If there’s one thing that every Nintendo Switch owner has been dreading for years now is the console’s lack of support for wireless audio devices. However, the video game giant revealed today through a surprise announcement on Twitter that it has introduced a new Bluetooth audio pairing option for its hybrid console, available now via a firmware update. This finally enables users to pair any compatible headsets or earbuds directly to the gaming machine.
The Switch already relies on built-in Bluetooth to connect to its detachable Joy-Con controllers, which has long hinted its capability to also pair with other potential devices. However, it has taken Nintendo four years to finally allow this to happen, although it did not reveal the reasoning behind the change of heart. Prior to this, users had resorted to using wired headsets or earphones, using 35mm Bluetooth adapters, or purchasing costly third-party wireless audio devices such as the Razer Barracuda X.
The latest #NintendoSwitch update is now available, including the ability to pair Bluetooth devices for audio output.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) September 15, 2021
The process of pairing Bluetooth audio devices to the Switch is fairly straightforward. Once you’ve updated your console, head over to the System Settings page and then navigate to Bluetooth Audio. From there, enable pairing mode on your audio device and then tap Pair Device on the console to connect it. You may choose to add up to 10 compatible headset or earbuds to the Switch’s pairing list, but only one audio device is allowed to be connected at a time.
Unfortunately, there are some limitations to be expected when using this feature. Nintendo says that the system does not support any Bluetooth-based microphones (standalone or built-in), and the Switch will only be able to pair with only two wireless controllers if it is connected to an audio device. The first caveat is definitely a big bummer for those planning to communicate with other players via voice chat while in-game.
Nevertheless, the most sought after feature since the Nintendo Switch’s debut in 2017 has finally arrived. So far, I’ve managed to pair my console with three different true wireless earbuds with no problems, and I’m also glad to report that there have been no noticeable audio latency during gaming. This is certainly something worth updating your Switch for, especially if you’ve been itching to play games such as Fitness Boxing or Ring Fit Adventure while wearing your Bluetooth headset or earbuds.