How to Switch Characters in GTA 5

Even though it was released more than seven years ago, GTA 5 has managed to retain its popularity to this very day. In part, Rockstar has GTA Online to thank for this – it has grown into an immense community that’s likely to remain popular until GTA 6 is released (possibly in 2024). Still, people continue to enjoy their single-player GTA 5 campaigns.

How to Switch Characters in GTA 5

One innovative mechanic that sets apart the fifth installment from earlier GTA releases is the three-character storyline. You play as Michael, a middle-aged gangster going through a mid-life crisis, Franklin, a street gang-associated man who wants to move up in life, and Trevor, who… well… you have to play the game.

Switching between these three characters is possible for the majority of GTA 5, and in some cases, even during missions. Let’s delve deeper into GTA 5 character switching across various platforms.

Switching Characters in GTA 5

First of all, yes, it’s possible to switch between the three characters during the free-roam mode. It’s as simple as holding a button and selecting one of the other two characters (we’ll get into the details later). The moment you switch to a different character, the camera navigates to where that character is at the moment.

These switches have also been made interesting and immersive. For instance, switching to Trevor may cut in on the moment he is seemingly trying to push a dead body down the toilet. He might also be chasing a woman trying to apologize for indecent exposure or even throwing a man into the water from the boardwalk. Other characters also have interesting switches; none like Trevor, though.

During the intro mission, you’ll be introduced to the switching mechanic. You won’t be able to access this function though, not until you’ve connected with the other two characters (after the Prologue, you play with Franklin for a few missions). After a while, you’ll be able to switch between the three characters at most in-game moments.

Some missions may prevent you from performing a switch or limit the switch to two characters. At some moments in the game, you won’t be able to select another character even as you free-roam. This depends on the storyline.

But let’s see how to actually switch characters in GTA 5, from platform to platform.

How to Switch Characters in GTA 5 on PC

PC gamers had to wait for a good while after the game’s console release (this is somewhat of a tradition with Rockstar), but they still ended up getting the identical game the console players did. Naturally, character switching played just as important a role on PC as on consoles. Here’s how to switch between GTA 5 characters on your computer.

  1. Hold down the Alt key after running the game.
  2. Use the directional keys or the mouse to highlight the character you wish to switch to and then release the Alt key.

Switching between GTA 5 characters is as simple as that.

How to Switch Characters in GTA 5 on PS4

The same principle we’ve explained for the PC version of the game applies to consoles, including PS4. The only difference is that the keys used are different.

  1. Hold down the Down Button on the D-Pad.
  2. Highlight the character you want to switch to using the Right Analog stick.
  3. Release the Down Button to switch.

How to Switch Characters in GTA 5 on PS3

Although PS3 sounds like a long, long time ago (what with the PS5 being out for months now), GTA 5 was still released during the PS3’s reign as the next-game console. The PS4 saw daylight a few months after the GTA 5 release. So, the game is definitely playable on PS3 consoles. Here’s how to switch characters when playing on the older console.

  1. Hold the Down Button on the D-Pad.
  2. Using the Right Analog stick, select the character you want to switch to.
  3. Let go of the Down Button to make the switch.

How to Switch Characters in GTA 5 on Xbox

Whether you’re playing the game on Xbox 360 or Xbox One, both the principle and the key sequence is the same. Here’s how to switch characters in GTA 5 on either of the two consoles.

  1. Press and hold the Down Button located on the D-Pad.
  2. Select the preferred character with the Right Analog stick.
  3. Release the Down Button to select the highlighted character.

How to Switch Characters in GTA 5 Online

GTA Online allows each player to create two different characters and use them at their convenience. Naturally, the player can switch between the two. However, character switches in the game’s Online mode aren’t as straightforward as in the single-player version of the game. Here’s how to switch between your two characters in GTA 5 Online.

  1. Activate the game’s pause menu while playing with one of the two characters and select the Online tab.
  2. Go to Swap Character.
  3. Confirm that you want to quit the session.
  4. Select the character you wish to switch to using the directional keys.
  5. Confirm.

How to Switch Character Slots in GTA 5

When you press and hold Alt (PC) or the Down Button on the D-Pad (consoles), you’ll see a tiny character menu appear in the lower-right corner of the screen. You’ll see Michael (blue) on the left, Franklin (green) up, and Trevor (orange) to the right. You might want to switch these character slots, but, unfortunately, this can’t be done in GTA 5. The three characters are always bound to the said positions.

Similarly, on the character selection screen in GTA 5 Online, the characters are bound to their positions and cannot be switched.

Additional FAQs

1. How do you switch modes in GTA 5?

Depending on what kind of a player you are, you might prefer different targeting modes in GTA 5. Fortunately, an option to choose between targeting modes is present.

However, some players have found the Targeting Mode option to be grayed-out in the Online mode. Although GTA 5 and GTA Online are generally regarded as separate games, the settings from the single-player mode transfer to those of the online version.

So, switch to a single-player character (Michael, Franklin, or Trever), go to the menu, navigate to the Settings tab, select Controls, and choose the Targeting Mode of your preference. The changes will apply to the multiplayer game mode as well.

2. How do you switch from first-person to third in GTA 5?

Whichever platform you’re playing GTA 5 online on, you can switch between the first- and third-person in GTA 5.

For PS4, press the touchpad to do the switch.

On Xbox One, the Select button does the same thing.

As for the PC, pressing the V key will make the switch between the first- and third-person views.

While some players prefer the first-person mode to the third-person, they may find driving in first-person difficult. Fortunately, the game allows you to play in first-person while on foot and automatically switch to third-person while in a vehicle (or vice-versa).

To do this, go to the Settings menu, select Display, and activate the Allow Independent Camera Modes option.

Furthermore, if you enter the Controls menu, you can make the first-third-person switch happen as you enter the cover on-foot. This can also enhance your playing efficiency.

3. Why can’t I change my character in GTA 5?

There are two main reasons why you may not be able to switch between GTA 5 characters. The first one is that you could be on a mission that doesn’t allow character switches. The other reason may be that you’re too close to a mission. If you’re too close to a mission point, the menu that typically brings up the character screen may display the radio station screen instead. Drive about 10 seconds away from the mission point and try again.

If neither of the two reasons happens to be the case, contact the Rockstar tech support to help you solve this issue.

4. How do I switch back to Franklin in GTA 5?

In a particular moment in the game’s story mode, you might not be able to play as Franklin. This is, for the most part, on a streak of a few consecutive missions with Trevor. You won’t be able to switch to Franklin or Michael, even during the free-roam mode. Just keep playing the story missions to progress the game, and the switch option will become available again. We do encourage you to let yourself get immersed in those Trevor missions, though; they are brilliant.

GTA 5 Switching Between Characters

Whichever platform you’re playing GTA 5 on, you can switch between the three available characters for the majority of the game. It’s simple as holding down the character menu button (Alt on PC, Down Button on D-pad on consoles) and selecting the character that you want to switch to.

We hope that this guide has helped you learn how to switch between the characters in GTA 5 and get around any issues you may have encountered. If you have anything else to add or more questions, hit the comments below and let us know.

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