'Animal Crossing: New Horizons' Save Data Transfer: How to Move Your File to a New Switch

The next big update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons is here and it brings holiday events and the save data transfer feature that fans have been waiting for since the game's release earlier this year.

Transferring your save file in Animal Crossing: New Horizons from one Nintendo Switch to another is rather simple, but requires a download of new software on the Nintendo eshop as well as two Nintendo Switch consoles.

It also allows for players to transfer whole islands (and all accounts on it) or just one account, but there's two separate ways to do it.

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  • Make sure Animal Crossing: New Horizons is updated to the latest version on both consoles.
  • Download the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Island Transfer Tool from the eShop on both Nintendo Switches.
  • Launch the Island Transfer Tool on both consoles and follow the on-screen instructions.
  • Once the transfer is finished, launch the Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the new Switch.
  • Select "Existing data" when it asks if there is existing data.
  • Select the villager name that matches the villager you were playing as on the original Switch.


First and foremost you won't be able to move the first person who played Animal Crossing: New Horizons to another island. However, if, say, the second account on your island wants to have their own island on their own Switch this is where you want to be.

To move other players, complete the following steps:

  • On the source system, launch Animal Crossing: New Horizons using any other user (such as the island resident representative).
  • Press the − Button at the title screen to open the Settings menu.
  • Select Move to a new island.
  • Select Move another resident.
  • It is not possible to move the island resident representative. You may wish to transfer the entire island to the new Nintendo Switch system in order to transfer the resident representative.
  • Select the name of the resident that will be moving, then select Yes, that is correct.
  • Review the details of the transfer process and select OK.
  • Select Yes, I'm Ready! and then Let's do it! to send a transfer request.
  • On the target system, launch Animal Crossing: New Horizons using the user that you transferred.
  • Select I'm moving when asked by Timmy and Tommy.
  • Select Yes, I have! when asked if you have already sent a transfer request.
  • Select Start the process to search for the transfer request sent from the source system.
  • When the island name and resident's name are displayed, select Yes, that is correct.
  • On the source system, select Let's do it! to confirm the target Nintendo Switch you will be moving to. At this point, the transfer cannot be canceled.
  • After the message "Thank you so much for being patient. Everything is ready!" is displayed, you can close the game on the source system.
  • On the target system, you will arrive on the island and get to choose a location to set up the same house you had on the source system.
  • If you are the first user to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the target system, you will be the new island's resident representative. Moving a house takes some time, so you will be sleeping in a tent on your first night on the island.
  • If the island is already inhabited by someone on the target system, your house will be moved over immediately.
  • If you previously set up island backup, follow our steps to set up island backup again to ensure that it is re-enabled on your new system.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is available now for Nintendo Switch.
Have you been able to transfer your save file yet? Let us know your journey in the comments section.

Correction: An earlier form of this story showed how to transfer save data without the use of the new Animal Crossing save transfer software. To learn more about the process, you can go to the official Nintendo Support page.