Animal Crossing New Horizons


After months of fishing, shaking trees and putting up with Tom Nook’s endless demands for payment, the wait is finally over. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is finally making island transfers a thing – meaning that you can move all your save data over to another Nintendo Switch console.

This is particularly big news if you’re a Switch Lite player who wants to play the game on the main console for some reason – perhaps if you want to stream the game on Twitch. 

This feature is bundled in with another seasonal update for the game – this time for Winter, which also grants players access to two new in-game events (Turkey Day and Toy Day), new hairstyles, reactions, gameplay and storage extension. 

You can see the official trailer below:

If you want to transfer your island – or one of your characters – over to another Nintendo Switch console, then we have everything you need to know. You can also check out why Animal Crossing: New Horizons (and other games) can be beneficial to your mental health.

Not that these features have not yet launched  – they will be available on 19 November ‘by the end of the day’ according to Nintendo. We’ll update this article with more detailed instructions when we have access.

How to do an entire island transfer on Animal Crossing: New Horizons

If you want to transfer all your save data – including your whole island, villagers, custom designs and house – then this is the option to select. Whilst we haven’t officially tested the method yet, here’s the steps we believe you’ll need to take to transfer your island:

  • Have access to both Nintendo Switch consoles – the old one your game is currently on and the new one you wish to transfer to
  • Have Animal Crossing: New Horizons installed on both consoles
  • Ensure that your consoles have a working internet connection
  • Go to the Nintendo eShop and purchase the free Island Transfer Tool app
  • Head into Settings on the Animal Crossing: New Horizons home screen by selecting the minus button on your joy-con/keypad
  • Select ‘Entire Island Transfer’

We assume that this feature does not work like normal cloud saves – as in if you transfer the game, you’ll only be able to play it on one console and not both. However, we will confirm this once we know more.

How to do a resident move (single player transfer) on Animal Crossing New Horizons

If you want to just move a single player (an island representative, not a villager) to another island, along with their home and items, then this is the best option.

If they move to a game with no existing save data, the player will move to a brand-new island. If, however, the device has existing save data, the island representative will move onto the island as an additional player.

Without testing this option, here’s how we believe you’ll be able to transfer single players on Animal Crossing:

  • Have access to both Nintendo Switch consoles – the old one your game is currently on and the new one you wish to transfer to
  • Have Animal Crossing: New Horizons installed on both consoles
  • Ensure that your consoles have a working internet connection
  • Go to the Nintendo eShop and purchase the free Island Transfer Tool app
  • Head into Settings on the Animal Crossing: New Horizons home screen by selecting the minus button on your joy-con/keypad
  • Select ‘Resident Move’

Animal Crossing

How to back up your island online and restore your game data

In the event of losing or damaging your Nintendo Switch, you can back-up your island online to move it across to another console. This feature has been available for several months already but isn’t the same as a standard island transfer as its strictly for those who have a faulty or missing console.

To back-up your island, head into Settings on the Animal Crossing New Horizons home screen, and then select ‘Island back-up’. You’ll need access to the internet for the island to be backed up and have the most recent update of the game (1.4.0 or later) installed.

If you do need to restore your island this way, here’s the steps you need to take:

  • Have an active Nintendo Online membership
  • Contact Nintendo to manually move your island across



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