Hidden Xbox Settings You Should Change to Up Your Game

Photo:  Alex Van Aken (Shutterstock)
Photo: Alex Van Aken (Shutterstock)

The Xbox is a fantastic console that ships with pretty good software. Fortunately, it has even greater potential: Your Xbox contains plenty of hidden features that are not enabled by default. All it takes is a deep dive through the settings, however, to make your great console even better.

Reduce your energy bills

Your Xbox has an excellent power-saving mode that may not be enabled by default. If you want to mitigate your gaming habit’s impact on your energy bills, consider tweaking your Xbox’s power saving options.

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Power on your console and press the Xbox button on the controller and open Profile & System, then scroll down to select Settings. Go to General > Power options. Select Shutdown (energy saving) and go through the two Turn off after options to change how long the console can remain inactive before it automatically shuts down.

By shutting down the console fully, you can save up to 20 times as much power, but it does come at the cost of some convenient features: Your console will take longer to power on and it won’t automatically update itself when you aren’t using it.

Fix notifications

Your Xbox loves to send you notifications, which can get annoying; the alerts can block important gameplay elements or pop up when you’re in the middle of a tense online match. So customize them to keep alerts at a minimum.

Go to Xbox settings > Preferences > Notifications. First, fix the positioning of these alerts by going to Default notification position. The lower right corner is usually the most unobtrusive spot, but you can pick one that works with the games you play most often.

Return to the previous page and go to Xbox notifications. Disable notifications for the stuff you don’t need. This page also lets you disable notifications completely, which is alright if you don’t play with friends or use any of Xbox’s social features.

Enable the best accessibility settings

Your Xbox has a whole bunch of features hidden in the accessibility settings page. You can tweak these settings to try Xbox’s night mode to reduce eye strain, remap your controller buttons, and turn off controller vibrations. (Click that link to explore all of the options.)

Optimize the display resolution

You should make sure your Xbox is making the most of your TV. Go to Xbox settings > General > TV & display options and work through all the settings, which will allow you to use the maximum possible resolution while gaming. The Video modes options has a host of refresh rates and other video settings you should check, while the Calibrate TV option confirms your Xbox is able to display colors accurately.

Download essential apps

As you’d expect, most people use their Xbox as a device for gaming, and the console is fully equipped to do that out of the box. However, it’s also an excellent multimedia streaming device, but you need to download a whole bunch of apps to use it for that purpose.

You probably have apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple Music, and Spotify already, but if not, they’re available on the Microsoft Store. Once you’ve downloaded those, however, consider getting the Audio CD Player and Blu-Ray Player apps to make the most of your physical media collection.

Double-check HDMI-CEC options

HDMI-CEC is a useful feature that reduces how many remotes you have to use to control the Xbox and other devices connected to it. If configured correctly, your TV will automatically turn or or off when you boot up or turn off your Xbox.

To configure this setting, go to Xbox settings > General > TV & display options > Device control. Here, you should enable HDMI-CEC as well as other options on this page based on how you want to use this feature.

Every option is self-explanatory, and we’d recommend enabling the following:

  • Console turns on other devices.

  • Console turns off other devices.

  • Switch TV input using controller.

The last option is useful if you have multiple devices connected to the TV. When you press the Xbox button on the controller, the TV will immediately switch to your Xbox.

Get reminders to take regular breaks

It’s easy to get immersed in video games and forget about your own health and the outside world. You can use Xbox’s break reminders feature to make the console remind you to take a periodic break from gaming.

This feature is available under Xbox settings > Preferences > Break reminder.


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