Animal Crossing Save Backup Guide: How To Back Up Your New Horizons Island

New Horizons' summer update added the ability to back up your island data in case of an emergency; here's how the process works.


Animal Crossing: New Horizons' second summer update introduced a handful of new features to the game, including a weekly summer fireworks festival, the ability to fall on your face, and save backups. You'll need to have a paid Nintendo Switch Online subscription to take advantage of the latter, and it functions a little differently from the typical cloud saves offered through the service. If you're unsure how the process works, here's how to back up your Animal Crossing: New Horizons save data.

How To Back Up Your Save Data

After installing New Horizons' 1.4.0 update, you'll see Backups - Not Set beneath the Settings option in the lower lefthand corner of the title screen. Press the Minus button to access the Settings menu, then select Island Backup from the list of options that Tom Nook presents you to begin the backup process.

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Once Island Backup has been selected, Nook will emphasize that this backup function is only intended to be used if your Nintendo Switch is lost or has been damaged. He'll then present you with options to Enable island backup or Listen to explanation. Select the former to enable save backups; select the latter to learn more about the process and its requirements.

Island Backup Requirements

In order to use the Island Backup function, you'll first need to have a paid Nintendo Switch Online membership. Individual subscriptions for the service run for $4 USD for one month, $8 USD for three months, and $20 USD for one year. Nintendo also offers an annual Family Plan that costs $35 USD and covers up to eight Nintendo Accounts, even across multiple systems.

On top of that, you will naturally need to have a physical or digital copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, along with save data for the game. You'll also need to be connected to the internet for your data to be backed up.

How Is Save Data Backed Up?

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After you enable the Island Backup function, your save data will automatically be uploaded periodically, so you won't need to do anything else. Backups will occur when you're not playing the game, even if your system is in sleep mode (so long as you're connected to the internet).

You can see when your data was last backed up on the title screen. The time and date of the latest backup will be displayed in the lower left corner of the screen, beneath the Settings option.

How To Restore Save Data

As Nintendo has been insistent in emphasizing, you can only restore your New Horizons save data if your Switch is lost or has been damaged, so you'll need to have a repaired or replacement system (along with a copy of New Horizons) before you can recover your save. The user who first enabled island backups will need to be the one to restore the save data.

How To Transfer Save Data To Another Switch

At present, New Horizons does not allow you to transfer your save data from one Switch to another. However, Nintendo has previously confirmed that it is working on a function that will allow you to transfer your New Horizons save to a different console. That does not yet have a release date, but it is slated to arrive in a future update.

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