Serial XAJ1: XAJ10000000000 to XAJ10020000000
  • Serial XAJ4: XAJ40000000000 to XAJ40046000000
  • Serial XAJ7: XAJ70000000000 to XAJ70040000000

Serials XKW1, XKJ1, XJW1, and XWW1 are completely unhackable at this time, so don’t bother with those if you want to run homebrew apps.

While you’re here, go enter our giveaway and you might win your own Nintendo Switch console. We can’t promise it’ll be a hackable serial number though, chances are it’ll be a later version that isn’t on the list.

What do you think? Have plans on hacking your Switch? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek. Hardware guy here at KnowTechie, if it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't) I probably have one around here somewhere. My hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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