So first, if by some miracle you got here from somewhere other than the link on YouTube, be aware that the first half of the video is a parody. Skip to 4:38 if you want to get to where I start seriously talking about how to avoid a ban.
Second, let me say that I have been banned for over a year and a half, and while it’s not a big deal to me, I can understand why those of you who would actually play online would want to avoid it. So I’ve put together some tips that may help you keep from getting kicked off Nintendo’s network.
*Disclaimer* No one can guarantee that any precautions will keep Nintendo from banning you. While there are several things you can do that will get you banned, there is nothing you can do to be 100% safe besides never installing CFW in the first place. *End disclaimer*
That being said, here’s some steps you can take to help reduce your chances of being banned.
Before you install CFW, delete all network connections
If you go into Settings > Internet > Internet Settings you will see a list of all wired and wireless networks you have connected to. If you delete these, and make sure you don’t plug into a wired network until you’re ready, you’ll ensure that you can’t accidentally boot into CFW and connect to Nintendo’s network. You’ll be able to connect again after installing CFW and either using Incognito to remove your ProdInfo, or get your SXOS license up and running so you can turn on Stealth Mode.
Before you boot into CFW, create an EmuNAND partition, and never boot CFW on SysNAND
The best setup is to create an EmuNAND from your completely clean system, then only boot CFW on that EmuNAND. Then if you ever choose to boot OFW, you’ll be on a SysNAND where there have never been any crash logs from running homebrew or dumped games.
If possible, use a separate SD card for SysNAND OFW and EmuNAND CFW
This step is currently option, but if possible, I highly recommend it. Right now it doesn’t seem like Nintendo does any reporting of the contents of your SD card, however, it is possible that they could. If you only use an SD card that doesn’t contain any mods or homebrew when running OFW, then you’ll never have anything suspicious on it for them to find.
If you follow those three main steps, it will go a long way toward keeping your Switch safe, and allowing you to play your online games on your OFW without worries. In case you do decide to go on Nintendo’s network with your CFW, it’s a lot easier to slip up, but you can still probably avoid a ban if you don’t do these things.
Don’t play dumped games online or update them from the EShop
Whether you’re dumping your carts to XCI or NSP, if you’re playing a game in any format other than what you bought it in, or even if you backed up an NSP and then re-installed it from your backup, don’t play it online, and don’t update it from the EShop. Just plug in the game cart and update it there.
Don’t use mods or cheats while playing online
If you’re using LayeredFS mods, or have cheats enabled, make sure you disable both of them before you go online. This is what got me banned, I had modded Mario Kart 8 to run faster (I’ll do a tutorial for how to do that soon) and I forgot I had it enabled when I decided to test out playing online. Nintendo may not dig too deep, but if you use cheats or mods on an online game, that’ll get you banned from the game really quickly, plus banned from the Nintendo network soon after.
Make sure you are smart about your settings
If you open up the Settings menu, scroll all the way to the bottom to System, and then to the bottom of the System menu, you’ll want to make sure that two settings are turned off. The first is “Auto Update System” to make sure the Switch doesn’t update to a new version that isn’t compatible with CFW, or has extra tracking built in. The second is the “Send Error Logs” option. With this off, depending on your local privacy laws, it will send less or no logs to Nintendo.
So if you follow these steps, you’ll be less likely to get banned from online play. But if you do get banned, it’s not the end of the world. There are ways around all of the limitations they place on you, even if they are less convenient.