In this tutorial, I will show you how you can extract the firmware files from your Nintendo Switch using a homebrew tool called TegraExplorer and how you can use Daybreak to upgrade or downgrade the firmware of the Switch. You may want to follow this guide if you intend to upgrade the emuMMC firmware version of your Nintendo Switch and you want to use your own firmware files from the Sysnand as the firmware files.
Table of Contents
1. The prerequisites
To follow this guide, you must own a first-generation Nintendo Switch that can be softmodded. If you want to update your emuMMC partition to the same firmware version as your official firmware, you should make sure that your CFW files support the firmware version you’re intending to upgrade to. For example, if you want to dump the official firmware files of firmware 10.2.0, you should make sure that you have Atmosphere 0.14.0 or higher installed. If you want to know how you can install Atmosphere, you can check out my guide here.
Of course, if you already run a CFW on your Switch, you know that you will also need a microSD card and a USB Type C to Type A cable. If you don’t have these products, you can check out some of the recommended products for hacking a Nintendo Switch here.
2. Preparing the Nintendo Switch
First of all, reboot your Nintendo Switch to Hekate. If you’re using Atmosphere, you can press and hold the power button and select the “Reboot” option. Once you’re in Hekate, tap the “Tools” button and select the “SD Card” option under “USB Mass Storage”. Now, connect your Switch to the PC using a USB cable.
OPTIONALLY (Skip if you know how to boot to Hekate): If the “Reboot” option in the Atmosphere doesn’t boot your Switch to Hekate or if you are currently running the official firmware, you can power off the Nintendo Switch and inject the Hekate payload, which can be downloaded here. Scroll down until you find the “hekate_ctcaer” .zip file and place the “bootloader” folder on the microSD card. Then, simply follow steps 6 and 7 of my full CFW Guide to boot to Hekate.
If you don’t have the daybreak.nro already installed on your Switch, you can grab the latest atmosphere.zip file here and extract the daybreak.nro file from the “switch” folder to the “switch” folder on your microSD card.
We need to use Lockpick to first of all dump the console-specific keys from the Switch (without these keys, we can’t dump the firmware files for Daybreak). We then use TegraExplorer to actually dump the firmware files in a format compatible with Daybreak.
After you have copied the .bin files of TegraExplorer and Lockpick, you can right-click on the SD card in the left column of Windows File Explorer and safely eject the card from your PC. We now have to go back to the Nintendo Switch to actually dump the required files using Lockpick and TegraExplorer.
3. Dumping the Switch keys
Once you have disconnected the Switch from the PC, tap the “Close” icon in the top-right of the Hekate menu to return to the main menu. Now, go to “Payloads” and select the “Lockpick_RCM.bin” file to launch Lockpick.
The Switch will now reboot to the Lockpick payload, and you should be greeted by a menu that looks like this:
Now, you want to press the power button to dump the keys from the SysNAND. Again, the Switch will reboot and necesarry keys, as shown below:
You can press any key to return to the main menu. Scroll down to the “Payloads” option using the volume keys, press the power button, and select the “reboot_payload.bin” file to boot back to the Hekate menu.
4. Dumping the firmware files
Once you are back in the Hekate menu, go to “Payloads” and select the “TegraExplorer.bin” file to boot to TegraExplorer. You should be greeted by a screen that looks something like this:
Scroll down to “Tools” and the press “A”. You will now see the option “Dump Firmware” listed.
Simply browse to this option “A” again once the “Dump Firmware” text is highlighted. Here, scroll to the option called “Daybreak” and press “A”. The Switch should now start the process of dumping the firmware files to your microSD card, which should look something like this:
The process may take around 2-3 minutes to complete, depending on the speed of your microSD card. Once completed, you can navigate back to the main menu. On the main menu, scroll down to “Exit” and select the option “Reboot to Hekate” or “Reboot to Atmosphere”.
5. Installing the firmware files
If you chose the option to reboot back to Hekate, go to “Launch” and boot to Atmosphere (either through fusee or through the built-in CFW (emuMMC) option of Hekate). Once booted into Atmosphere, launch the Homebrew Menu and select the Daybreak application and press on the “Install” button.
You now want to select the update directory. Browse to “tegraexplorer/Firmware/10” and Daybreak will start scanning the firmware files.
Once Daybreak has scanned the .nca files, click “Continue” and “Preserve settings” in the following screen. You can choose to install the FAT32 driver or the FAT32 + exFAT drivers. Even if your microSD card is formatted to FAT32, it doesn’t harm to choose the latter option, which is the one I selected. Press “Continue” once again to start the installation process. After a minute or so, Daybreak should say that the update was succesfully installed.
You can now reboot the system and check the firmware version in System Settings>System>Current system version. If you updated to firmware 10.1.0, you should see the following:
And that’s how you can dump the firmware files on a Nintendo Switch and use the files to update the firmware version!
If you run into any issues or if you have any question, please feel free to join the Discord server! If you want to learn more about how to install a CFW on a Nintendo Switch, you can find my detailed tutorial here.