Got an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S? Both consoles are excellent out of the box, with support for the fantastic Game Pass, the ability to play past Xbox titles, and super-fast interfaces.
But you can always get more. Let’s look at some of the best tips for making your Xbox Series X|S experience even better.
1. Personalize Your Xbox
While you can’t customize your Xbox to the extent that you can with a gaming PC, there are still several ways to make it your own. From changing the Dashboard wallpaper to editing your public profile, it’s worth taking the time to make your console feel right for your needs.
Have a look at the best ways to personalize your Xbox Series X|S for a full walkthrough.
2. Use Your Xbox’s Search Function
It can be difficult to keep track of everything on your Xbox once you have a bunch of games installed. Did you know that the Xbox dashboard has a handy search function that cuts down on the amount of time you’ll spend scrolling through menus? Just press Y on your controller while on the home screen to summon it.
By default this will show everything, including games and apps on your system, items in Settings, titles in Game Pass, as well as entries from the Microsoft Store. To change what you search for, select the Search all box in the top-left and pick a category.
Whether you want to check if a title is already installed or just jump to the Store page for the hottest new game, the universal search will save you time.
3. Configure Your Xbox Controller
Did you know that you can customize some aspects of your Xbox controller to make it more comfortable for you? This includes swapping buttons for accessibility reasons, or inverting the control stick globally for all games.
See how to configure your Xbox Series X|S controller for everything you need to know.
4. Link Your Xbox With a Digital Assistant
Kinect isn’t supported on the Xbox Series X|S, but if you liked its voice control options, don’t despair. The new Xbox consoles can link up with Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing you to get around your system without buttons.
To set them up, hit the Xbox button on your controller while on the Dashboard to open the Guide. Use RB to scroll over to the Profile & system tab, represented by your profile picture. Choose Settings from this menu.
Next, go to Devices & connections > Digital assistants. Check the Enable digital assistants box, then follow the instructions on the page to link your Google Assistant or Alexa profile to your Xbox. Either Learn more button will bring you to an Xbox Assist page with guided instructions.
The voice assistants let you launch games, turn your system on, capture screenshots and video, and more. They’re a fun option, especially if you already have smart home infrastructure in use.
5. Adjust Notifications
By default, your Xbox sends all kinds of notifications for various events. While these can be useful at the right times, it’s annoying to have notifications pop up during a key moment in a game. To that end, you might want to tweak when notifications appear for you.
Head to Settings > Preferences > Notifications to take a look. If you want to turn all notifications off, just uncheck the Notification banners on box. Otherwise, you can drill down into the categories on the right.
Xbox notifications includes items like friends coming online, incoming messages, Achievements, and Xbox Game Pass. Select each type to see several options for it. For most of them, you can choose to hide banners completely, or only during video playback. And in App notifications, you can control any installed apps that want to send you pings.
Meanwhile, use Default notification position to choose your preferred on-screen placement. Finally, Notification timing lets you choose whether to show expired notifications in the Guide, as well as how long banners stay on the screen for.
6. Tweak Default Capture and Share Options
The Xbox Series X|S systems make it easy to capture your gameplay and share your coolest moments with your friends. But before your next big play happens, it’s a good idea to check the capture options to ensure you get the best-quality video.
To see these options, go to Settings > Preferences > Capture & share. This lets you choose to disable the ability for games to make captures, change the default length for recording past gameplay, set the resolution, and which storage devices that captures should save to.
7. Take Advantage of the Xbox Mobile App
The app has a slew of handy features, including:
- Downloading purchased games, or Game Pass titles, to your console
- Seeing friends’ profiles and messaging them
- Viewing and share your captures
- Checking your profile and Achievements
- Remotely playing your Xbox games on your phone
- Using your phone as a remote control for your console
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The Xbox app is slick and much more than an afterthought, so you should definitely give it a look if you haven’t explored everything it can do.
8. Link Social Accounts to Your Xbox Profile
Want to make it easier for your friends to find you? You can link many popular online accounts to your Xbox profile to stay social. To see what’s available, go to Settings > Account > Linked social accounts.
Here, you’ll have the option to link your Discord, Twitch, Steam, Twitter, and other accounts. These have various benefits: linking Twitter lets you easily share your captures, while linking to Discord will show what you’re doing on Xbox as your Discord status. All of them make it easier for players to find you on other services.
If you want to link an account for the perks but keep it private from others, uncheck the Show on profile box.
9. Calibrate Your Display for the Best Visuals
Both the Xbox Series S and Series X are capable of more impressive output than their predecessors. To make sure that your Xbox looks as good as possible on your TV, you can walk through a couple of calibration options.
Open Settings > General > TV & display options to access the relevant tweaks. Choose 4K TV details to see a checklist of what your TV does and doesn’t support.
To run calibrations, choose Calibrate TV. This will take you through a series of steps, where you’ll need to adjust your TV’s settings for each one. For more, you can also choose Calibrate HDR for games, if you have an HDR-capable display.
10. Use the Built-In Looking for Group Function
Having trouble finding other players to enjoy multiplayer with? Maybe you’re trying to find a group of people who communicate for a team-based game like Rainbow Six Siege, or perhaps you want to try a fun custom mode and need players.
Your Xbox has a useful function built-in that allows you to find players. To use it, open the Guide and scroll over to the People tab. Select Looking for Group > Search or create posts.
Here, you can search for a game to find groups of players who are looking for others. If you can’t find a suitable group, choose Create post to make your own.
Some games (like Overwatch) have this functionality built-in, but it’s nice to have it at the system level for other titles.
Enjoy Your Xbox Series X|S Console
With a few tweaks, you’re now ready to get the full experience from your Xbox Series X or Series S. It’s easy to miss some of these features and options with everything available on the system, but now you know where to find the most useful tweaks.
Image Credit: Oleg Krugliak/Shutterstock
Are you unsure about how to navigate your Xbox dashboard? This guide will walk you through the UI.
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