Nintendo’s new Switch offers the best of both worlds when it comes to gaming hardware. It’s a home device that you can easily drop into a dock and play HD games on your television, but it’s also a portable system that can be played anywhere you are, or even propped up with a kickstand for on-the-go multiplayer showdowns.

However, if you’re a parent, that sort of approach adds another layer of difficulty if you’re concerned about screen time limits, or want to keep your kids away from mature content or online communication. If you can’t rely on the hardware being played, let alone stored in a single place, how will you keep an eye on how it’s being used?

Luckily, Nintendo thought ahead on this front—and then went the extra mile. The Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app is available for iPhone and iPad on the App Store, and it pairs with your console to give you anytime access to the kid-centric settings. And it lets you do more than just set limits, as well. Here’s a look at what the app does, and how to make the most of it. 

Setting up


You’ll need both devices handy to pair them up.

You’ll need to track down the Switch console to get started, at least, since it’s required for the setup process. Be sure to grab the Parental Controls app too, of course, and then fire it up when you’re ready to start. You’ll need a free Nintendo Account to use the app, but if you already have a Switch up and running, chances are good that you’re set on that front.

Once you’re signed in on the app, you’ll be given a six-digit code and prompted to grab the Switch console. From the console’s own screen, you’ll access the Home menu by pressing the little house-shaped button on the lower right from wherever you are. Once there, tap the settings dial on the screen and enter Parental Controls listed on the left side. From there, tap “Parental Controls Settings” and opt to use your smart device. 

Entering and confirming the code from your iPhone or iPad only takes a moment, and then you can start fiddling with the settings or complete setup. Now you’re paired. And if somehow you have multiple Switch consoles in play, you can add extra devices and manage them all from the same app.

switch parental switchsettingsNintendo

Once paired, you’ll only be able to control parental settings from the iOS app.

You don’t have to use the Parental Controls app, but without it, the Switch console itself only allows you to restrict which content is available—you won’t be able to set time limits or see what’s being played on the device. Using the iOS app gives you a lot of advantages, and you’ll need to use the app to make any changes in the future so long as it remains paired. 

Limiting time

Many parents are apprehensive about letting their kids sit in front of a game system for hours on end. We get it—and so does Nintendo. That’s why the app lets you set time limits for system usage, and gives you some flexibility to set a schedule or adjust as needed.

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