Android for the Nintendo Switch has finally landed – You can now run LineageOS 15.1 (Android 8.1) on your hacked Nintendo Switch
A few days ago, we were given an ETA of a maximum of 5 days before we got Android for the Nintendo Switch. Apparently, only 3 days were needed as switchroot has just released a LineageOS 15.1 (Android 8.1) ROM for hackable Nintendo Switch consoles!
Android ROM For The Switch Released – What is its state?
Android for the Nintendo Switch was originally teased back in February by Max Keller in a video showing a development build of Android Q (10.0) running on the device.
This build had some issues such as no GPU acceleration and until June, nothing else was said. However, in June, ByLaws managed to get GPU acceleration working and from there onwards, work accelerated considerably. Now, a release has finally descended upon us and it can be downloaded from this XDA thread.
This release is a ROM of Lineage OS 15.1 (ex-Cyanogen Mod) which is based on Android 8.1 Oreo.
The vast majority of the Switch’s features such as WiFi, Bluetooth, GPU acceleration, the touchscreen, joycons and docking work although there are a few minor issues with the port namely:
- When you plug in the charging cable, Android doesn’t detect the fact that device is charging but it’s still charging
- WiFi may occasionally decide not to work; when this happens, a reboot is the way to go
- Deep sleep doesn’t work so don’t expect amazing battery life
- Docking may not work properly on first try so connect/disconnect the Switch a few times till you get a proper picture
- Auto-rotation doesn’t work, joycons may not work properly in some apps and the FAT32 partition of the SD Card isn’t readable on macOS among other smaller issues
With this ROM, you’ll not only be able to use your Nintendo Switch as an actual tablet (Horizon OS doesn’t do too well in this regard although homebrew has improved the situation) but you’ll also be able to play Android games that require Nvidia Tegra hardware such as Half-Life 2 and Borderlands so the Switch’s game library has just been expanded by quite a bit!
How do I install it?
As the Nintendo Switch isn’t an Android device by default, the process of installing Android on it is a bit different than most Android phones but it’s nothing out of this world. In a nutshell, this is the installation process:
- Grab an Android image (the ROM is in IMG format not ZIP format) that matches the size of your microSD card from here
- You may use an Android image smaller than your microSD card and leftover space will be left unused
- 16,32,64 and 128GB images are currently available
- As of the time when this article was published, the download link for the above images was working intermittently so only a mirror for the 32GB image is available with certainty
- Write the image to your SD card with balenaEtcher or similar software
- This may take up to an hour depending on your SD card’s speed
- Download Google Apps from the OpenGApps website and put it on the first partition of the SD Card you just flashed
- I personally recommend the pico variant of OpenGApps as the others have unnecessary stuff that many don’t use
- You may optionally grab the Shield-ifier ZIP file from here and copy it to your SD Card
- This makes your Switch identify as a Shield TV and installs the Nvidia app
- Load Hekate and boot into TWRP (touch-based recovery) by pressing VOL Up after choosing your Android configuration
- Flash OpenGApps and other ZIPs (such as Shield-ifier) you may wish to install
- Reboot into Hekate and boot into Android
- Complete the initial setup and enjoy!
- The Nvidia app needs to be updated from the Play Store in order to work properly
Without a doubt, this will make the Nintendo Switch much more useful and will open the door to a lot more gaming opportunities. Furthermore, it’ll probably increase the value of hackable Nintendo Switch consoles so if you have one, make sure to hold onto it and if you’re in the market for one, grab one before they become ridiculously expensive!