If you’re the proud owner of a new Xbox Series X or Series S console, then it’s time to dig into those settings to make the most of it. We’ve got some handy tips to help you get started and some lesser-known features worth checking out.
Looking for ways to pad out your new system? Read our Best Gaming Headsets, Best Wireless Gaming Headsets, and Best Gifts for Xbox Owners guides for our top picks. If you got a Series S and are confused about the differences, here’s a breakdown.
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1. Get the Xbox Mobile App
The redesigned Xbox app for Android or iOS is essential. If you haven’t set up your new Xbox yet, the app is the easiest way to do it. It also gives you access to your friends and chat, enables you to choose games and trigger downloads remotely, and offers access to screenshots and captured gameplay videos from your Xbox for easy sharing. Best of all, you can use Xbox Remote Play to stream games from your console to your phone or tablet (more on that later).
2. Customize Your Home Screen and Guide
There’s no need to live with the default home screen when you can customize it. On the home screen, press the View button (the one on the left that looks like two windows) and you’ll bring up the Customize Home settings. You can set up your preferred order, choose colors, backgrounds, and even themes. In Theme & Motion, you can select light or dark themes, or have things change automatically based on the time of day.
An option you don’t want to miss is Customize the Guide, which allows you to choose the order of everything in the guide that pops up every time you press the Xbox button.
3. Transfer Games From Your Xbox One
You can find any old games you own from your previous Xbox console by pressing the Xbox button and selecting My Games & Apps > Full Library > All Owned Games. While you can download any of these games, it will be much faster to transfer them from your old console. To do this, make sure your Xbox One and your new Series X or S are turned on and connected to the same Wi-Fi network. On your new Xbox, go to Settings > System > Backup and Transfer > Network Transfer, then check the option, select your old console, choose what you want to copy over, and then click Copy Selected to start the process.
4. Choose the Right Display Settings
To make the most of your new console’s capabilities, you should ensure your display is set up optimally. You can do this in Settings > General > TV & Display Options, where you’ll find everything from resolution settings to refresh rate to HDR calibration. Check 4K TV details to find out what your TV can do and make sure to run through the calibration process. If you don’t think you’re getting the full capability, then check your cable and the port you’re plugging into on your TV to make sure that both support HDMI 2.1 (only select newer TV models have support for HDMI 2.1).
5. Customize Your Controller
You can set up your controller preferences to dictate what each button should do, invert controls, or change the vibration intensity. To choose all of this and more, go to Settings > Devices & Connections and choose Accessories and Configure. You have the option of saving multiple profiles with different control schemes, so you can set a special layout for shooters and another for flight simulators, for example.
6. Link Your Controller to Your Profile
Maybe you have a special controller. Perhaps you’re phobic about the greasy hands of whoever you share the console with, or maybe you just want to save a few seconds with an automatic sign-in. Whatever your reason, you can link your controller to your profile, which means you can simply turn your controller on, and the Xbox will sign you in automatically. To do this, use the controller you want to link and go to Settings > Account > Sign-In, Security & Passkey and find the This Controller Signs In option.
7. Use Your Old Controllers
While we’re on the topic of controllers, don’t forget you can use any old Xbox One controllers lying around with your new console. They’re easy to link. Hold down the small, circular button next to the USB port on your new console until the power button starts to flash, then hold down the small, circular button on the top of the Xbox One controller until the Xbox button starts to flash. When the flashing stops, they’re synced and ready to go.
8. Play Blu-rays on Your Xbox Series X
Your Xbox Series X can double up as a 4K Blu-ray player, but it doesn’t have the necessary app installed by default. You can choose to download it from the Microsoft Store, but you’ll also be prompted to do so when you first insert a Blu-ray disc. If you have a decent home theater setup, then head into Settings > Devices & Connections > Blu-ray, and turn on Let My Receiver Decode Audio.
9. Save Power
If you head into Settings > General > Power Mode & Startup, this is where you can decide how long you have to be inactive for the console to turn off (it defaults to one hour). You can also choose between Instant-On and Energy-Saving under Power mode. If you want to control your console remotely, turn it on with voice commands, and get into the action as quickly as possible, go for Instant-On. If you want to save power, then opt for the latter.