This is the layman's guide for lazy people who would rather spend $20 and have this be a simple, 15-minute process than spend $0 and take 6 hours.

1. Materials Needed

  1. $10 - $30: RCM Loader One:
  2. $2 - $5: RCM "Jig" (included with RCM Loader):
  3. $10 - $20: UHS-I certified 64GB MicroSD:

Pick up an "RCMLoader One" from eBay: It comes with "the jig" (basically a fancy paperclip) ~$20.

This is an alternative to loading software onto your computer or phone and using it as a loader.

If you're feeling cheap and would rather spend the time to futz with your phone, you at least need the Recovery Mode "Jig": ~$3

If you're feeling like playing around with paperclips or taking apart your switch just to touch to pins together to save $1.99... you can't be helped.

Note: mine didn't work as-is out of the box, so be sure to follow the update instructions below

2. Check your Serial Number

Go to and check your serial number.

A low serial number means that you have a switch that can easily load homebrew, even if it's running the latest version. A high serial number means it's back to the drawing board.

You'll have a 4-character prefix, like XAW1 and then 10 digits.

If it starts with 000, you're almost certainly good.

If it's in the grey zone (or rather the orange zone), you'll just have to test and see.

If your serial number is reported as patched ("IPATCHED"), don't waste your time - just look for a different Switch on ebay, Facebook Marketplace, craiglist, or whatever is popular in your community.

Tell the seller you're looking for one of the original first-run switches sold before June 2018 and want to know the serial number to make sure it's an original model (or try to explain homebrew to them and potentially sound like a sketchy person who is going to do something nefarious with their serial number - it's up to you). After that, sell your Switch.

3. Test your Switch

  1. Hold the power button and select Power Off (NOT Sleep)
  2. Remove the right joy-con and slide "the jig" in
  3. Hold Volume + and Power

If nothing happens, huzzah! It's in recovery mode. You win!

Sidenote: It's probably just as well that your switch be updated to the latest software.

4. Charge the RCM Loader

Plug it into a USB something or other to charge for 15 minutes or an hour or whatever.

5. Update the RCM Loader Firmware

  1. Get the latest RCM Firmware:
  2. Plug the device into your computer
  3. Copy the IAP folder to the "NO NAME" USB drive
  4. Eject the drive
  5. Wait 5 seconds
  6. Unplug the drive
  7. Wait 5 seconds
  8. Plug in the drive
  9. Wait 15 seconds
  10. Do whatever

6. Update the RCM Loader Payload

  1. Get the latest "hekate" payload:
  2. Plug in the RCM drive
  3. Rename ATMOSPHERE_HEKATE/payload.bin to ATMOSPHERE_HEKATE/backup.bin
  4. Copy hekate_ctcaer_5.1.1.bin to ATMOSPHERE_HEKATE
    • (version number may be different)
  5. Rename it to payload.bin
    • (you may also want to try just payload if your computer hides extensions)

8. Delete WiFi Networks

You're going to make a backup of your Switch.

Before you even do that, remove all of the WiFi networks.

The goal is to leave your official, legit, original Switch software completely alone, but to have a backup that has not and cannot report itself, just in case.

8. Copy Homebrew to your Switch's SD Card

The loader is the loader, but the firmware (a.k.a. "CFW") is the firmware. You need both. The "CFW" goes onto your SD Card.

  1. Go to
  2. Click "Kosmos Defaults"
  3. Add a game for good measure, such as Mystery of Solarus DX
  4. Download your ZIP (at the bottom)
  5. Select everything inside of sd folder and copy it to your switch SD card
  6. Eject the Switch SD card
  7. Wait 15 seconds
  8. Put the card back in your switch

Copy Lockpick_RCM.bin to bootloader/payloads

9. Run Homebrew

Set the Loader

  1. Plug in the RCM Loader
  2. Power on the Switch
  3. Press and hold the button for 4 seconds until it flashes blue

Load the Loader

  1. Power off the Switch (NOT Sleep)
  2. Remove the right joy-con
  3. Insert the Jig
  4. Hold the volume
  5. Hold power
  6. Release once the RCMloader turns blue

First Steps:

  1. Tools

  2. Backup

  3. Backup Boot 0 + Boot 1 (base system)

  4. Backup RAW GPP (games, saves, etc) 30 minutes

  5. Create emuNAND (don't ruin your sysNAND)

    • hombrew will boot this as default as per /emucmmc/emummc.ini
    • /emucmmc/Nintendo is separate from normal

10. What to do...

  • bin - injectors, bootloaders, CFW
  • xci - Physical Cartridge Dump
  • nsp - Online Game Dump
  • nro - Indie Software (Homebrew Apps)

Apps you need

  • HB Menu (redundant...)
  • Tinfoil

11. Factory Reset

If you were goofing around and accidentally did something stupid - as in anything that modifies the original system NAND - then you should restore your backup NAND or do a factory reset.

By AJ ONeal

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