How to Turn Off Motion Controls on Nintendo Switch


While the Switch does not have as much focus on motion controls as the Wii did, its Joy-Cons (and other parts of the Switch) still have motion features. Not all games use it, but enough do, though since you can play the Switch handheld, a lot of these are optional features. But how do you turn off motion controls on Nintendo Switch?

Unfortunately, it is not possible at this point in time to turn off motion controls from the Nintendo Switch’s system menu. Thus, you need to go into the settings of each Nintendo Switch game you own that features motion controls and, if possible, turn them off. Some, however, do not have a way to turn off motion controls.

The topic of motion controls, however, is more complicated than a single paragraph. There are multiple kinds of Nintendo Switch controls, and some games have more or less motion capability than others.

How to turn off motion controls on Nintendo Switch

As mentioned above, system-wide disabling of motion controls in any Nintendo Switch controller is impossible, but doing it in most games that use it is not. There are a couple ways that this can be done. First, check out the options or settings section of whatever game you’re playing. If it has optional motion controls, in all likelihood, you should be able to turn them off.

Super Mario Odyssey is a good example of a game that mostly uses traditional controls, but has motion controls for more complicated maneuvers (like cap-throwing). While these controls are recommended, they are, thankfully, fully optional, and can thus be disabled in the Settings menu.

For games where they are optional, and you can’t turn them off (or can’t find the option), your only option is to look into a third-party controller that does not have motion capabilities. Most third-party Joy-Cons have motion controls, but there are traditional controllers that do not, so consider those.

What Nintendo Switch controllers have motion controls?

Not all Nintendo Switch games use motion controls; in fact, many are perfectly playable without ever using motion controls. For example, while Super Mario Odyssey has multiple motion controller abilities, you never need to use these to beat the game, or even play it well.

The signature type of controllers that work with the Nintendo Switch are the Joy-Cons, the detachable controllers. They can be slotted on either side of the Switch, separated to use separately, or can even slot into a type of controller that only works with them. Motion control in Nintendo Switch games is usually designed with the Joy-Cons in mind, though some work fine with any type of motion control.

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The Nintendo Switch also has traditional controllers, like the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and the GameCube controller, both of which have motion capabilities built into them. A game that requires two separate Joy-Cons to do proper motion, however, will be unable to operate with these controllers, as there is only one source of motion.

Does the Nintendo Switch Lite have motion controls?

Since the Nintendo Switch Lite does not have the ability to slot Joy-Con controllers into it, they are less likely to be used. Thankfully, Nintendo made sure to add motion capabilities to the Lite, though like the Switch’s traditional controllers, it is not as deep as the Joy-Cons’ motion, since it’s one unit. Thus, it can only do certain motion-based maneuvers.

Despite this, separated Joy-Cons can still work with the Nintendo Switch Lite, allowing you to play all games requiring full motion controls. However, you need to use them separately, and would have to have the Switch propped up or on a table to properly do it, making it an inconvenient method. This method also works with the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, though at that point, you may as well just use the Nintendo Switch Lite itself to control your game.

What kind of motion technology does the Nintendo Switch use?

Both Joy-Cons come with an accelerometer and gyroscope, though the left and right Joy-Cons are not the exact same in terms of their technology. The right Joy-Con has an infrared depth tracker, which while rare, is used in some games, such as Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training (unavailable in America) and 1-2 Switch! The accelerometer and gyroscope are both used much more often, both for motion tracking and pointing (similar to how the Wii Remote functions, though without the Wii’s Sensor Bar).

The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller functions similarly, having both an accelerometer and gyroscope, allowing for much of the same features, though once again, less complex. This is in addition to all Nintendo Switch models having an accelerometer and gyroscope built-in. While the regular Nintendo Switch model can do these things with the Joy-Cons, being able to do it on their own allows compatibility with the Labo devices.

What popular Nintendo Switch games have optional motion controls that can be disabled?

Arguably three of the biggest games on the Nintendo Switch that use motion controls optionally are:

  • Super Mario Odyssey
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The first two games can have motion controls completely disabled, but the third only allows disabling them for limited purposes. This is mainly for disabling gesture attacks and gyroscope aiming. Unfortunately, certain puzzles and abilities, such as Magnesis, can only be performed using motion controls.

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