Switch Homebrew Now Runs Android Thanks to Switchroot LineageOS ROM; NVIDIA GameStream Available

Jul 29, 2019
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After the first experiments shared earlier this year, the folks at Switchroot managed to publicly release the first Android ROM for the Nintendo Switch, with the additional help of LineageOS Tegra developers.

Unsurprisingly, it is based on the NVIDIA Shield TV, which shares the Tegra X1 chip with the Nintendo Switch. According to the Switchroot team, this is a 'powerful' Android experience that can be experienced in both handheld and docked mode, though of course there are still some bugs with this initial release.

Related Overclocked Nintendo Switch Tested by Digital Foundry – Tegra X1 Gets Significant Performance Boost

The main draw of installing Android on your Nintendo Switch (which will have to be one of the earlier, hackable models) is, of course, to access many more applications and games. One is Netflix, though sadly as the device isn't officially recognized by the app you'll be stuck with 540p instead of 720p.

Additionally, with the LineageOS ROM you'll be able to play all kinds of Android games and even stream PC games through the likes of Moonlight, Steam Link, GeForce NOW and NVIDIA GameStream. Take a look below at examples like Overwatch, Tomb Raider, and Grand Theft Auto V.

Downloads for the Switchroot LineageOS ROM are available on their official website.

Switchroot ROM installation instructions

  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. Make sure to mount /system first in TWRP. Flash GApps zip, optionally flash other zips. Also after installing GApps wipe cache/dalvik as offered by TWRP. Video that shows how to access and flash zips in TWRP: https://youtu.be/3F6WgAb44yk
  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!

Features

  • LineageOS 15.1 - Android 8.1 Oreo
  • Based on the Nvidia Shield TV trees
  • TWRP pre-installed
  • CPU and GPU performance profiles
  • Works in handheld and docked mode
  • Audio is supported
  • Joycons connect via Bluetooth, also in handheld mode

Known bugs:

  • Deep sleep, so battery life is not great
  • Auto rotation as we haven't figured out how to talk to the sensor yet
  • Screen off in dock
  • Charging is not detected, but console still charges
  • Some apps don't handle joycon inputs correctly
  • The touchscreen sometimes detects touches even when your finger is just floating over the screen
  • There is a system process ANR on boot. Just click „Wait“ and it won’t happen again until next boot
  • Screenshots do not work
  • WiFi may randomly stop working. If this happens just reboot
  • If TV looks odd and grainy when docking then redock a few times.
  • No TV keyboard that can be used with gamepad
  • SELinux is disabled
  • You can’t access the FAT32 partition of the SD card on macOS. Windows and Linux works.
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