Nintendo 3DS system software is a set of updatable firmware versions and software frontend on the Nintendo 3DS family video game consoles. Updates, which are downloaded via the system's Internet connection allow Nintendo to add and remove features and software. All updates also include all changes from previous updates.

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Home Menu Edit

The Home Menu is a graphical shell similar to the Nintendo DSi Menu and Wii U Menu for Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 2DS systems. It is used to launch software stored on Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS Game Cards, applications installed on a SD card and DSiWare titles installed in the system's internal memory. Application icons are set in a grid navigable with the touchscreen or D-pad, and may be re-arranged via drag-and-drop. The amount of icons per column can also be changed, from 1 icon up to 6. The menu can display up to 120 application tiles. On the upper screen, a special 3D animated logo is displayed for each individual app, as well as system information such as wireless signal strength, date and time, and battery life, while on the bottom screen, application icons are displayed. It is also possible to change the screen's brightness while in the menu.[1] Using the Home button, users can suspend the current software that is running and bring up the Home Menu, allowing the user to launch certain multitasking applications, such as the Internet Browser and Miiverse.

Similarly to the Nintendo DSi, the menu has upgradeable firmware. Game cards can also be hot-swapped while in the menu. The power button prompts the user to either put the console into sleep mode, or shut it down.

On April 25, 2012, a system update brought the introduction of a folder system.[2] Up to 60 folders can be created. Applications can be dragged on top of a folder in order to move it, and from then on, more apps can be added to the folder using the same procedure, up to 60 apps per folder. A title for the folder is automatically created in order of creation (from "1" to "60"), but the name can also be edited by the user. Only the first character of the title will be displayed on the folder's icon. When apps inside folders receive StreetPass or SpotPass notifications, a notification icon will appear on top of the folder[2]

On June 20, 2013, a system update brought the introduction of the Save Data Backup feature.[3] This feature allows the user to back up save data from downloadable Nintendo 3DS software and most Virtual Console games. Creating a backup of save data allows users to delete software from the SD card without losing save data. The backup created will then be automatically restored when the user re-downloads software from the Nintendo eShop. A total of 30 save data backups can be stored at a time. It is not possible to back up save data from retail versions of Nintendo 3DS software, DSiWare, and Game Boy Advance software.[4]

On October 6, 2014, the 9.0 system update added support for Themes, allowing users to further customize their Home Menu with a theme that adds new backgrounds and changes the folder icons, background music, and sound effects to match the theme. A new application called バッジとれ~るセンター (Collectible Badge Centre) allows further customising of the menu, by using badges that are won in a free-to-play crane game; these badges can then be accessed/used via an additional menu within the HOME Menu that is installed upon loading the game and then placed and removed like normal software icons/folders. Some badges act as shortcuts to access specific pre-installed applications, such as StreetPass Mii Plaza.

Nintendo 3DS Camera Edit

"Nintendo 3DS Camera" is a built-in photo and video recorder with an integrated media gallery and photo editing functionality. The app uses the system's two front-facing cameras to take 3-D photos, and the user-facing camera to take regular 2-D photos. All photographs are taken at a resolution of 640 × 480 px (VGA), or 0.3 megapixels. In addition to manual recording controls, timers can be set to take a photo three or ten seconds after pressing the "Take" button, or by means of voice commands such as saying "OK!" when wishing to take a photo.[5] There are various options and filters available when taking photos or recording video. In addition to the "Normal" mode, there is a "Low-Light" option, which is useful when taking photos and recording video in dark lighting conditions. Other options include manual controls such as the color type (normal, black and white, sepia, negative or solarize), sharpness, contrast and brightness. Real-time photo filters are also available including "Sparkle", which adds moving stars to the photo, "Dream", which adds a dream-like bright light to the photo, "Pinhole", which lightens the center of the screen and darkens the edges and "Mystery", which adds a random finish to the photo. There is also a special mode called "Merge", which takes a photo of the user facing the inner camera and merges the photo from someone facing the outer cameras.[5] On December 7, 2011, a system update added the ability to record 3-D video along three special recording options. "Interval Shot" allows sequences of images to be recorded in short-timed intervals to create time-lapse photography; "Frame Pick" edits still images together to create stop motion animation; and "Montage" lets the user pause and resume recording seamlessly.[6] However, all recording modes only allow a single video to be up to ten minutes long.[7]

Despite being more advanced than its predecessor, the software has fewer features than its predecessor, Nintendo DSi Camera.

Nintendo 3DS Sound Edit

"Nintendo 3DS Sound" is a built-in music player and sound recorder. Supported audio codecs include MP3 audio (with .mp3 filename extensions) and AAC audio (with .mp4, .m4a, and .3gp filename extensions). Audio files can be played from an SD card, with visualizations displayed on the upper screen. Music can be played while the console is in Sleep Mode, using the system's headphone jack. When using headphones with an included mic and button, the button can toggle play/pause and skip to the next and previous track. A set of sound manipulation options are available, as well as several audio filters. Ten-second voice recordings can be also be recorded, edited with audio filters, and manipulated through modulation and playback speed. Users may save and modify up to 18 of these in the console's memory and up to 180 on an SD card.[8] These can then be used throughout other applications such as Swapnote.Template:Citation needed

There is a StreetPass function built-into the app. When the user StreetPass's someone who also has StreetPass enabled, both users exchange song data such as the song's name, artist, album, release year, and how many times it has been played. There is also a compatibility chart between the users involved. Depending the amount of matching songs from both users a score will be displayed, ranging from 0% to 100%, with the latter being the most compatible.[8]

Despite being more advanced than its predecessor, the software features fewer filters and themes than its predecessor, Nintendo DSi Sound.

Pre-installed Applications Edit

Multitasking applications Edit

The Nintendo 3DS is capable of suspending an application and running one of six multitasking applications. Once a game or application is running, the user can press the Home button to suspend it and temporarily open the Home Menu. It is then possible to open another specially designed multitasking application built into the system without closing the currently suspended software. Attempting to open a game or application while another is already running will result in a warning prompt.[1] These multitasking applications include:

  • Game Notes, which allows users to write and save notes, with screenshots from both screens of the current suspended software present to aid the user.
  • Friend List, a list of registered friends, with information such as their current status as well as current/favorite application; up to 100 friends can be registered by exchanging friend codes. The top LED light will flash orange if a registered friend comes online while the 3DS is active (not in sleep mode).
  • Notifications, whilst receiving notifications the top LED light will flash either blue or green, depending if it is a SpotPass or StreetPass notification, respectively.
  • Internet Browser
  • Miiverse, a social networking service dedicated to games and other applications; comments and software screenshots can be posted on dedicated software communities.
  • Camera, a lightweight version of Nintendo 3DS Camera with most features omitted, accessed by holding the L and R buttons; QR codes can be read by the camera.
  • Change Theme/Badges, allows users to change their Theme and add/remove Badges at any time.

Miiverse and the Internet Browser are disabled while certain software (such as Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS) are suspended, due to that software's high usage of the 3DS's resources. However, this is not the case with the New Nintendo 3DS, which has upgraded hardware to allow this.

Network featuresEdit

Nintendo Network Edit

Template:Main Nintendo Network is Nintendo's unified network infrastructure similar to the Sony's PlayStation Network and Microsoft's Xbox Live, and succeeds the previous Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service. The Nintendo 3DS was the first system to support the new network infrastructure. Nintendo outlined that, while Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection had been created as a way for developers to experiment with their own network infrastructures and concepts, the Nintendo Network was created to be a fully unified network service. The new network infrastructure provides the means for an unified online multiplayer experience and other online interactions such as leaderboards and communication, as well as software downloads and streaming media services.

The Nintendo 3DS uses a Friend Code system much like the original Wii to connect to the network, with the exception that only one code necessary for each console.[9] This makes it much easier and more flexible for players to interact with each other over the Internet.[10] Regardless of this, Template:As of, some Nintendo Network services require a Nintendo Network ID account in order to be accessed, such as Nintendo eShop and Miiverse. This account can be shared with a Wii U and with future Nintendo consoles. The Nintendo Network administration team has moderators on staff to remove inappropriate content from its services, such as Miiverse.[11]

StreetPass Edit

StreetPass is a close proximity data exchange functionality which allows game content to be exchanged between Nintendo 3DS systems. Using the console's background connectivity in sleep mode, a Nintendo 3DS can automatically discover other Nintendo 3DS systems within range, establish a connection, and exchange content for mutually played games, all transparently and without requiring any user input. For example, in Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, if the user passes by someone with the same software, they will initiate a battle to collect trophies from each other.[12] Each application's StreetPass content is stored in one of twelve "data slots" in the console. Using this data slot, Nintendo 3DS users can readily share and exchange content for multiple games at the same time whenever they are connected, regardless of what game card is currently in the console.[13]

On August 5, 2013, a system update introduced a new feature called StreetPass Relay. This feature allows users to exchange StreetPass data when passing by a certified Nintendo Zone hotspot with the last Nintendo 3DS user to pass by that same hotspot, if he or she too had StreetPass enabled. In the United States, there are over 29,000 Street Pass Relay Points, while Europe is set to see approximately 30,000.[14][15] A day later, the feature also became available in Japan.[16] On [date], StreetPass Relay points were updated in North America and Europe to allow up to six users to be stored for exchange instead of one.Template:Citation needed

StreetPass Mii Plaza Edit

Template:Main StreetPass Mii Plaza is a StreetPass application which comes pre-installed on every Nintendo 3DS system. In it, players meet other players' Miis over StreetPass and online through Nintendo Network, and interact with them. In this application, the player's Mii can be customized with hats earned from mini games, along with a short customizable message and other information. When new Mii characters are encountered by the system, they will appear at the plaza gate. The player can then use them to play various mini games before encountering more Mii characters.[17] Meeting the same Mii characters multiple times adds extra functionality, such as personalized messages and the ability to rate them. The application comes with three minigames, while further minigames can be purchased optionally.[18]

SpotPass Edit

SpotPass is an "always on" background network connectivity system which can automatically seek and connect to wireless network nodes such as Wi-Fi hotspots, sending and downloading information in the background while in sleep mode or playing a game. SpotPass also makes uses of certified hotspots with partners such as AT&T in North America and The Cloud in the United Kingdom. Users are able to connect to these hotspots automatically and free of charge.[19] Content that can be downloaded via SpotPass include full game and application downloads, firmware updates, patches, and specific in-game content. It can be customized to fit the user's preferences, including opting it out altogether for selected software.[20] An application similar to an e-book reader is being considered to use this functionality to "automatically acquire magazine and newspaper articles".[21]

Nintendo Zone Viewer Edit

File:Nintendo Zone logo.svg

Template:See also Nintendo Zone Viewer is a built-in application that detects and makes use of certified SpotPass hotspots. When a hotspot is detected, a notification will appear in the system's Home Menu. In this application, users can see game trailers, game screenshots, download game demos and view information about current and upcoming Nintendo 3DS titles. After the player leaves the hotspot the app remains on their Nintendo 3DS system, although no content can be accessed.[22]Template:Failed verification


Firmware Edit

The Nintendo 3DS firmware can run in four different modes. NATIVE_FIRM is the native running firmware for Nintendo 3DS software (including the Home Menu). SAFE_MODE_FIRM is used for safe mode applications, such as the System Settings and System Updater. TWL_FIRM is the Nintendo DSi's native firmware and it is used for Nintendo DS/DSi backward compatibility. Finally, AGB_FIRM is the Game Boy Advance's native firmware and it is used to run Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games. The NATIVE_FIRM is different for the New Nintendo 3DS.[25]

There also exist some custom firmware (CFW) for the Nintendo 3DS systems, such as the Pasta CFW[26] and the NTR CFW.[27]

Nomenclature Edit

The nomenclature of a firmware version, as it's shown on the 3DS System Settings, is divided into three parts: the first three digits represent the firmware version without eShop features (which is the one stored on retail cartridges); the number after the dash represents improvements related to the eShop and can only be obtained via online update; and finally, the letter at the end represents the region of the console. The possible letters are for China (C), Europe and Australia (E), Japan (J), South Korea (K), Taiwan (T), and the Americas (U) which are the six regions with exclusive firmwares for each one.

System Update releasesEdit

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Version 9 Edit

style="background:silver"; text-align:center;" colspan="4"| Table of versions: Nintendo 3DS OS Version 9
Version Template:Nowrap Changes in System Software


Template:Start date and age[28]
Game Fixes
Fixes a bug in Pokémon Rumble World on the New Nintendo 3DS systems that caused the game to crash[29]


Template:Start date and age[28]
Changes to HOME Menu
A Home Menu Layout setting has been added to HOME Menu Settings. Users can save and load up to 8 layouts of the HOME Menu with different theme and software icon arrangements
Nintendo 3DS, 3DS XL and 2DS systems receive amiibo Settings option in HOME Menu
Changes to Theme Shop
Additional categories have been added under “View More” for easier navigation of the Theme Shop
Other Changes
Introduced a new encryption for the system software (New Nintendo 3DS only)


Template:Start date and age[28]
Improvements to system stability and usability
Stops the use of QR injection, RAM2sav, PCEdit, or any other Web Browser (spider) injection method.


Template:Start date and age[28]
Changes to the HOME Menu
A Shuffle Favorites feature has been added under Change Theme in HOME Menu Settings. Users can choose multiple themes and have their theme change when the system is left in Sleep Mode from the HOME Menu or turned on after being off
Available software updates can now be downloaded directly from the HOME Menu, instead of opening the eShop.
Users can now capture screenshots with both the upper and lower screens included
Improvements to system stability and usability
amiibo setting added in the Home menu settings (New Nintendo 3DS only).[30]
Japan specific update[31]
Added support for SUICA/NFC cards to add funds on the Nintendo eShop account (New Nintendo 3DS only)


Template:Start date and age[28]
Japanese only firmware which is a slight update from 9.0.0-20
Themes were not unlocked in the Japanese version of 9.0.0-20 but are in this new firmware.


Template:Start date and age[28]
Users can now use themes to customize the design and sounds of the HOME Menu
Five themes are pre-installed and additional themes can be purchased from the Theme Shop
Themes can be changed by using settings located within the HOME Menu Settings
A feature has been added that allows users to capture screenshots of their HOME Menu
The Title Information page on Nintendo eShop has been updated to provide easier access to any available videos, demos, user reviews, and other information
Version Template:Nowrap Changes in System Software

Version 7 Edit

Version 6 Edit

Version 5 Edit

Version 4 Edit

Version 3 Edit

Version 2 Edit

Version 1 Edit


  1. 1.0 1.1
  2. 2.0 2.1
  3. 5.0 5.1
  4. 8.0 8.1
  5. Template:Dead link
  6. 14.0 14.1
  7. 15.0 15.1
  8. 16.0 16.1
  9. 22.0 22.1
  10. 23.0 23.1
  12. Now all New 3DSes can be region-free
  13. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 28.5 28.6
  15. 32.00 32.01 32.02 32.03 32.04 32.05 32.06 32.07 32.08 32.09 32.10 32.11
  16. link

See alsoEdit

Other gaming platforms from Nintendo:

Other gaming platforms from this generation:

Gaming platforms from the seventh generation:


Template:Nintendo 3DS Template:Nintendo Network Template:Mobile operating systems

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