There’s currently only a few ways to charge the Nintendo Switch, none of which are overly convenient.
One of the suggestions that has been made since Nintendo first announced the specs for the system is plugging the console into a new MacBook or MacBook Pro. The Switch uses a USB-C port to charge — the same port Apple’s new line of MacBook and MacBook Pros use. Hypothetically, someone could use a power adapter to charge the MacBook, and then, using a USB-C to USB-C cable to connect the two, could charge the Switch.
Turns out the theory was correct. First reported on Twitter by a Quartz reporter and confirmed by Polygon, connecting a powered-down Switch to a MacBook or MacBook Pro will charge the console. Quartz reported that while the Switch is active, it will charge a MacBook Pro. Polygon tested the theory on a 2015 MacBook and was unable to confirm that a Switch would charge the laptop.
In the photo below, the Switch is completely powered off, and the battery charging symbol can be seen in the upper left hand corner.
This shouldn’t be too surprising, but the fact that the smaller system (the Switch has a 4310 mAh, 3.7 V lithium-ion battery that uses 39W of power) would power the larger system (the MacBook Pro has a 54.5 Wh lithium-polymer battery and can take up to 61 W of power) is interesting. There isn’t an option to choose which system you’d like to charge through the USB-C cable, but it’s natural to assume the MacBook would charge the Switch, even if Quartz is reporting that the opposite can occur when the console is off.
A good comparison is the automatic change of flow in power when you connect your phone to your computer. The iPhone or Android phone doesn’t charge your computer, either when it’s on or off, but the computer seems to inherently know to charge the phone.
It should also be noted that if you’re planning on picking up extra charging tools for your Switch, it might be best to buy a wall charger for a MacBook Pro. The extra boost in power should, hypothetically, charge the console at a faster speed.
The Nintendo Switch will be available to pick up on March 3. If you’re still on the fence about buying one at launch, check out our in-depth review of the system.