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Updating Your Nintendo 3DS


"How should I kill you?"
Sep 28, 2011
Somewhere you don't know
Matt's Guide to Updating The Nintendo 3DS Handheld System

Periodically Nintendo is going to release updates to their Nintendo 3DS handheld system. These updates correct problems with the system, improve the efficiency of its functionality, and add additional features and programs.
Depending on your your internet router, however, you may experience difficulty completing a system update. Usually the error message: An Error Occurred. Unable to Update
This message means that your internet router's security settings have blocked your 3DS from completing the update. There are two ways to fix this. The first is a very difficult and extremely technical custom IP for your 3DS, and the second is to disable your security settings temporarily. Obviously the more logical and universal choice for most routers is going to be disabling your security settings.

Here is a step by step guide to updating your Nintendo 3DS:
Step One:

  • If you experienced the An Error Occurred. Unable to Update error before and you are still on the same internet connection, skip down to Step Two.
    NOTE: As of system update 2.0.0-3U, this step should be done automatically when you have a working internet connection. In such a case all you need to do is make sure the error isn't there. If it is, continue to step two. If your version is 2.0.0-2U or lower, then read the rest of step one.
Turn on your Nintendo 3DS. If it isn't charged enough, meaning the power light is flashing red, then you have to wait until it's sufficiently charged before you can update. Make sure you've already set up its internet connection. If you haven't, follow the instructions to do so included with your 3DS.
Next, in the Main Menu, scroll to the right until you reach the option System Settings and open it. Now use your stylus to select Other Settings. Scroll over with the arrow keys to Tab 4 and choose the option called System Update. Choose "OK" and connect to the internet. It will ask you to agree to the terms, just choose I Accept. Follow the onscreen instructions and make sure not to turn off your system.

  • If the update worked, you're done. If you instead got the An Error Occurred. Unable to Update message, then continue to Step Two.
Step Two:
Determine your wireless router's login address and log into it through your internet browser. You can use Nintendo's Guide to help find your router's login address. Nintendo's guide has clickable links to each router's settings as well as their default usernames and passwords. All routers are set to these respective defaults when you get them, after you log into them you can leave these as is or change them.​
Step Three:
Once you are logged into your router find its security settings. Find the firewall settings and completely disable them. The click Apply or Enable, whichever your router has on the page, to disable your router's firewall protection.​
Step Four:
Repeat the process described in Step One. Proceed to Step Five when done.​
Step Five:
Once the update completes successfully, log back into your wireless router's settings and go back to its security settings. Return all the settings you changed to normal to re-enable your firewall.​

Now that your Nintendo 3DS is updated, your Menu Version, visible in the System Settings, should update to the latest version.
List of Updates:
This is a list of all known versions of the Nintendo 3DS system. If your menu version displayed in the System Settings displays the latest released version number, you do not need to update your 3DS. Note that the letters following the numbers indicate language areas. U for United States English, E for British English (in most of Europe and Austrailia), and J for Japanese. Below lists the United States versions, but they all should be identical otherwise from the language and spelling.
  • 1.0.0-0U - System Default - Initial version included at the launch of the system.
  • 1.1.0-1U - March 24, 2011 - Enhances overall network connection, improves stability of system, notably it fixes a "black screen of death" that causes certain 3DS games to only show a black screen that rendered them unplayable. Music video White Knuckles by OK Go added (deleted on subsequent system update)
  • 2.0.0-2U - June 6, 2011 - Adds Nintendo eShop, System Transfer, Internet Browser, 3DS camera update, enables SpotPass while in Standby Mode, improves stability of system, deletes music video White Knuckles by OK Go.
  • 2.1.0-3U - June 15, 2011 - Fixes and improves minor issues. Corrects problem with Ridge Racer 3D that was introduced in the previous update.
  • 2.1.0-4U - July 25, 2011 - Various improvements to the system stability. Supposed DRM features to disable homebrew and other unofficial modifications to the 3DS.
  • So far there have only been reports of the updating feature experiencing this firewall blocking. All other wireless functions on the 3DS thus far do not share this problem and work correctly.
  • Future updates should give you a notification when they become available.
  • Updates released prior to the date you purchased and activated your 3DS might not give you a notification.
  • If your update download hangs or stops completely without a warning message being displayed, you may turn off your 3DS and try again. To improve performance in this case, move within 30 feet (9 meters) or closer from your wireless router and turn off any nearby interfering devices such as microwaves or cordless phones before attempting again. If it still doesn't work, attempt this at a friend's house that has a faster wireless router.
  • Translating most of the legal mumbo jumbo in the agreement you need to accept to get the update:the top parts only mean that an adult should read and agree to the terms, and not that the owner has to be an adult. And the rest is mostly just Nintendo threatening people not to try to hack or homebrew the system or "else".
  • Regarding the "black screen of death" error: It is a problem where during the playing of certain 3DS games the game locks up and reverts to a black screen rendering it unplayable and making most of the buttons unresponsive. Requiring you to completely shut down the unit to restore functionality, done by holding down the power button until the unit shuts off. The first 3DS update is supposed to fix this, however some people have reported that though while sometimes reduced, it still happens. For anyone still experiencing the black screen of death, the best advice is to be patient and wait for Nintendo to address it in the next update.
  • After getting the Nintendo eShop, and downloading several things, you may notice that the amount of space you have on your SD card isn't enough. Standard SD cards are only supported up to 2 GB, and have to have the FAT format. However, the 3DS can support SDHC cards at 4GB or larger. However your computer's SD card port might not read these cards, you may need to buy an SDHC card reader. The SDHC card must have the FAT32 file format or else the 3DS won't be able to use it. To replace the included SD card with a better one, you first need to take out the original card and then copy its contents to your computer, exactly, to a temporary location. Then insert the new card into your computer or card reader and then copy over the content you just got from the other card. Then it should work on the 3DS. The class of your memory card affects how fast it reads and writes. For comparison, the card included with the 3DS is class 2, meaning it writes at 2 MB/s. The highest class currently available is class 10. A higher class would improve download and saving times while downloading things from the eShop, as well as other miscellaneous improvements in reading and writing performance in operations where things are read and written to the memory card.
  • Note that DSiWare games and apps save to the system memory, which is quite small. While games and apps unique to the 3DS save to the SD card. You can move DSiWare to the SD card to save space, however they will only function when on the system memory.
  • The Netflix app available from the Nintendo eShop has a few bugs. Namely if you try to close the system while the app is still running and let it sit for a few hours or more, there's a chance that you'd open it back up to a blank screen with all the buttons unresponsive forcing you to turn the system off with the power button. Similar to the previous black screen of death error. A simple way to prevent it is, before you close the lid to the 3DS, is to press the home button to suspend the Netflix app. That will prevent most occurrences of the bug and it should pick up where you left off when you resume it.
  • The automatic updates introduced in version 2.0.0-3U are an type of digital rights management that enables them to install updates on their units that will disable devices that have been hacked or homebrewed, as specified in the update agreement. As such, automatic updates cannot be disabled, short of disabling wifi on the unit.

There is also system update 5U, adding a new feture to friends list, and 6U, giving better system stability.


The Cassandra
Site Staff
Nov 29, 2008
whats the black screen of death?
It's when certain apps or a 3DS cartridge game locks up and you are shown nothing but a black screen. None of the buttons respond, not even tapping the power button. The only function that still works is holding the power button until the unit powers completely off, in contrast to just tapping it to get to the screen with the option to power off (which isn't working in this case).
Various updates claimed to have fixed it, but it still happens now and then for some players.

Any idea on when there will be new updates? Seems like its been forever since the last one.
when will they do another update?
Looking at the times on updates, it takes longer the more they're doing in one update. So the longer it takes, the more likely an update will have big changes. A persistent rumor about an upcoming update is the ability to apply updates to cartridge games. This is probably likely. A previous update already gave the 3DS the ability to add additional content to games. Though I don't think they've used it.
Dec 29, 2011
San Antonio
Hey! There is a new update available now! It gives you the option to create folders in your home menu as well as changing the eShop layout. Go update!


Dec 22, 2011
The new folder option is really useful. The new E-Shop layout is pretty cool too. Best of all, in Mario Kart 7 the Maku Wuhu glitch will get fixed soon!


Can't wait for the Mario Kart 7 update, I hate the Wuhu glitches online..

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