Basics of Spotpass, Streetpass, and Play Coins
Section 1 - What are Streetpass, Spotpass, and Play Coins?
Streetpass is the exchange of game data between 2 3DS's in sleep mode. You can have up to 12 different titles at a time using streetpass. You do not need the game in the system for it to exchange data via streetpass. Streetpass will not function while running a DS game or a GBA Virtual Console game (GBA VC games were only available for early adopters of the 3DS).
Spotpass is the exchange of data between a 3DS in sleep mode and the internet. There is no limit to the number of titles that can use spotpass at a time. You need the SD Card in the system for Spotpass downloads to occur. Spotpass downloads will not function while running a DS game or a GBA Virtual Console game (GBA VC games were only available for early adopters of the 3DS).
Neither Streetpass nor Spotpass will function if the wireless switch on the right of the system is off. Additionally, Streetpass and Spotpass will not run at the same time.
Play Coins are a form of digital currency that can only be spent in certain 3DS games and software. Games use varying amounts of these coins. For example, Find Mii gives you the option to hire a wandering hero for 2 Play Coins.
You get 1 Play Coin for every 100 steps the 3DS's pedometer records. There is a limit of 10 Play Coins a day, so getting more than 1000 steps a day on your 3DS won't get you any more Play Coins.
The pedometer will only record steps while the system is closed, regardless of the software running in the 3DS. This means that even if you're playing a DS game, closing the system will allow you to records steps (and Play Coins) on your 3DS.
Section 2 - How to force streetpass mode and spotpass downloads
Force Spotpass downloads:
If you are impatient to wait for Spotpass downloads to occur, you can force it to run.
First, open the desired game (or application) you want spotpass downloads to occur for. Next, press the HOME button and open the internet browser. As you browse the web, spotpass downloads will occur. It may also download spotpass updates for other titles. If the 3DS switches to streetpass mode while in the internet browser, spotpass downloads will stop until you load another page.
Force streetpass mode:
If you want your 3DS to focus on streetpasses instead of spotpass downloads while in sleep mode, you can force Streetpass mode.
First, close out any open title to reserve power. Next, deactivate wireless with the wireless switch. Now, open the internet browser. Wait for the 3DS to give a message that the connection failed. Reactivate wireless. Close the 3DS. Open it again. Streetpass is now running. Close your 3DS. Your 3DS will not switch to spotpass unless you load a web page.
The reason this method works is because the 3DS automatically switches to streetpass mode (while in the internet browser) if the internet connection is lost, or you close the 3DS. The only exception to this is in the first few seconds the internet browser is open.