I can tolerate most of the Nintendo Switch’s shortcomings. But its lack of Bluetooth audio support has always rubbed me the wrong way, and I’ve spent the last year using expensive dongles to connect wireless headphones to the console. Now, Nintendo is pushing a surprise update that adds native Bluetooth audio support to the Switch, and … ooooh boy.
Technically speaking, Nintendo could’ve launched the Switch with Bluetooth audio support back in 2017. The console uses regular old Bluetooth radios to connect with wireless controllers, after all. But today’s update shows why Nintendo took so long to add Bluetooth audio to the Switch—doing so severely limits the console’s functionality.
You can only connect two wireless controllers to the Switch when Bluetooth audio is enabled. Also, wireless headphones don’t work with the console during local communication, such as local multiplayer (wireless multiplayer between two devices).
If that’s not enough, the Nintendo Switch’s Bluetooth audio does not support microphones. That’s kind of insane, considering that the console supports wired headset or earbud microphones. (Bluetooth USB-C dongles also support built-in headphone mics).
And then there’s usability. Early reports (and Nintendo’s website) suggest that some wireless headphones are very laggy when connected to the Switch, which may be a sign of limited audio codec support. In my quick test, the Soundcore Life P3 earbuds were nearly lag-free, though.
Bluetooth audio support arrives on the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite via the 13.0 firmware update. This update is available globally. To update your Switch or Switch Lite, go into its Settings, open the System page, and tap System Update.