Among the absent features on the Nintendo Switch, a functioning browser is probably the most perplexing. Nearly all consoles come with one already baked in, and it was quite disappointing news to learn that the long-anticipated hybrid console doesn't feature one — at least at launch.
There is, however, a workaround, as fussy Nintendo Switch owners/tinkerers have discovered. Even without a full-fledged standalone internet browser, one can still "kind of" visit sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and even watch videos on the internet using the system itself. Here's how.
Accessing Facebook And Twitter On The Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch users can access both Facebook and Twitter through a clever workaround after setting up their profile accounts. Simply go to the system's User Settings and scroll down toward the option to post to social media, where one can link a Facebook or Twitter account.
A page will spring up after clicking "Link" on the Facebook or Twitter option. Click on any of the links at the bottom to start browsing the respective sites, though Polygon warns that they're incredibly difficult to navigate.
Watching videos on Facebook using the Switch is also possible, and surprisingly no-frills. Clicking on a video content prompts the video player and related videos, and then plays the selected content.
Clicking on third-party links doesn't seem to work, upon Polygon's testing. Nintendo, it seems like, purposefully blocked the ability to go to other sites for the time being. The company already said that it focused on the Switch's gaming aspect primarily, so development time for other features, such as the browser, were presumably relegated to the bottom-most part of its priorities' list. It, however, hinted that a browser will arrive later on.
"And in terms of the Internet browser, since all of our efforts have gone toward making Switch an amazing dedicated video game platform, it will not support it, at least at launch," said Tatsumi Kimishima, Nintendo's president.
Accessing YouTube On Nintendo Switch
Despite the apparent blocking of third-party sites on the Switch's bare-bones browser, there's still a way to access YouTube videos using it thanks to a handy tutorial by Niche Gamer, though actually watching videos directly on YouTube is an entirely different story.
Again using the social media linking option in user settings, simply follow the steps taken to access Facebook. Scroll until you stumble upon a YouTube video on the newsfeed. Do not click the video link, as this will bring up the video's YouTube page. Instead, click the thumbnail.
Keep pausing and unpausing the video until it begins to load and buffer using the Switch's built-in system video player.
The steps are difficult and not at all user-friendly, but it's nonetheless possible. Again, it's clear that Nintendo has yet to polish and deliver a fully functional browser. Soon enough, however, Switch owners may be browsing Facebook, watching YouTube videos, and even cozying up to tune in to Netflix movies and shows.
For a more comprehensive way to watch YouTube videos using the Switch, Nintendo Life has resorted to applying a sort of hack, but doing as such is too risky to attempt and we'd advise against it. Can't you just whip up your smartphone and watch YouTube there?