Nintendo Switch: what’s the best firmware for (potential) homebrew and hacks?
Lots of Nintendo Switch users are wondering what firmware to stay on, if they want to enjoy (future) homebrews.
Although there is no perfect answer, the most obvious one for now is that you should stay below firmware 3.0.1. Based on the latest announcements from hackers regarding (yet to be released) exploits, firmware 3.0.0 is ok, 3.0.1 is definitely not.
This currently leaves you with a choice to stay on 1.0.0, 2.0.0, 2.1.0, 2.2.0, 2.3.0, and 3.0.0.
From a gaming perspective, none of these will let you enjoy the latest games or online features. You might have one specific game that requires one of these firmwares though, so in that case it is probably fine to update for that game.
As a matter of fact, game cartridges are the only good way to update to a specific firmware without connecting your console to the network, IMO the best way for now to ensure you’re staying on a low firmware and don’t update by mistake. Arms and Mario + Rabbids for example require, and are a good way to update to firmware 2.1.0.
Is there a benefit on staying on as low a firmware as possible?
The problem with firmware 1.0.0 is that accessing the browser is a bit of a pain on that firmware. And given that webkit is a favorite entry point for console hack nowadays, ease of use of the browser might be important when a full hack is released.
With that being said, as always, a lower firmware has mechanically more possible vulnerabilities than a higher one: it will always be possible to update to a newer firmware (through the game cartridges mentioned above, for example), never to go back.
Until something significant is released, it is probably better to stay on as low a firmware as you possibly can. With that being said, the current knowledge tells us that anything on firmware 3.0.0 or below should be hackable, meaning that if there’s a game you want to play that requires a specific firmware (as long as it’s 3.0.0 or below), it should be safe to update to that firmware today and still be able to get hacks in the future. With the understanding of course that you should always stay on as low a firmware as you possibly can.
However we cannot recommend firmwares 3.0.1, 3.0.2, and anything that comes after those, for hacking purposes. At least for now.