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Nintendo’s 3DS first came to prominence when it was released in various regions around the world at different points in 2011. Announced a year prior, it gained considerable hype for being a portable gaming console with two screens, but the main draw was in how it could display realistic, three-dimensional graphics without gamers needing any other special equipment in order to see them.

The console came with various applications that users could enjoy in addition to their own libraries of games, and there were backwards compatibility features that allowed users to enjoy Nintendo games meant for older consoles, too.

Although it is a powerful little device, some users may notice that their 3DS can seem to get a bit slower over time. We will go into some of the most common reasons as to why this might be.

Furthermore, we’ll try some fixes that might help you to speed up your 3DS, perhaps even restoring it to something like its original functionality. Along with the possible fixes here, we’ll also discuss overclocking, framerates, and how quickly regular DS games might load on the 3DS console.

IMG_0467 opened and turned on 3ds blue xl picture taken from iphone

Why Is My 3DS So Slow? 5 Reasons

If you’ve had your 3DS console for some time, you may have noticed that it is not as responsive as it was when you first got it. There could be a few reasons for this.

While our list is not comprehensive, we will take you through some of the most likely reasons that your portable gaming console might seem sluggish in comparison to when you first started using it. Check out some of the possibilities in the list below:

1. You have built up a large digital library of games that are now stored on the 3DS. When you turn on your 3DS console, it wants to read a complete list of all of your games.

It does this in order to show everything to you on the ‘Home’ screen so that you can then choose which game you would like to load. With a larger library of titles it needs to read, the 3DS can seem slow to start.

2. Some SD card file format systems can be slower than others. There are particular formats needed for cards that go beyond a certain size, but these other formats might run slower on the 3DS than their counterparts would. Similarly, if your current card is close to its limit on storage space, you may notice some performance issues on your 3DS.

3. Having lots of folders can be a great way to organize all the titles or applications on your 3DS. However, it could also slow things down for the system in general. If you have covered your main screen in lots of folders, this could be an issue that is contributing to your portable console seeming like it is slower than usual.

4. New updates that have just been rolled out by Nintendo may not be fully tested yet. As a result, using some of their features can cause bugs or glitches that could slow down your system. While this should not be a permanent state of things, it is best to avoid it.

You can hedge your bets here by not using any of the brand new features of a new update. Wait a while for the company to optimize anything new that it is using, and you should be good to go.

5. Although a bit more nebulous, something else could be going on with the SD card that makes the system seem slower. It is possible there is something wrong with the card, or it may be nearing the end of its expected shelf life.

How Can I Make My 3DS Faster? 5 Fixes

Now that you know some of the main reasons why your 3DS console from Nintendo might be slow, it’s time to go about doing what you can to speed things up again.

Again, there may be other fixes out there that you can try, but we will bring you some of the common ones that are meant to go along with the main causes of a system slowing down. To get started, you can follow our fixes in order below:

1. Perhaps your library of titles is too large. The SD card may need a little bit of free space to prevent the whole system from slowing down noticeably. Much like any computer needs some space on its drive, your 3DS is like a tiny computer in gaming console format.

Additionally, having to load all of those games for your perusal on the main screen can take time, too. In order to alleviate this, consider deleting some of the old games that you don’t play anymore, or ones you have no plans to play in the near future.

Doing this can free up needed space on the card, and it will cut down on how many things the device has to render on the home screen at startup.

2. If you are getting near the limit of storage space on your SD card, consider using a second card that is still 32 gigabytes or fewer. Using a second card of this size allows you to keep using the NTFS file system, which may be better for the 3DS.

Cards over this size need the FAT 32 specification, and this one could cause your gaming console to take more time to read and load files.

3. The Nintendo 3DS allows you to create folders on your main screen as a way to organize different games. While this can be a handy feature that will help to keep larger libraries tidy, having too many of these folders active at once might slow the system down a lot.

There is no magic number for how many folders is best, but you can try deleting a few of them to see if this helps your 3DS with its performance issues.

You won’t have to delete the games themselves, unless you have one of those large libraries we mentioned and would like to try that solution at the same time.

4. If you’ve used features from new updates that haven’t been optimized yet, you may notice some lag with your 3DS console. It might not be easy to fix this one, but it is possible that rebooting the device can help it to get back to a more normal state.

Just make sure that you don’t use those features again until you know the company has optimized them for the best results. In fact, rebooting your device periodically may be a good idea in general.

5. SD cards are built to last, but they have a lot of work to do. With all of the reading, writing, getting Wi-Fi settings, and resuming exact system settings from hibernation, the cards store a lot of data.

They also work hard to do a lot with that data. All of this can take its toll, and you may be dealing with an SD card that isn’t running as efficiently as it used to.

A new card may help, and you can back up all of your game data before you switch over. It is a good idea to remember that some classes of SD cards are just naturally slower, too.

3ds blue xl picture taken from iphone

Can You Overclock a 3DS?

Yes and no. It will depend on which version of the 3DS you are using. Even so, it isn’t technically overclocking as we might define it for most other things, like overclocking the central processing unit on a traditional computer.

Overclocking involves making a component run at higher speeds than it is meant to. While there are programs out there that can help you do this with the 3DS, it isn’t doing it in quite the same way.

An older version of the 3DS just doesn’t have the hardware necessary to do anything like overclocking. It runs the games as well as it can under the system’s constraints. Because the titles are optimized for it, this shouldn’t be an issue for most users.

With a newer portable console, you might be able to do something akin to overclocking. What you’re actually doing is running a game on more powerful hardware.

The different hardware in the newer versions of the console can help to push some of the older titles beyond the limits they used to have. In this way, you might be getting a bit better performance levels out of some of the games you play.

What FPS Does a 3DS Run At?

How many frames you can get for each second on the screen is an important concept in games. It can help to determine how smooth and fluid the graphics look or feel, and this can be particularly important for fast-paced games.

How many frames per second that you get with the 3DS can depend on the title and the settings you are running. Most games will run at either 30 or 60 FPS. There are a few games that might run at 60 in 2D mode but 30 in 3D mode. An even smaller number of titles might try pushing the limits to run closer to 60 when 3D mode is active, too.

Do DS Games Load Faster on 3DS?

Generally speaking, no, original DS games don’t load faster than their 3DS counterparts. The most likely reason for this is that the console essentially needs to go into DS mode before it will be able to load and run a DS game. This process takes time, making it seem like some DS games might load slower. This remains true even though they should require less hardware to run smoothly.


The 3DS is an awesome console packed with some graphically impressive features, particularly for something so small and portable. It may have its issues that cause it to slow down from time to time, but there are a few fixes you can try to get it back up to its full potential.