When compared to when it first launched in 2013, the Xbox One is a very different console. From a bit of a rocky start, Microsoft has evolved the console both in terms of hardware and software to provide a powerful gaming system with an intuitive, feature-packed user interface. The issue with having such a feature-rich console is that some handy features can go unnoticed for months, or even years.
That’s where we at Tech Advisor step in. We’ve been avid Xbox gamers for years, and we know the ins and outs of Microsoft’s latest console. Here, we bestow upon you our top Xbox One tips and tricks, applicable for the original Xbox One, along with the updated Xbox One S and 4K-enabled Xbox One X.
Search for Xbox One X Enhanced titles
This one is for Xbox One X users only, and provides an easy way to see which of your games have been given the Xbox One X Enhanced treatment. Simply head to the My Games & Apps menu, select Games and in the drop-down menu in the top-right of the display, select Xbox One X Enhanced titles.
You’ll then be presented with a list of Xbox One X Enhanced games, ready to make the most of the extra power provided by the high-end console. Don’t be disheartened if there are only a handful of games at first, as developers are adding slowly adding support for more games. Make sure you always install game updates to get access to One X Enhanced support as soon as it becomes available!
Expand your storage
Although 500GB, or even 1TB of storage may sound like a lot, it fills up rather quickly – especially if you’ve got an Xbox One X with a bunch of One X Enhanced games installed. But rather than having to painfully delete and re-install your games when you want to play them, you can plug in an external hard drive and expand your storage.
The Xbox One, One S and One X can all support two external hard drives at once, although each drive needs to be USB 3.0 compatible and at least 256GB in size. Once you’ve plugged it in, your Xbox One will format the drive and it’ll be automatically used once your system storage is full.
You can take a look at our selection of the best external hard drives here.
Get free games every month
If you want to bag yourself a couple of free Xbox One games on a monthly basis, you’ll want to grab yourself an Xbox Live Gold membership. Why? Microsoft provides a handful of free games on a monthly basis as part of the company’s Games With Gold initiative. The first is released at the beginning of the month, and the second is released a fortnight later, providing a constant stream of games for you to play at your leisure.
Some games may not be AAA-rated, but it’s a great way to build up your digital library for those dry patches when you’ve got nothing to play, and you’ll often discover indie gems you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Oh, and keep an eye on the free Xbox 360 games too, as chances are they will be backwards-compatible (more on that below).
Play Xbox 360 and Xbox games
One of the greatest benefits of having an Xbox One over a PS4 is that backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 and original Xbox games is both free and easy. If you’ve got a backwards-compatible Xbox game, simply pop the disc in and play. You can also purchase Xbox 360 and Xbox games on the Microsoft Store to enjoy on the console.
It’s as simple as that – no monthly subscription, no accessories required – just pop it in and play.
Remap your buttons
While the more exotic features of the Xbox One Elite controller are exclusive to those that buy the £120 controller, Microsoft decided to provide all Xbox gamers with the ability to remap their buttons. Using the Xbox Accessories app (available on the Microsoft Store), you can remap the button layout of the standard Xbox One wireless controller.
Admittedly there are limitations – you won’t be able to remap the same button multiple times, map paddles to buttons or tweak the sensitivity of the triggers, sticks or vibration motors – but it’s better than nothing, right?
Stream games to your tablet or PC
Sony isn’t the only platform to offer the ability to stream gameplay to a PC – oh no. While it may not be as widely known as Sony’s PS4 Remote Play, Microsoft offers the ability to stream Xbox One games directly to your Windows 10 PC or Windows 10-enabled tablet.
First, head to Settings > Preferences > Xbox app connectivity on your Xbox One and make sure that “Allow game streaming to other devices” is checked. Then, simply head to the Connect tab of the Xbox app (which comes pre-installed with Windows 10) and connect to your console. Once it’s connected, plug in your Xbox One controller and enjoy wireless gaming!
Microsoft’s Play Anywhere scheme, which launched in September 2017, offers a new level of gaming freedom for those that play across PC and Xbox One. Microsoft wants to unify the Xbox One and PC gaming experience under the Windows 10 banner, and to help this, the company now offers a variety of digital titles playable across both platforms with a single purchase.
This includes recent games like Forza Motorsport 7 and Middle-earth: Shadow of War, meaning you need to only buy the games once to enjoy them on both Xbox and PC. No need to choose any more! Your progress will also sync to the cloud, meaning you can pick up from where you left off on any device.
Simply purchase any game with the Xbox Play Anywhere logo on Microsoft Store to be able to access the game on both your PC and console.
Watch TV on your Xbox One
Everybody knows that you can watch satellite and cable TV services like Sky and Virgin Media via the Xbox One, but did you know that you can also watch Freeview? Admittedly it’s not natively supported like the aforementioned premium services, but the good news is that you can buy an accessory that provides Freeview and Freeview HD on the Xbox One.
The accessory is the £24.99 Xbox One Digital TV Tuner (also available for £8.44 on Amazon), which plugs in via USB and provides an aerial socket (aerial not included) for your console. Simply hook up your aerial and you’ll be able to enjoy the collection of channels provided by Freeview on your Xbox One.
Play PS4 on Xbox One
Due to the inclusion of a HDMI In port on the Xbox One, you can plug almost any HDMI-compatible device into your Xbox One and have it run through it. While the feature was designed with the likes of cable and satellite boxes in mind, you can also plug a PS4 into it and play PS4 games via the Xbox One.
Admittedly it’s not an ideal setup, but it’s an option for those that want to switch consoles without having to fiddle with the TV input. There may be a bit of latency, but apart from that, the console can handle a variety of frame rates and resolutions from 480p to 1080p at 60Hz.