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How to Restart Animal Crossing New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is an extremely customizable game. You get to choose so many aspects of your play-through, but with that comes the possibility of making choices you regret. If you want to wipe your slate clean and try again, we’ll show you how to restart Animal Crossing. Depending on how far along you’ve gotten, there are a couple different methods. We’ll cover them both, as well as how to reset without losing valuables. 

How to Restart Animal Crossing Island without Losing Recipes and Items  

Animal Crossing scene

If you have rare items and collectibles you want to keep, you can store these on your friend’s island to keep them safe when you restart the game. Just drop them on their island when you visit them online via a Dodo Code. You can carry up to 40 items, depending on your pocket size.

Another trick is to put off learning DIY recipes you’ll be needing later, storing them on your friend’s island instead. Then, when you restart the game, you can collect them, learn them, and use them on a Workbench. Just visit your friend’s island after you’ve restarted and you can get everything back. 

How to Start Over in Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing scene

There are a couple methods on how to restart Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The easiest one is by restarting on your first in-game day. The other way is to actually clear your save data. We’ll go over the steps for both so you can decide which is best for you.

Restarting After Your First Day

Certain aspects of the game are randomized at the very start. What kind of fruit trees your island has, the local villagers, the layout of the island, etc. If you start your game and don’t like these beginnings, it’s much easier to restart then, rather than play through the game and waste all your time and collectibles. You can keep restarting until you find a beginning you like.

Remember, resetting the game resets your character (Resident Representative), your island, your belongings, all of it. So be sure before you do this. Here are the steps: 

  1. While the game is still open, push the Home button on your Switch
  2. Highlight the game
  3. Push X to close the game
  4. Re-open the game
  5. Because you were only on your first day, the game data didn’t get saved and you essentially started over again. This only works on your first day

Restart by Clearing Save Data  

If you got farther along and decide you want to know how to restart Animal Crossing, your best bet is clearing your save data. Remember, this deletes everything you’ve collected and built so be sure about it. If you have valuables you want to save, don’t forget to leave them on a friend’s island first. 

Here are the steps:

  1. Go to your Nintendo Switch home screen 
  2. Select System Settings from the bottom menu
  3. Go to Data Management on the left pane
  4. Select Delete Save Data
  5. Find Animal Crossing: New Horizons amongst the list of save data and select it
  6. Select Delete All Save Data for this Software
  7. You’ll see a warning message about your decision to delete the game. Select Delete
  8. Return to the home screen and launch Animal Crossing to start the game over


Animal Crossing scene

You don’t have to restart your game if you don’t want to. If you made design mistakes or want to fix something, the game will eventually unlock the Island Designer ability so you can terraform your island to your liking. If you don’t want to wait that long or there’s just too much to fix, no problem. Now you know how to restart Animal Crossing: New Horizons, so feel free to start fresh. 

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