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Nintendo 3DS system software

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Nintendo 3DS system software

Nintendo 3DS System Software
The Japanese version of the Nintendo 3DS HOME Menu GUI as of version 9.0.0-20, showing the default theme.
Developer Nintendo (IRD, SPD, SDD)
OS family Nintendo proprietary
Working state Current
Source model Closed source
Initial release 1.0.0-0 / February 26, 2011 (2011-02-26)
Latest release 9.3.0-21 / December 9, 2014 (2014-12-09)
Available in German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese
Update method Direct Download
Game Card
Platforms Nintendo 3DS (XL)
Nintendo 2DS
New Nintendo 3DS (XL)
Preceded by Nintendo DSi OS
Official website
  • USA
  • UK
  • Australia
  • Japan

Nintendo 3DS system software is a set of updatable firmware versions and software frontend on the Nintendo 3DS video game console. 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.

The current version of the system software, 9.3.0-21, was made available on December 9, 2014.

Home Menu

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]

Nintendo 3DS Camera

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 3D photos, and the user-facing camera to take regular 2D photos. All photographs are taken at a resolution of 640 x 480 pixel (VGA), or 0.3 megapixels. In addition to manual recording controls, timers can also 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 3D 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 let's 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]

Nintendo 3DS Sound

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. 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]

Pre-installed Applications

Multitasking applications

The Nintendo 3DS is capable of suspending an application and run 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.

Miiverse and the Internet Browser cannot be loaded while certain software 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.


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.[9]


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 the Americas (U), Europe and Australia (E), Japan (J), South Korea (K) and Taiwan (T), which are the five regions with exclusive firmwares for each one.

System Update releases

Obsolete Current

Version 9

Table of versions: Nintendo 3DS OS Version 9
Version Release date Changes in System Software


December 8, 2014 (2014-12-08)
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 from the HOME Menu
Users can now capture screenshots with both the upper and lower screens included
Improvements to system stability and usability
System stability improvements and other adjustments
Further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user experience


October 30, 2014 (2014-10-30)
System stability improvements and other adjustments
Further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user experience


October 10, 2014 (2014-10-10)
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.


October 6, 2014 (2014-10-06)[10]
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
System stability improvements and other adjustments
Further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user experience
Version Release date Changes in System Software

Version 8

Version 7

Version 6

^[a] The ability to update within StreetPass Mii Plaza and purchase paid content is only available to users in regions where the full version of the Nintendo eShop is available.

Version 5

Version 4

Version 3

Version 2

Version 1

See also

Other gaming platforms from Nintendo:

Other gaming platforms from this generation:

Gaming platforms from the seventh generation:


  1. ^ a b "Nintendo 3DS Family - HOME Menu". Nintendo. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "How to do a 3DS System Update and create folders". Official Nintendo Magazine. Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  3. ^ Mallory, Jordan. "3DS system update adds on-board save data backup". Joystiq. 
  4. ^ "| Nintendo 3DS - Data Management". Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  5. ^ a b "Nintendo 3DS Camera". Nintendo. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Stuart, Keith (December 7, 2011). "3DS gets 3D video recording in latest system update to console". The Guardian. Retrieved September 24, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Nintendo 3DS: Record 10 Minutes Of 3D Video On Nintendo 3DS With November Firmware Update". My Nintendo News. 2011-10-20. Retrieved 2013-09-25. 
  8. ^ a b "Nintendo 3DS Sound". Nintendo. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "3DBrew". yellows8. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Nintendo 3DS - Latest system update information".  
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "Nintendo 3DS - Latest system update information".  
  12. ^

External links

  • Official changes in 3DS system software (Nintendo Australia)
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