Animal Crossing: New Horizons – How To Backup Your Island Save Data

Your island is a precious customizable paradise in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and the new Summer Update adds a function players (me included) have been begging for — the ability to backup our island save data. Now if the unthinkable happens your island will be protected. If your Nintendo Switch is lost or broken, you’ll be able to use this feature to restore your lost save data.

Weirdly enough, this is a very unique feature on the Nintendo Switch. Most games don’t allow save data backups of any kind. Even this Animal Crossing: New Horizons backup feature is a little wonky — it’s connected to your Nintendo Online account, so you’ll need to sign-up (and pay the online subscription) to upload your data to the cloud.

Learn everything you need to know about that important new feature in the full guide below.

More Animal Crossing: New Horizons guides:

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How To Enable Island Backup

NOTE: You must update Animal Crossing: New Horizons to Version 1.4.0 or higher before you can enable island backup.

REQUIREMENTS: Players must have a Nintendo Switch Online Membership subscription to use this service. You can sign-up here.

  • To Enable Island Backup:
    • Press [] on the Animal Crossing: New Horizons title screen to access the Settings Menu.
    • Select Island Backup and then Enable Island Backup to activate the feature.

Once Island Backup is enabled, your island will be periodically saved to the cloud. When you are not playing at the Nintendo Switch is not currently in use, the Island Backup feature will upload your latest island save. You can check the Settings Menu to see when your island has last been updated.

Remember, your island will only be uploaded if you have an active Nintendo Switch Online Membership and if you are connected to the internet. If your subscription is expired, you will still be able to access the last save uploaded to the service if you re-subscribe at a later date.

How To Restore Island Save Data

The Island Backup feature is only for restoring your Island Data incase your Nintendo Switch is lost or broken.

When using a new / repaired Nintendo Switch, login to your Nintendo Online account and then start the Animal Crossing: New Horizons game. Make sure your game has been updated to version 1.4.0+ or higher.

  • As Animal Crossing: New Horizons begins, hold [] at the black screen where the Nintendo Logo appears.
  • If you’re holding the [] button, a message will appear asking if you’d like to check for restore data.
    • Select Begin and then Check to search for island backup data to restore. Any islands connected to your account will appear — select the island you want to restore, then select Recover Data.
    • Select Yes, please to confirm your choice.

Any current island data will be erased and replaced with the island data you selected. If you already have an island you’ve started, it will be lost. You’ll only get this feature on a fully-patched version of Animal Crossing: New Horizons — you’ll also need to be subscribed to Nintendo Switch Online, and be connected to the internet.

If you need further help getting this feature to work, check out Nintendo’s support site for more details.