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How to Back Up and Restore Island Save Data (Animal Crossing: New Horizons)

In this article, you'll learn how to enable island backup in Animal Crossing: New Horizons and how to restore your island data if your Nintendo Switch console is ever lost or damaged.

Important

  • Island backup is a feature exclusive to Animal Crossing: New Horizons. If you have an active Nintendo Switch Online membership and are looking to restore your save data for games compatible with the Nintendo Switch Online Save Data Cloud service, see our steps on How to Download Save Data Cloud Backups.
  • Recovery is only available in situations where a Nintendo Switch console is lost or damaged. A new or repaired Nintendo Switch console is required. An active Nintendo Switch Online membership is also required. In the event of loss or damage, contact Nintendo Customer Support, and a representative can help you restore the island and user save data on your new or repaired Nintendo Switch console (standard charges apply for non-warranty repairs).

Note

  • The island backup feature is available after installing the latest software version for the game (1.4.0 or later).
  • When the feature is enabled, island backup data is stored periodically when no one is playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons on your Nintendo Switch console and the console is connected to the internet.

Do you want to enable island backup, restore island data that you have backed up, or disable island backup?

  1. Open Animal Crossing: New Horizons and select a user with a compatible Nintendo Account.
    • In order to enable island backup:
      • Use a Nintendo Account with an active Nintendo Switch Online membership.
      • Use a Nintendo Account that has a resident on the island. Each user on a Nintendo Switch console can create a resident and move to the island soon after starting the game.
      • 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).
      • Island backup cannot already be enabled. If any other resident on the island has already enabled island backup, you will not be able to enable it as a different resident. The original resident can disable island backup if you wish to enable it using a different account.
  2. From the title screen, press the – Button to access the Settings menu.
  3. Select Island backup, then Enable island backup.
    • If island backup cannot be enabled, it may be because your Nintendo Switch console is not currently connected to the internet or your Nintendo Account does not currently have an active Nintendo Switch Online membership.
  4. After island backup is enabled, you can view the date and time of the last backup on the title screen of the game. A backup is made periodically whenever the game is not being played and the Nintendo Switch console is connected to the internet.

Important: Island data can only be restored if your Nintendo Switch console has been lost or damaged and you had enabled island backup in Animal Crossing: New Horizons on that console. It is not possible to remotely enable island backup without access to the console. If your console was lost, you will also need a replacement console to restore the island data.

Was your console repaired by a Nintendo Service Centre?

Important: If your console was repaired, your save data may already be on the console. Open Animal Crossing: New Horizons to determine if your island appears on the title screen. If so, no further action is necessary to return to your island.

  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.

Were you able to restore your island?

If your island is restored, you’re all set! Check out the official Nintendo website for the latest news and games.

If you are unable to restore your island after following these steps, please contact our Customer Support.

In order to restore your island data, please contact our Customer Support.

  1. Open Animal Crossing: New Horizons and select the user with the Nintendo Account that originally enabled island backup.
    • In order to disable island backup:
      • 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. From the title screen, press the – Button to access the Settings menu.
  3. Select Island backup, Disable island backup, then Yes, disable backup to confirm.
    • If island backup cannot be disabled, 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.
  4. After island backup is disabled, it will not be possible to restore island data in the case that your Nintendo Switch console is lost or damaged. You can re-enable island backup using a Nintendo Account that has a resident on the island and an active Nintendo Switch Online membership.