Tips For Using The Xbox One

Tips For Using The Xbox One

So you have a new Xbox One. Now what? "Xbox, do something!" We've got some advice.

If you have a 360 and are short a socket, consider juggling power bricks

The Xbox One and the Xbox 360 don't use the same power brick, but the cable that connects the bricks to the wall is the same. If for some reason you want to keep your 360 and your non-backwards-compatible One at the ready, you could keep connecting and disconnecting at the power brick level. Or just do it at the wall. Or just get a power strip!

Plug in Kinect

Yes, it's a little weird. Yes, maybe they're watching you. But they say they aren't, not in ways you can't turn off. They've said so. There's a privacy statement that makes this all clear. You should read it.

But maybe you think the Kinect might be useless. Who needs it when you've got a game controller at the ready? Well. The fact is that, in many rooms, the Kinect does quite well reacting to verbal commands. The Xbox One's dashboard is made to be navigated by voice. You can use a controller, too, but the dash is swiftest with voice. It's at least worth trying...

Before you begin calibrating Kinect, we suggest you turn your TV speakers up. Kinect has trouble hearing voice commands over a loud TV. This might help prepare it to do better with that.

Consider consolidating your HMDI connections by plugging something into the Xbox One

It's a neat parlor trick to run a Wii U or PS4 through an Xbox One. You could try a 360, too. (Or even an Xbox One into itself, if you're mad.) But fears of slight lag or a framerate downgrade for this kind of connection make it something we don't recommend. Microsoft explicitly does not support hooking a game console into the One, probably for those reasons.

Instead, if you have a cable box, plug that into your Xbox One and then, when the console is up and running, say "Xbox Watch TV" and get it all working. Just be forewarned that you'll have to take some extra steps to get any surround sound out of your cable box.

Don't let your Xbox One control your TV's power

The Xbox One is a champ at telling cable boxes to change their channels. You can even use the Xbox One to turn your cable box on and off. We don't, however, think the Xbox One has any business turning your TV on and off, since it leads to too many non-ideal scenarios. For example, if your TV is already on because you're watching something, saying "Xbox On" and having that command send a power signal to your TV might result in your TV turning off. That ain't ideal.

Customise the system's OneGuide TV listings

Explore the OneGuide, and add your favourite shows to your "favourites." That'll make navigating a lot easier.

Use the system's standby mode

Your Xbox One will boot up faster and the machine will be able to be turned on with a verbal command. If you're worried that this means Kinect is always watching, just point it at a wall or something.

Say "Xbox" and then wait

You'll bring up a list of possible commands. Learn these. Play around with them. See what happens when you start snapping various things together.

Tips For Using The Xbox One
Tips For Using The Xbox One
Tips For Using The Xbox One

Once you know the commands, try saying them naturally. You might be surprised how well the Kinect can hear you. For some people, it's great. It varies.

There are also a bunch of tutorials you can find on the system. At launch, they're just to the right on your home screen. Try them.

Try snapping a TV show or app while you're playing a game

This is the Xbox One's most distinct feature. No other game console splits your TV screen like this. Give it a shot. Alt suggestion: play a game and then say "Xbox, snap activity" so you can keep up with your friend feed while playing.

Tips For Using The Xbox One

Bonus tip: Don't want to snap with a voice command? Tap the controller's main Xbox button and select the snap option. Double tap that button to return to the game. To unsnap, tap that same home button and select unsnap.

Bonus bonus tip: Switch back and forth between what's on the left of your screen and the snapped app either by saying "Xbox Switch" or double-tapping the controller's Xbox home button.

Talk to the Xbox about games and shows differently

Remember that the command for TV is "Watch" and the command for Apps and Games is "Go To." So you GO TO Ryse: Son of Rome but you WATCH Rise of the Guardians. Say "Xbox" first, of course.

Do NOT tell your Xbox to go to another game unless you're sure you saved

The console will not warn you that you haven't saved your progress. It will not ask if you're sure. It will just close the game down on you and load the next one. You don't want this to happen...

Queue your downloads and installations

If you're an Xbox Live Gold subscriber, you have access to a lot of apps that you'll have to add one at a time. Go to the official Xbox store in your console and start downloading. Maybe grab some games, too. Get the app for playing Blu-Rays, for example. Grab Upload Studio, so you can share clips you've captured with Game DVR. Nab SkyDrive, too, which lets you share videos and other media back and forth from your computer to your console. This is how you'll be able to move captured game clips to your computer, if you want.

Downloads and installations can take some time on Xbox One, but since it can all happen in the background, you can manage this by lining everything up and then doing something else on the system.

Learn how to get to your system settings

No, this should not be hard, but it is! The settings menu can be strangely difficult to find, and the Kinect might not always respond to "Xbox go to Settings." If you want to quickly access settings, press the "menu" button, aka the start button.

Learn to pin

The Xbox One dashboard is 100x more useful if you pin your favourite games and apps to the left of the system's start-up screen. Find an icon for the game or app you want to pin, press the menu button on the controller and pick the pinning option. Your pins will even travel with you if you put your profile on another console.

Tips For Using The Xbox One

Note: use this same tip to delete games and apps. You'll be able to see how much room they take up by pressing that select button and can delete them from there; the system has no main interface for managing storage, for some reason.

Improve your avatar

Your Xbox 360 avatar will import into your Xbox One, but it'll look small and ugly. If you go to "About Me" in the settings menu and select "Set gamerpic." Now your avatar can pose for all sorts of new, bigger gamerpics.

Grab the SmartGlass app for your phone and tablet

Try out the Xbox One's SmartGlass app for your smartphone or tablet (iOS/Android/WindowsPhone/Windows 8). We haven't used it all that much yet, but so far it seems like a slick way to interact with your console, and it lets your phone double as a remote control and keyboard for typing. Very useful, particularly for banging out messages to friends. Plus, some games like Dead Rising 3 have nifty companion apps that, while inessential, can be fun to mess around with as you play.

Have fun!

....and if you have more tips for new Xbox One owners, please mention them below.


    Good tips! I especially love the bonus tip. I always feel like I'm getting such good value for my reading dollar for those. :)

    Try snapping a TV show or app while you’re playing a game

    All you achieve with that is killing immersion, dumb tip.

      Playing a game with Rage playing music, or Xbox Music seems like a good option. Although it would be better to be able to have music play in the background.

      Yeh totally, because I play FIFA for the immersion and not because I just like FIFA.

        I like to pretend I'm a ghost haunting and possessing the team. =P

      I'm sure people can make up their own minds without you telling them this feature is 'dumb'.

      If I'm painting a car in Forza while the crickets on, it's a perfectly good idea.

      Your comment is dumb.

    We don’t, however, think the Xbox One has any business turning your TV on and off, since it leads to too many non-ideal scenarios.

    Name two.

      They did, the IR blasting turns your TV off if you already had it on already when you turn the Xbox On. No idea why it doesn't just use HDMI CEC with your TV.

        This comes to mind

        Last edited 23/11/13 10:51 am

        Cec still isn't perfect. If I plug my ps3 into my receiver via HDMI then from the receiver to the TV. When the TV turns on it forces the receiver into 2.0 mode even with a 5.1 source like a DVD playing in the ps3.

        Xbox one does support cec (so I've read), the IR blaster is a fall back for devices (most sat boxes) that don't support cec.

          Yea only in America for some retarded reason, but once set the setting sticks. I switched my region to USA, set up my TV and receiver models, and switched back to AU. Works now.

    I couldnt get my tv or foxtel to work through my xbone in australia.
    Is there any way or tutorial on how to get it to work?

      How are you connecting it? Just a HDMI cable from the set top box to the XBOX One's HDMI input?

        yeah hdmi foxtel to xb1 then i say tv and it switched but the foxtel iq box quickly but says theres an error and then it switches back xb1 and says it couldnt connect tv.

          Did you go through the setup process? My T-Box didn't work until I did.

            no, do you mean a set up on the xbox or foxtel? how? thanks for the help

              &travisnews87 & are you saying a TBox will give normal tv or foxtel? thanks
              is there anything that will get normal tv like a set top box?

    This is embarrassing, does anyone know how to make the Xbox one go on Standby?

      dude its all new, dont be embarrassed. I just say xbox turn off and it actually goes to standby.

      unless its doing something then it will look off but it will continue what its doing.

      what im confused is theres no way i can see to actually quit games? so i just eject them when im done playing. is that what im supposed to do?

        If you hit the menu (aka Start) button when the game is highlighted you'll get a menu and one of the options is quit.

          Ahh shucks, well that makes sense. ill start doing that tonight. thnaks

        Ah. I'd been saying XBOX off.

        To quit things use the 'start' button (I forget what they call it now). It brings up the context menu on pretty much anything.

    @kotaku @Gizmodo somebody should do a suggestion article about the xbox one calibrate TV setting.
    I have a samsung 64 inch plasma and it really made ghosts clearer and more real looking.
    but no body knows of this awesome functionality yet.

      I've had my TV for 5-6 years and didn't even know it was capable of a picture this good looking!

      is this COD ghosts or picture ghosting your talking about? do share the tips for this functionality

        i was talking about settings in xb1 TV - calibrate. shows you how to tune your hue,contrast,brightness, edge dynamics etc to suit the games properly. it depends how you have it set but made a big difference for me

    You can use a controller, too, but the dash is swiftest with voice.

    It's just not. It's clunky by nature. I've been playing with the dashboard a little and once you get used to 'start' being the context menu button and learn the oddly reorganised content locations the controller trumps voice navigation by far.
    What it comes down to is you can't say 'XBOX do task'. You have to say 'XBOX. [0.25 second wait] Do task'. It doesn't sound like much but it makes it feel awkward. You have to concentrate when you talk to it. It's like talking to a dog that doesn't know it's commands.

    That's probably my biggest problem with the UI. It's constantly thinking. Press a button. Wait a second. Press a button. Wait a second.

      U can say "Xbox do task" without the wait to verify it heard you say "Xbox".
      In fact I found voice commands to work better if I say it in one sentence rather than pausing

    Is anyone else finding their XBOX One is super, super slow when it comes to downloads? My connection is fine but it seems to take forever to download anything. Wired connection. Everything looks fine.
    Possibly related, does anyone find the Dead Rising 3 app constantly enters a non-responsive state? It's a cool concept but I have to restart the game a lot just to get it working again.

      i only get 800kb download speed and it took about half an hour to start playing ghosts. forza and the fighter within. half hour each ish

      Super slow download speeds.
      I have an NBN connection, console connected wirelessly (reporting 13Mbps connection speed from console).
      Day 1 OS update took less than 5 mins, but then everything else is ridiculously slow. Took almost 5 minutes to download a ~20Mb app.

        Come to think of it my OS update took about what I'd expect for a 500MB file (my connection isn't that great to begin with). I started FIFA 14 yesterday afternoon and it was only 98% of 8.9GB this morning. XBOX Video was only about 30-40MB if I remember correctly and for some reason it took half an hour.
        I'm thinking maybe there's something on it to throttle the speed based on how good it thinks your connection is, and that there's something throwing off how fast it thinks my connection is. Normally I can feel it on my PC when there's something downloading on the PS3/XBOX 360/Wii U, but it was going like normal.

        If I figure out what's going wrong I'll tag you in a reply.


          I just tried going into the network settings and getting detailed connection info (bottom right option). It took a minute to check my connection and gave me pretty much the correct info on my connection.
          After that I downloaded XBOX Music. I'm not going to say it went quickly for a 40MB file, but it was nowhere near as slow as the similar sized XBOX Video app. The smartglass Dead Rising 3 app seems to be working better for me now too.

            Ta. Speeds picked up a little yesterday afternoon, but still nowhere near where they should be. The 6Gb Forza patch is maybe 1/3 done after ~2.5 hours, so yeah.

          I havent noticed too bad, I got Fifa in about 30min, uploading clips longer than couple minutes is pretty slow though

    The console will not warn you that you haven’t saved your progress. It will not ask if you’re sure. It will just close the game down on you and load the next one.
    Strange that the smartphone operating systems are across this but a console OS is not. Sure, it may take more time/resources to save a game state on a console than on a phone, but it's hard to see why the thread cannot be allowed to continue in the background for a few seconds until the save is complete. Have MS not prepared developers adequately for this feature?

    How do you turn it on with voice.. .. Whenever mine is off it never listens to voice commands..... Both turning it off with voice or the controller?

    Also is there any way to see players you have played with so as to add them as friends? Can't see it at all

    also same goes for having it control my tv....... as soon as i turn the xbox off my tv just says no signal

    Last edited 23/11/13 5:10 pm

      The "xbox on" command is only available in some countries at launch. Not Aus.

      You can't turn it on with voice if your In Australia. No idea why. It can understand everything else just fine. If it has something to do with code for turning on TV's and sound systems, then who cares about that. Just let us turn the Xbox on with our voice.

        Funny thing is setting it up with your tv and receiver model seems to stick in the OS if you set it in US region and keep working once you set it back to AU, but the option isn't there under AU.

    Anyone know how to access my homegroup or video files from the Xbox directly?

      Looks like full DLNA functionality is still waiting for certification. It only supports PlayTo push DLNA at launch.

    I havn't had any real issues, except for Gamercards are not at the same level as they were on the 360. No motto or Bio. Also, in Ghosts, when I went to purchase the future map packs, it brought the cost up in GBP rather than AUD, where as the Xbox store has it listed in AUD. OH and if you get a voice message sent from a 360, you can't listen to it, unless you log into a 360.

      Yeah. I'm finding the XBOX Live a bit, incomplete? It doesn't seem to work with the XBOX Live website either. I'm still showing as last played game being GTAV on the 360.

      The store doesn't appear to have a browse by title function either. The XBOX One software-wise is reminding me of the awful Microsoft apps the Surface comes loaded with, only I don't have the alternative of going to the desktop or using third party alternatives.

      Last edited 24/11/13 1:25 pm

    My Tips

    - Use skype for voice chatting, you get a free premium membership with xbox live gold, its more stable and more open (can talk to people on pc/phone etc etc).

    - How do you turn off pop-up notifications? Go to Settings, select Preferences, then select the notifications you want to turn off. You can turn off individual notifications for Skype, messages, or party. Or, you can turn off all notifications

    - Quick easy guide to opening NAT settings

    go to Advanced network settings on Xbox One
    Write down the Available IP it automatically set, the subnet mask and the gateway ip.
    go to IP settings, click Manual, set the above written down numbers as they are.
    go to Xbox One power settings, set Off settings to "Energy Saving"
    Go to your router config page and change your DMZ ip address to your Xbox One IP.
    reboot your router on the config page.
    wait till your router is back online
    turn your xbox one off and back on again
    in network settings it should now say your NAT is Open. if it doesn't i dont know why, my bad
    change your Off settings back to Instant-On if you prefer it that way.

    - quit apps/games by highlighting its tile on the dashboard and clicking menu (start) and going to quit.

    Whatever happened to "insert game", "play game"????????

      Nothing, if you insert a game, it takes you to the game.

    This may seem a stupid question but the use of Foxtel IQ2 through the XB1 console seems to be limited to watching. There is no functionality to control the IQ nor to add the channels to your list of favourites. Further to this has anyone experienced the internet connectivity of their Foxtel stops when plugged in to the XB1?

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