Nintendo Switch: Beginner’s guide to update Atmosphere CFW to the latest

This guide covers updating Atmosphere and Hekate to the latest version.

Looking for the easiest, simplest way to update your Nintendo Switch Atmosphere CFW (Custom Firmware) to the latest? Then you are on the right place. This guide is not intended to replace any of the official guides made by the original contributors, but rather to complement the official guides, by using a more friendly and more detail steps so that everyone (not only advance users) can update their Switch Atmosphere CFW to the latest.

Just to set the expectation right, these are what this guide is covering and not covering.

What this guide covers:

  • Updating Atmosphere CFW to the latest version
  • Updating Hekate to the latest version

What this guide doesn’t cover:

For topics that are not covered on this guide, I’ll consider to cover them in the coming future. Alternatively, you can also request me to cover any of the topics above by commenting on the comment section down below.


Prerequisites

Before updating Atmosphere and Hekate, do ensure you are meeting the prerequisites here.


1) Nintendo Switch with Atmosphere CFW (Mandatory)

Use the following guide to check whether or not your Switch is currently running Atmosphere CFW: Here’s how to easily know whether your Nintendo Switch is running CFW or OFW at JILAXZONE.


2) MicroSD Card adapter (Mandatory)

Any MicrosSD card adapter will do the job, as long as you can plug your Nintendo Switch MicroSD card into your Computer.
In case you don’t have any, check out this link to get one.

MicroSD Card AdapterMicroSD Card Adapter on Amazon
MicroSD Card Adapter on AliExpress

3) RCM Jig (Optional)

RCM Jig is required if you are using unpatched Switch. This is used to enable unpatched Switch to boot into Recovery Mode. If you are using other version of Switch, then use your usual method to boot into Recovery Mode or boot into Atmosphere.
In case you don’t have any, check out this link to get one.

RCM JigRCM Jig on Amazon

RCM Jig on AliExpress

4) USB-C Cable to connect your Switch into Computer (Optional)

USB-C Cable is required if you are using TegraRcmGUI to boot your Switch into Atmosphere and Hekate. If you are using some other methods and depending on the other methods you are using, the USB-C Cable may not be required.


Here are the steps to update Atmosphere CFW & Hekate to the latest version

Before starting, you should ensure that 1) you are currently running on CFW (use this link to check and ensure: Here’s how to easily know whether your Nintendo Switch is running CFW or OFW at JILAXZONE) and 2) you know how to reboot your Nintendo Switch back into CFW, because I won’t explain in detail how you can boot into CFW here in this article (since there are multiple models of Nintendo Switch and there are multiple ways you can do to boot into CFW). However in case you need, you can refer to this guide on how you can restart an unpatched Nintendo Switch: Here’s how to turn on, restart and fully shut down Nintendo Switch while running Atmosphere CFW at JILAXZONE.

And most importantly, although I have fully tested all the steps here on my Switch and successfully updated my Switch to the latest version of Atmosphere and Hekate, this guide is provided as-is. Should you proceed to follow the guide, DO IT AT YOUR OWN RISK. I won’t be held responsible should anything happen to your Nintendo Switch.

The steps written here are tested on:

1) Nintendo Switch running OS 10.0 with Atmosphere 0.15.0 (before update) into Nintendo Switch running 13.1.0 with Atmosphere 1.2.4 (after update).

2) PC running Windows 11. PC is used to download the required software and for my case, to help me boot into Atmosphere via TegraRcmGUI.

Should you are using different version of Nintendo Switch OS and / or Atmosphere and / or Computer OS, the steps may be slightly different but should not deviate too much. Anyway, in case you have questions / issues, feel free to put them down on the comment section down below, I’ll be more than happy to help you.

The steps written below is intended to be a generic steps that can update Atmosphere and Hekate regardless of their version.

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Step 1) Download Atmosphere latest release

This is the Nintendo Switch CFW (Custom Firmware). The package is called atmosphere-X.XX-master-AAAAA+hbl-Y.YY+hbmenu-Z.ZZ.zip.

Where:
X.X.X is referring to the Atmosphere version.
AAAAA is referring to the unique ID given to each Atmosphere releases
Y.Y.Y is referring to HBL version
Z.Z.Z is referring to the HB menu version.

For easier references, let’s just call the package as Atmosphere.zip. Using your Computer, download Atmosphere.zip into your Computer folder.

Download linkhttps://github.com/Atmosphere-NX/Atmosphere/releases

Step 2) Download fusee.bin

This file is used by TegraRcmGUI app to help boot into Atmosphere. Don’t worry, details steps are given below. Using your Computer, download fusee.bin into your Computer folder.

Download linkhttps://github.com/Atmosphere-NX/Atmosphere/releases

Step 3) Download Hekate

This is the bootloader. Required for Atmosphere to boot. The package is called hekate_ctcaer_X.XX_Nyx_Y.YYzip.

Where:
X.X.X is referring to the Hekate version.
Y.Y.Y is referring to the Nyx version.

For easier reference, let’s just call the package as Hekate.zip. Using your Computer, download Hekate.zip into your Computer folder.

Download linkhttps://github.com/CTCaer/hekate/releases

Step 4) Download TegraRcmGUI

TegraRcmGUI is the app used inside your Computer to help boot Switch into Atmosphere CFW. Download the portable version: TegraRcmGUI_v2.6_portable.zip. For easier reference, let’s just call the package as TegraRcmGUI.zip.

Download linkhttps://github.com/eliboa/TegraRcmGUI/releases

Step 5) Unzip Atmosphere.zip into your Computer folder

Unzip Atmosphere.zip to anywhere on your local folder (E.g.: C:\switch\atmosphere ). For easier reference, let’s just call this folder as Atmosphere folder.

Once you have done unzipping, inside Atmosphere folder, you should be able to find 2 folders and 1 file listed as below.

Item NameType
atmosphereFolder
switchFolder
hbmenu.nroFile

Step 6) Unzip Hekate.zip into your Computer folder

Unzip Hekate.zip to anywhere on your local folder (E.g.: C:\switch\hekate ). For easier reference, let’s just call this folder as Hekate folder.

Once you have done unzipping, inside Hekate folder, you should be able to find 1 folder and 1 file listed as below.

Item NameType
bootloaderFolder
hekate_ctcaer_X.X.X.binFile

Where:
X.X.X is referring to the Hekate version.


Step 7) Unzip TegraRcmGUI.zip into your Computer folder

Unzip TegraRcmGUI.zip to anywhere on your local folder (E.g.: C:\switch\tegrarcmgui ). For easier reference, let’s just call this folder as TegraRcmGUI folder.

Once you have done unzipping TegraRcmGUI.zip file, inside TegraRcmGUI folder, you should be able to find plenty of files, but most importantly, it has to have TegraRcmGUI.exe.


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Step 8) Switch off your Nintendo Switch

Switch off your Nintendo Switch which running Atmosphere CFW (Do not put to sleep, but to switch off). Press the Switch Power button for 5 second until the Power menu pops-up, then select “Power Options”, then “Turn Off” to turn off the Switch.


Step 9) Take out the MicroSD Card & Plug the MicroSD Card to your Computer

Once fully switched off, take out the MicroSD card from the Nintendo Switch.

Using the MicroSD card adapter, plug the MicroSD card into your Computer. Your Nintendo Switch MicroSD card should be detected by your Computer.


Step 10) Backup your MicroSD Card Contents

This step is important, in case you do something wrong, you can always revert back to your previous state. Use the following steps to backup your Switch MicroSD Card:

a) Open Windows Explorer and create a MicroSD Backup folder anywhere you like (E.g.: C:\switch\microsdbackup).

b) Open Windows Explorer (another one) and navigate to the MicroSD Card folder (This could be on your D:\, E:\, F:\, G:\ folder).

c) Inside MicroSD Card folder, select everything you can see by pressing Ctrl+A, then copy everything by pressing Ctrl+C.

d) Now go back to MicroSD Backup folder (E.g.: C:\switch\microsdbackup), then press Ctrl+V to paste everything inside MicroSD Card folder into MicroSD Backup folder.

Wait until all files has been transferred successfully. Once all files has been successfully transferred, means you have successfully backup your Switch MicroSD Card.


Step 11) Remove existing atmosphere and switch folder from MicroSD Card

Once you have done backing up your Nintendo Switch MicroSD Card, the next thing you need to do is to remove existing atmosphere related folders and files. Remove from your MicroSD Card the following items:

Item NameType
atmosphereFolder
switchFolder
hbmenu.nroFile

Step 12) Copy contents inside Atmosphere folder into MicroSD Card

a) Go into the Atmosphere folder (see Step 5).

b) Copy everything inside Atmosphere folder (2 folders and 1 file) and paste them into MicroSD Card root folder.

Inside MicroSD Card root folder, you should now see at least these items:

Item NameType
NintendoFolder
atmosphereFolder
switchFolder
hbmenu.nroFile

Step 13) Remove existing bootloader folder from MicroSD Card

The next thing you need to do is to remove existing bootloader related folders and files. Remove from your MicroSD Card the following items:

Item NameType
bootloaderFolder

Step 14) Copy contents inside Hekate folder into MicroSD Card

a) Go into the Hekate folder (see Step 6).

b) Copy bootloader folder inside Hekate folder (1 folder) and paste them into MicroSD Card root folder.

Inside MicroSD Card root folder, you should now see at least these items:

Item NameType
NintendoFolder
atmosphereFolder
switchFolder
hbmenu.nroFile
bootloaderFolder

Once you have copied bootloader folder and have check the item completeness (see the checklist above), you have successfully updated Atmosphere and Hekate to the latest version. The next steps are to boot into Hekate first then into Atmosphere.


Step 15) Using TegraRcmGUI, boot into Atmosphere

This is the method I’m using for my unpatched Switch. You can follow this method or you can also use any other methods you typically use to boot into Atmosphere – the point here is that, you need to boot into Atmosphere.

a) Plug the MicroSD Card into Nintendo Switch. Do not turn on your Nintendo Switch.

b) Put the RCM Jig into the Nintendo Switch Right Joy-Con railings.

c) Plug your Nintendo Switch into the Computer using the USB-C cable. Your Nintendo Switch is in off (turned off) position.

d) Once your Nintendo Switch has been connected to your Computer using the USB-C cable, on your Nintendo Switch console, press and hold Volume + button and while holding it, press and hold the Switch Power button. If you do this correctly, the TegraRCMGUI application should change its screen from “NO RCM” with red background to “RCM OK” with green background. You can now release both the Volume + and Power button on your Nintendo Switch.

e) On your Computer, go into TegraRcmGUI folder (see Step 7), open TegraRcmGUI.exe (TegraRcmGUI app).

f) On TegraRcmGUI app Payload tab, click the “Browse” button next to the “Inject payload” button and navigate to the download folder and select fusee.bin.

g) On TegraRcmGUI app on your Computer, click on “Inject payload” button. You should see now the icon turn from green into orange and before finally turn back to green. If you see the icon turned back to green, then you do it correctly.


Your Switch now boots into Atmosphere and eventually boot into Nintendo Switch OS. Congrats, you have made it successfully!


Bring it all together

So using the steps above, you should get your Atmosphere and Hekate updated to the latest one. While I try my best to make this guide to be as simple and as generic as possible, however it’s good to always read all the release notes from both Atmosphere and Hekate themselves when they release a new updates – because there may be certain new things they added which my generic steps don’t cover it yet. Anyway, I include the links to both Atmosphere and Hekate below.

Atmospherehttps://github.com/Atmosphere-NX/Atmosphere/releases
Hekatehttps://github.com/CTCaer/hekate/releases

In case you encounter any difficulties on any of the steps, don’t hesitate to ask on the comment section down below. I’ll be happy to assist.

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4 thoughts on “Nintendo Switch: Beginner’s guide to update Atmosphere CFW to the latest

  • April 18, 2022 at 9:39 am
    Permalink

    Hi, I was following your guide for updating atmosphere and when I was finished following your steps for some reason my switch would not load into atmosphere properly so I could not load any games or tinfoil. Can you help me?

    Reply
    • April 23, 2022 at 8:06 am
      Permalink

      Hi Alex,

      Any error shown on your Switch?
      Ensure you are clearing all of your previous Atmosphere files before putting the latest Atmosphere updates.

      Reply
  • April 27, 2022 at 7:23 pm
    Permalink

    Helo. I did everything like you mention here, but after update my switch doesn’t show atmosphere anymore : ((

    Reply
    • May 1, 2022 at 8:58 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Miya,

      Check out the steps again, probably you miss something from the list or reboot your Switch wrongly.
      Any error message you see from your Switch?

      Reply

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