The Nintendo Switch might finally be getting support for Bluetooth headphones, after years of forcing users to rely on either wires or third-party dongles.
Dataminers have been diving into the Switch’s recent 12.0.0 firmware update, which on the surface looks pretty bland. But dataminer OatmealDome (opens in new tab) discovered that the update also adds audio support for the Switch’s Bluetooth driver.
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OatmealDome notes that the update doesn’t appear to be doing anything right now, and it’s not clear if it ever will. But it does mean the Switch could finally, at long last, officially support Bluetooth headphones.
[Nintendo Switch System Update]12.0.0 has added audio support to the Bluetooth driver.*However*, I’m not sure if anything is actually using this new support so far. No guarantees it will ever be used, either.(SOURCE: yellows8 via SwitchBrew)https://t.co/Zyn35f3dZd pic.twitter.com/Ag5I0h8nicApril 7, 2021
Frankly, the console should have supported Bluetooth audio from day one. Especially given how the rest of the tech industry has been moving towards wireless audio for several years. But as clichéd as it sounds, having this feature roll out a few years late is better than never getting it at all.
I just hope that Nintendo unlocks Bluetooth audio support soon. Or at least before we’re allowed to travel again. The Switch’s portability makes it the perfect companion for long trips, but the lack of official Bluetooth audio support has made that bittersweet.
Being able to play Breath of the Wild on a plane is great, until you realize your noise-cancelling headphones don’t support 3.5mm cables. The roar of the engines, and the constant screams of the kid three rows back, really spoils the immersion.
The alternative is buying a dedicated set of headphones just for the Switch, which isn’t ideal. Neither is using a Bluetooth dongle that has its own power needs. Either it’s pulling energy straight from the Switch, which reduces your already limited battery life, or you have to contend with the fact it will need recharging at some point.
Lack of wireless audio support may not be the most pressing issue with the Switch, but it’s not a very big ask. And if Nintendo actually throws us a win, I hope Sony and Microsoft will follow suit. Because I’d rather not have to resort to dedicated wireless headsets or dongles on my other consoles either.