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The Nintendo Switch launches worldwide tomorrow, March 3, and as journalists and reviewers have had their hands on the console for the past week, news of its hardware and software features have been shared online.

This week, Quartz technology reporter Mike Murphy discovered that when plugging the Nintendo Switch into a MacBook Pro through a dual USB-C cable, the Switch inexplicably acts as an external battery pack for the Apple laptop, providing charge to the MacBook instead of being charged itself. In the image, it appears that a third party USB-C cable is being used to connect the two devices (in the box, Switch only comes with a USB-C to AC adapter cable).

switch-and-macbook-pro-800x469.jpg

Lol if you plug a Nintendo Switch into a new MacBook Pro, the Switch charges the laptop, not the other way around pic.twitter.com/YJhMct6fKO - Mike Murphy (@mcwm) March 1, 2017
Murphy also discovered a slight workaround: if users power down the Switch before connecting it to the MacBook, then the MacBook will charge the Switch. The Switch will also charge off of Apple's USB-C wall adapter cable bundled in recent MacBook boxes, and sold separately online.

Nintendo confirmed on its website that the Switch has a non-removable 4310mAh, 3.7V Lithium-ion battery, and early FCC filings -- as well as recent pictures -- of the included AC adapter confirmed that the console draws power up to 15.0V/2.6A, equating to 39W. The non-Touch Bar MacBook Pro has a 54.5-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery and can draw up to 61W from a power adapter.

Since much of Nintendo Switch's battery-related questions are still up in the air in the time before launch, it remains unclear why the console would not automatically leech charge off the larger MacBook Pro. As game designer Bennett Foddy pointed out on Twitter, the connection between the Switch and MacBook Pro isn't inherently buggy or wrong, but it's easy to think that the MacBook Pro (battery life ~10 hours) would naturally provide power to the Switch (battery life 2.5-6.5 hours), like it does to iPhones and iPads.

In related Nintendo Switch and Apple news, Nintendo today launched its Nintendo Switch Parental Control app for iOS devices on the App Store [Direct Link]. The app will let parents remotely control the content of the games their kids play, as well as for how long, and even be able to restrict certain ESRB ratings and online features.

Article Link: Nintendo Switch Acts as External Battery Pack for USB-C MacBook Pro, Parental Control App Available
 

dannys1

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2007
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Powering down the Switch first isn't a "work around" this is how USB-C PD works.

You'll also find if you plug the power adapter into the MacBook first, then the Switch into a USB-C port, the switch will start charging.
 

Tycho24

Suspended
Aug 29, 2014
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Who knows. A guy on YouTube tried to see what happened if he plugged the MBP into multiple chargers simultaneously, and I think he damaged the computer and it wouldn't charge at all.

Lol, care to post that link??
That sounds ABSOLUTELY unbelievable.
The power would draw from the 1st plugged in cable, treating the other as an accessory cable.
 
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zahuh

macrumors regular
Oct 22, 2004
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I wish we could confirm whether the MacBook Pro 87w charger will work with the switch. I'm getting mine tomorrow and don't want to destroy it!
 

earthTOmitchel

Contributing Editor
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Mar 6, 2015
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Who knows. A guy on YouTube tried to see what happened if he plugged the MBP into multiple chargers simultaneously, and I think he damaged the computer and it wouldn't charge at all.
With the 2016 MacBook, "who knows" is honestly the best baseline for these types of questions, good point.
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I wish we could confirm whether the MacBook Pro 87w charger will work with the switch. I'm getting mine tomorrow and don't want to destroy it!
I'd love to know the same for my ~20,000 mAh mophie battery pack :confused:
 

shamino

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2004
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Interesting. I suspect this behavior is by design - so the Switch can charge its associated wireless controllers. The fact that it delivers current to other devices (like a laptop) is just a side-effect.
 
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gtg465x

macrumors 6502a
Sep 12, 2016
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Interesting. I suspect this behavior is by design - so the Switch can charge its associated wireless controllers. The fact that it delivers current to other devices (like a laptop) is just a side-effect.

It is by design... USB-C design. Any device with properly implemented USB-C, USB Power Delivery, and a battery or power supply should theoretically be able to charge other USB-C devices plugged into them. Usually the device with the smaller or less charged battery is the one that receives charge. This is why Android phones for the past couple years with USB-C ports have been able to charge things like Bluetooth headphones and even other Android phones connected directly to them. The battery in that Nintendo switch is nearly as large as the one in the MacBook Pro, so it doesn't surprise me at all to see that it will charge the MacBook Pro. This is just how USB-C devices with USB Power Delivery implemented work. Similarly you could charge a MacBook with a MacBook Pro.
 
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decimortis

macrumors 6502a
Aug 28, 2007
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Toronto
I wish we could confirm whether the MacBook Pro 87w charger will work with the switch. I'm getting mine tomorrow and don't want to destroy it!

The charger (or battery pack) has to be capable of producing 15v 2.6 amps to charge the Switch.

Here's a video source:
 

djlythium

macrumors 65816
Jun 11, 2014
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1,433
I was thinking 'flip the cable around', but I no longer take that stance after reading the comments.
 

0098386

Suspended
Jan 18, 2005
21,574
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Hah, that's a neat side feature.

Can't wait to get a Switch tonight. Feels like being a kid again!
 
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Dreamer2go

macrumors 6502a
Jun 23, 2007
675
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Lol... that's why it is called Nintendo "Switch"
It can easily "switch" its role in becoming a battery pack, or being charged by a Macbook Pro lol!
 

konqerror

macrumors 68020
Dec 31, 2013
2,298
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I wish we could confirm whether the MacBook Pro 87w charger will work with the switch. I'm getting mine tomorrow and don't want to destroy it!

If the Switch requires 15 V, then the MacBook Pro 87W brick will not charge it. The Apple charger violates USB-PD specifications by not supporting 15 V, it only supports 5, 9 and 20 V. Welcome to the USB-PD compatibility nightmare.

Go check this: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1vnpEXfo2HCGADdd9G2x9dMDWqENiY2kgBJUu29f_TX8/pubhtml#
The TLDR being that there does not exist a wall adapter that can charge a 15" MacBook Pro and Switch at full speed.
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
11,776
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Central U.S.
Seems like these devices need a software update so you can switch which way the power flows.

Can't wait to pick up my Switch from Best Buy tonight!
 

Anony-mouse

macrumors member
Aug 25, 2016
46
51
Here we go


Man, it hurts to watch that video. It looks like we could use the USB-C cable to launch the MB Pro as a projectile! Great for accessories, terrible for charging especially in meeting rooms or conference halls with people moving around constantly.

I'm glad I went with the 2015 13" MBA instead of the new MB Pro.
 
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