The same people who originally brought Android to the Nintendo Switch, the Switchroot team, are back with an Android 10 update, according to XDA-Developers. While the mod is only available for certain Switch models, it allows users who install it to run apps from the Google Play Store, like games, emulators, and streaming services like Netflix and Twitch.
The update also brings some more polish to the mod, letting the Joy-Con sticks work as proper analog sticks instead of eight-way D-pads, deep sleep support that the devs say “can last for weeks,” over-the-air updates, and better Wi-Fi support that promises fewer disconnections.
Of course, the real reason for adding Android to a Switch is so you can play games that aren’t Switch games, likes the ones made playable by the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, and PSP emulators on the Play Store. You can see how those perform on the Switch in the video below. Of course, you can also get other Play Store games like Genshin Impact or apps like Spotify. But you’re also not giving up the ability to play Switch games, as Android is installed on a microSD card instead of being flashed to the console itself.
It’s worth noting that Android on the Switch is extraordinarily unofficial. The LineageOS team isn’t officially supporting the port, and it’s more or less a modified build of the OS that was meant for Nvidia’s Shield TV. The exploit to get Android running also only works on Switches that came out before Nintendo’s chipset and battery upgrades, which completely excludes the Switch Lite. Even if you own one of the moddable Switches, which you can check with an online tool, some of the guides on how to get into the Android bootloader say it’s possible to brick your Switch if you make a mistake. Extreme caution is advised.
There are also caveats, like the fact that the games built for the Nvidia Shield don’t work, according to the XDA forum post that acts as a guide on how to install the mod. However, the list of bummers is way smaller than it was last time when the version of Android was LineageOS 15.1, which was based on Android 8.1 Oreo. The new version is based on LineageOS 17.1, which is a build of Android 10.
It’s nice to see this Switch mod get some love and become improved over the years. The changelog below includes a solid number of updates, so it’s worth checking out if you’re running a previous version.
- Android 10 based on Lineage 17.1
- OTA updates.
- Full Joy-Con and Pro Controller support with analog sticks and rails.
- Hori Joy-Con support.
- Deep sleep that can last for weeks.
- An Android TV based build.
- Reworked fan profiles for quieter operation.
- Optimised dock support with resolution scaling.
- A rewritten charger driver supporting USB-PD and third party docks.
- Optimised touch screen driver.
- Easier install via hekate partition tool.
- Reworked, simpler, power profiles.
- Much improved WiFi driver with less dropouts.
- Shield TV remote app support for easy docked control.
- Reboot to payload support.
- Improved Bluetooth accessory support.
- Auto rotation support.