How to join and use the Xbox One Insider Program

If you like sneak peeks, here's how to join the Xbox One Insider Program

If you’re an Xbox One user, chances are you’ve heard of the Xbox Insider Program. The Insider Program is Microsoft’s way of testing new system updates and features before rolling them out to the public. So that means if you join the program, you get to try new Xbox One updates and give feedback before your friends. Sound cool? Here’s how to join and use the Insider program, as well as what to expect after you join.

Joining the program

how to join xbox one insider program 18  10 53 am

Step 1: Navigate to the store on the Xbox One dashboard. Search for “Xbox Insider Hub” and download (it’s free).

Step 2: Launch the app and click “Join.” Read the terms and conditions before confirming your participation.

Starting out

how to join xbox one insider program 18  10 53 am 2

After joining, you will notice that the Insider Program is set up somewhat like a game. Under your gamertag will be a level ranking (Level 1, Observer, Rookie is where you start) and next to that will be experience points (0/20 to start). You start out as what Microsoft calls an “Omega” user, which is open to all Xbox One owners.

Don’t worry about all that for now, though. What you should be interested in is the third menu option, “insider content.” In the Insider content menu, you will find exclusive system updates, apps, and occasionally game-related content. Right now, that includes the Minecraft beta program, which lets you preview new game updates (provided you own Minecraft already, of course).

The main feature of the Insider Program is Xbox One Update Preview, which you will see all the way to the right within Insider content.

Understanding Xbox One Update Preview

how to join xbox one insider program 18  10 55 am 4

When you click on Xbox One Update Preview, you’ll notice that you have to join again. Yes, you already joined the Insider Program a few minutes ago, but Microsoft wants to make sure you’re truly prepared for what comes next.

The text warns: “If you enroll your console in Preview, you should expect regular system updates and occasional issues that may reduce functionality.”

How many system updates should you expect? As an Omega user, it fluctuates, but expect one, maybe two per week.

What about those “occasional issues?” Yes, because the updates are essentially betas, you might run into a few snags here and there. While it’s unlikely you will have serious problems using your Xbox One, keep in mind that it may not be the smoothest experience at all times.

Still in?

how to join xbox one insider program 18  10 55 am 5

If intermittent performance issues don’t sound like a deal-breaker, click join. Again, read the terms and conditions before confirming your selection. This is where Microsoft informs you that you can exit the program whenever you want.

Importantly, though, if you exit the program when your system is on an active preview (before it’s rolled out to the public), there’s a decent chance you’ll have to initialize your system again. While this doesn’t mean you’ll lose your games and apps, you will have to go through the initial console setup again.

After joining, it can take a couple hours until your first preview build is available for download.

How do I level up?

how to join xbox one insider program 18  10 55 am

Remember how we mentioned you start at level 1 (Omega)? Over the course of your Insider Program tenure, you can move up to get access to more updates and early content by completing polls, quests, and surveys listed inside the app. Your level will rise as you participate in preview builds and complete tasks. As you can see, sometimes you won’t have stuff to do to raise your level. Be patient.

The Insider Program has four tiers:

  • Omega: Anyone can join.
  • Delta: Reach level 2 and be an insider for at least one month.
  • Beta: Reach level 4 and be an insider for at least three months.
  • Alpha: Invite only. Microsoft occasionally invites extremely active Delta/Beta insiders to join Alpha.

As you move up the ranks, expect more frequent updates and early features.


HP’s Omen Mindframe headset keeps your ears chill, but might leave you lukewarm

The Omen Mindframe headset uses HP's FrostCap technology to keep ears cool during long gaming sections. While it delivers on keeping ears cool, it forgets some of the essentials of a quality gaming headset.
Smart Home

Is your Keurig making gross coffee? Might be time for a cleaning

No one likes a dirty, scaled, or smelly Keurig, but how are you supposed to clean them? Before you throw yours out the window, here is a quick guide on cleaning your machine out thoroughly.
Movies & TV

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the Final Four online

Whether you want to watch the Big Dance on your phone or on your smart TV, we have the lowdown on the ways to watch all the March Madness you can handle. Grab your foam finger and some nachos.

How to download and install Google’s next-gen Android Q beta?

The first beta for Google's next-generation mobile operating system, Android Q, is finally here -- and you can download and install it yourself. Here's how to download and install the Android Q beta.

Can't stand keyboard gaming on PC? Here's how to use a PS3 controller instead

Properly connecting a PlayStation 3 Controller to a PC is no easy task, especially when you opt for third-party peripherals. Thankfully, our guide will help you through the process.

Amazon drops a deal on SteelSeries Arctis 3 gaming headset for Nintendo Switch

Amazon is currently running a deal on the SteelSeries Arctis 3 gaming headset, which is compatible with Nintendo Switch as well as Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, mobile, and virtual reality.

Is Google launching a game-streaming service? Watch our GDC livestream to see

Google is presenting its 2019 GDC keynote on March 19. Here is how you can tune in to watch the event, as well as what could be shown during the presentation. Google's Project Stream service could be on the agenda.

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?

Here's what we know about the Dark Souls developer's next game

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the latest game from Dark Souls and Bloodborne developer From Software. Here is everything we know about the new game, including its setting and combat changes.

Upcoming zombiefest Days Gone boasts 30-plus hours of story-driven content

Days Gone, the first PlayStation 4 title from Sony's Bend Studio, looks to offer a different type of zombie game. Here's everything we know about the forthcoming title, from the setting to its gameplay.

Need to perform a factory reset on your Xbox One console? Here's how to do it

Whether you're upgrading to a One X and giving your old console to a friend, or troubleshooting a technical issue, sometimes your Xbox One needs a clean slate. Here's our quick guide on how to factory reset an Xbox One.

New character Octane makes an entrance with the first Apex Legends Battle Pass

Apex Legends' first season kicks off March 19 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The Battle Pass comes in two versions, with the base version costing around 10 bucks. Seasonal rewards include a bevy of new loot such as legendary skins.

The Unevn One is a portable desk that brings PC gaming on the road

Bringing a gaming PC outside your usual setup can be a challenge, but the Unevn One is the first all-in-one, portable gaming desk complete with a computer chassis and integrated monitor mount.

How to get the most out of agent builds and specializations in The Division 2

The Division 2 has an intricate loot system to let you fine tune your agent to fit your play style. In our builds and specializations guide, we'll walk you through all of the stats you should pay attention to when tinkering with gear.