Animal Crossing – How to enable island backups in New Horizons

Animal Crossing New Horizons Header

Finally! Nintendo have added a way for us to backup our previous island paradises in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. A part of the Wave 2 Summer Update, the island backups are intended as a fallback for cases where your Switch has been lost, damaged or stolen, letting you recover your island to a new or repaired Switch.

Incidentally, the Version 1.4.0 patch notes do reveal that a save transfer feature is planned for sometime later this year. Just not yet…

But back to the island backups, how do you enable them? And how do they work?

How to enable island backups in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Island backups are enabled from the main menu of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. From here press the – button to visit Tom Nook’s data management area.

Simply select the island backup option and go through his little speech in order to enable them. From this point on, your Switch will periodically and automatically upload a save of your island to the cloud when you’re not playing.

You’ll be able to see the last time that the game backed up from the lower left corner of the main menu.

Do I need anything in order to backup?

Yes, there are a few requirements for backing up. The main requirement is an active Nintendo Switch Online subscription (this does not mean that Animal Crossing saves now live alongside other cloud saves from other games), but you must also be a user who plays New Horizons on the system and have a resident to enable the service. Finally, backups will only work if your Switch can connect to the internet while in sleep mode!

How to restore an Animal Crossing: New Horizons island backup

Restoring your island backup is not a simple process (sadly). Again, this is only intended for use when your Switch has been lost, damaged or stolen, and depends on if you have a repaired Switch or a brand new replacement console.

If it’s a new console, you will need to contact Nintendo Customer Support – Nintendo Customer Support US, Nintendo Customer Support UK – and they will help process the restore for you. If it’s the same Switch, however, the process can potentially be handled locally.

If your Switch has been repaired by Nintendo, it’s possible that the Switch still has your personal data on it. If not, then follow these steps:

  1. Select Animal Crossing: New Horizons and choose the user with the Nintendo Account that originally enabled island backup.
    • In order to restore island data:
    • Your Nintendo Switch console must have a stable connection to the internet.
    • Your game must be updated to the latest software version (1.4.0 or later).
  2. As the game begins to open, you will see a black screen with the Nintendo logo in the top-left corner. Press and hold the – Button when this screen appears.
  3. If performed correctly, a message will appear that asks if you want to check for island data to restore.
    • If you see Timmy and Tommy at the Nook Inc. reception desk, the button input failed. Close the game and reopen it to try again.
    • If you see a title screen with villagers walking around an island, then you may have already started a new island on your Nintendo Switch console. If you wish to replace this island with your island backup data, you must first delete the new save data for Animal Crossing: New Horizons from your console, then reopen the game and try again. Your new island will not be able to be recovered after you delete the save data.
  4. Select Check to search for island data to restore.
    • If island data cannot be found, it may be because your Nintendo Switch console is not currently connected to the internet or you are not using the same Nintendo Account that was used to enable island backup.
  5. If you enabled island backup for multiple islands, you will be presented with each island name and some details. Select the island you wish to restore on your Nintendo Switch console
  6. Select Yes, please to confirm you are ready to restore the selected island backup.
    • If you started a new island on your Nintendo Switch console, it will be lost and replaced with your island backup.
  7. After your island is restored, the game will restart and you will return to your island.

Source: Nintendo


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