The Nintendo Switch Lite functions differently than the standard Nintendo Switch. Specifically, you cannot actually switch the console between handheld mode and docked mode. Part of the reason for this is that the controls on the Switch Lite are not detachable from the system itself. This gives the Switch Lite a lower price and allows for much more portability. However, this design choice does not mean Joy-Con controllers are completely incompatible with the Switch Lite. In fact, with the right accessories and a few tips, you can play with the Switch Lite in tabletop mode and control it via Joy-Con controllers. Here’s how to use Joy-Con controllers on the Nintendo Switch Lite.

How to connect Joy-Cons to the Nintendo Switch Lite

1. Get Joy-Con controllers

You will need a couple of accessories before you can use the Joy-Con controllers with Nintendo Switch Lite. The first being the Joy-Con controllers, themselves.

They come in packs of one or two with Joy-Con straps for horizontal play. We recommend getting the two-pack as this will let you play all Switch games with the Joy-Cons since some do not support single Joy-Con play.

If you plan on playing with other people in games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, then you should pick up a second pack of Joy-Con controllers.

2. Pick up a charging station

Next, you need to purchase a charging station for the controllers since Joy-Cons cannot be charged using the Switch Lite. There’s a four-controller charging station you can get online or in most major retailers that is powered using a USB connection. It even offers battery level indicators for the controllers.

When you aren’t using the Joy-Con controllers, they should be stored in the station so they’re always ready to go.

3.  Get a playstand

If you’re going to be playing your Nintendo Switch Lite using Joy-Cons, you’ll need something to hold it upright since it doesn’t include the mini kickstand of its predecessor. We recommend the HORI Dual USB Playstand because of its charging and connecting features. However, any stand that puts the Switch Lite in an upright position will do.

4. Purchase a Joy-Con grip (optional)

This step is optional, but if you want more of a true controller feel, it’s recommended to get a Joy-Con grip, which will allow you to slide your Joy-Con into a mold that feels like a traditional game pad. They’re hard to come by these days, as are most Nintendo Switch accessories, including the system itself.

5. Pair the Joy-cons to your Switch Lite

Once you have charged controllers, pick up a left and right Joy-Con and get ready to connect it to the Nintendo Switch Lite.

Turn your system on and select the Controllers tab at the bottom of the home menu.

Next, select the Change Grip and Order option. Your Switch Lite is now ready to pair with your Joy-Cons.

Press down the syncing button for a second or two on the Joy-Con controller you’re pairing. It’s located along the railing, so remove the Joy-Con strap if you already have it on the controller.

It should pair after a few seconds. You can then choose which control configuration you want to use by holding down the L and R buttons on the controllers. If you’re using two controllers, press L on the left one and R on the right one. If you are only using one, flip it sideways and hit the little L and R buttons located on the railing.

At this point, you can put back on the Joy-Con straps to your controllers.

When you put the Switch Lite to sleep, the Joy-Con controllers should automatically disconnect. However, they should still be synced, so just touch the home button or a face button on each one when you’re ready to connect it to the Switch Lite again.

Can you use the Pro controller with the Nintendo Switch Lite?

The excellent Pro Controller can also be used with the Switch Lite by following the same steps as using the Joy-Cons, and will function identically to using a Pro Controller in tabletop mode on the original Switch.

Follow the above instructions to go back to the Change Grip and Order section, and then press the syncing button on the Pro Controller. It’s located on the top of the controller, right next to the USB port. After a few seconds, it should be paired, and you can press the L and R buttons to connect it for play.

If you prefer to play with the Pro Controller connected via USB, that is also an option. Nintendo recommends using an approved hub device, including HORI’s Dual USB Playstand. It will allow you to charge the system and includes a kickstand, which the Switch Lite doesn’t have. Once you have the Switch Lite docked in the stand, just connect it to the Pro Controller using the USB cable, and it will immediately be paired and ready for use.

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