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Now You Can Run Android on the Nintendo Switch with LineageOS 15.1

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We have known for some time that the group of developers known as switchroot has been creating a way to run Android on Nintendo Switch. It is now confirmed that the ROM, based on LineageOS 15.1 – which in turn comes from Android 8.1 Oreo – is now available for download.

The main breakthrough for programmers was finding a way to minimize the number of steps in the installation process – and they did it. Briefly, simply burn an image of the program to the microSD card along with GApps zip files and boot with Hekate, a custom boot loader. Hekate is used to boot TWRP, preinstalled on images, to display files. After that, just restart Android.

This will allow emulation to happen directly on the microSD without actually entering the Switch system. The importance of this “distance” with the core of the video game is that it makes it harder for Nintendo to download an installation to end this party or penalize users running Android on the console.

According to the XDA Developers forum, Android has been running well, including the apps of Netflix and Spotify, Twitch and YouTube. The DraStic emulator was also able to run Nintendo DS and Super NES games well, even with the Joy-Cons working well.

There’s also an installation image that lets you fool NVIDIA applications into thinking that the Switch is NVIDIA Shield TV, giving you access to streaming games from the company – including compatibility with locked devices.

All of this should be adjusted over time. Remember that none of this is supported by Nintendo.

LineageOS 15.1 for Nintendo Switch by switchroot. This is the first publicly available Android ROM for the Nintendo Switch. Based on the Nvidia Shield TV builds it brings a smooth and powerful Android experience to your Switch in both handheld and docked mode.

1. Pick the image that corresponds to the size of your SD card. You can use an image that is smaller than your card. You’ll end up with the remaining space unused on your card.
2. Write the image to your SD card with e.g. balenaEtcher Do not extract the image, Etcher can handle the compressed image just fine! WARNING: This will overwrite any contents on your card! The progress bar/percentage might go haywire in Etcher, but you can ignore that. The flashing will still work and Etcher will let you know when it’s done. It can take up to an hour depending on your SD card’s speed. Also make sure not to format any of the partitions when Windows prompts you to after flashing.
3. Download GApps for Android 8.1. from OpenGApps, use ARM64. Put the file on the first partition of your new SD card
4. If desired download the “Shield-ifier” zip and place it also on the SD card. This will make your Switch identify as Nvidia Shield TV and install the Nvidia app.
5. Load hekate and boot to TWRP by holding VOL+ when you select the Android config.
6. Flash GApps zip, optionally flash other zips
7. Reboot to hekate and boot into Android
8. Complete the inital setup. For the Nvidia app to work make sure to update it from Play Store!