The defunct Swapnote for 3DS has been updated

New Nintendo 3DS XL

Nintendo has closed down a lot of its formerly-popular online services in recent years like Miiverse and the Wii Shop Channel. But, one of the fan-favorite services that are now defunct is the Swapnote messaging app for 3DS. After disabling the ability to share messages via SpotPass in 2013, Nintendo has now all of a sudden released an update for the app. 

This new update, released on December 15, 2020, doesn’t have an extensive list of patch notes attached to it. In fact, it doesn’t really have much of a list at all; just a single change is noted: “Fixed some problems”.

That’ all very straight and to the point (not uncommon for Nintendo patch notes) but what really sticks out is that the app has now received a name change: it is now known as Swapnote Remastered. This name-change seems to indicate the entire app being revamped, yet, no significant changes have come about. Perhaps this could really be Nintendo setting the groundwork for either a far bigger update; maybe revitilizing Swapnote for Switch? If so, this update could have potentially just made it possible for 3DS users to send letters to Switch users and vice-versa. On that note, the company did release an official stylus accessory for the Switch last year (though any typical stylus can also be used). Therefore, making Switch Swapnotes wouldn’t be hard at all. Regardless, the idea of Swapnote coming to Switch is all just speculation for the time being until Nintendo says something if it ever does.

Swapping virtual notes on Nintendo 3DS

Swapnote was the follow-up to the similarly popular system-based messaging app Pictochat for the original Nintendo 3DS. Swapnote features the ability to create and send 3D handwritten messages and drawings, along with the ability to attach any pictures or voice recordings. Basically, this functions quite similarly to that of any typical messaging app.

The service was only discontinued in 2013 when reports out of Japan surfaced that indicated some nefarious adults was using the app to contact minors and exchange pornographic material. In response, Nintendo disabled the ability to share messages using the 3DS’ SpotPass functionality. The service can still be used, however this is now only possible using StreetPass.

Considering that the 3DS production was discontinued a few months ago and most Nintendo fans’ attention being consumed by the Switch, one has to wonder how many people could possibly still be using such a niche app at this time.


A.K Rahming
Having been introduced to video games at the age of 3 via a Nintendo 64, A.K has grown up in the culture. A fan of simulators and racers, with a soft spot for Nintendo! But, he has a great respect for the entire video game world and enjoys watching it all expand as a whole.