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 do. 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, the Switch could be charged.
Turns out the theory was correct. First reported by QZ and confirmed by Polygon, connecting a powered-down Switch to a MacBook or MacBook Pro will charge the console. QZ reported that while the Switch is active, it will charge a MacBook Pro. Polygon tested the theory on a 2015 MacBook and can not confirm that even when on, the Switch did not act as an external charger for the computer.
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 4310mAh, 3.7V Lithium-ion battery that uses 39W of power) would power the larger system (the MacBook Pro has a 54.5-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery and can take up to 61W 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 QZ 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 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.