How to activate island backup cloud saves - Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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The latest update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons has brought a big feature that many members of the community have been begging for since the game released. Unfortunately, getting your game set up to handle island backups and cloud saves can be a bit difficult. In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about the Animal Crossing: New Horizons cloud save system, including how to set up island backups.

How to activate island backup cloud saves

The second summer update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons has finally added the option to enable island backup and cloud saves for your island. Unfortunately, the process is a bit confusing to figure out if you don't know what you're doing. Basically, enabling island backups will allow you to recover your progress should your Switch console need repairs or end up lost or stolen.

How to activate island backup cloud saves - animal crossing: new horizons
Tom Nook has a warning for those looking to move their save file between Nintendo Switches without a "good" reason.

It should be noted that Nintendo is very picky about how you use the cloud save function, and during the activation process they warn that this service is “only for use when your Nintendo Switch system has been lost or damaged.” As such, you can’t simply set up cloud saves and then move between various Nintendo Switch consoles.

To enable island backups and cloud saving, you’re going to need to launch Animal Crossing: New Horizons after downloading the latest backup. Once you reach the title screen, go ahead and press the – key on your Switch. This will bring up an assortment of options for you to choose from. Choose the Island Backup selection. Tom Nook will walk you through a few explanations and then give you another set of options to proceed with.

island backups - animal crossing: new horizons
You'll need to enable island backups if you want to save your progress in the cloud.

Go ahead and press the Enable island backup option to connect to the internet and save your island information. From here, simply continue through the process until Tom advises you that island backups have been enabled.

How do island backups work?

Basically, having island backups enabled will allow the Nintendo Switch to connect to the internet when you aren’t playing the game. It will then upload your island data and information to the cloud, where it will stay until you need it or it is overwritten by another island backup at a later date.

Island backup enabled - animal crossing: new horizons
Tom Nook will let you know once island backups have been enabled.

There isn’t currently any way to manually force an island backup to happen. You will want to make sure you are exiting the game when you are done playing each day, as the app appears to need to be closed for the cloud save system to work correctly.

Now that you know how to activate island backup cloud saves, make sure you head back over to our Animal Crossing: New Horizons guide for even more helpful information.

Guides Editor

Joshua holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and has been exploring the world of video games for as long as he can remember. He enjoys everything from large-scale RPGs to small, bite-size indie gems and everything in between.

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