Get the most out of your Xbox One with these tips

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Getting to know your Xbox One

Before you jump in…

microsoft xbox one review interface home

Prepare to sit patiently for a little bit the first time you turn on your Xbox One. After you do the initial setup — connecting the console to the internet, etc. — you will need to update the console to the newest version of the operating system. It may take awhile, but just go with it.

If you plan on running your cable box through the Xbox One to take advantage of the console’s TV overlay, you should do that right away as well. It’s extremely easy: You’ll need your ZIP code, your cable provider’s company name, and the manufacturer/model of cable box you’re using. Just follow the steps on the screen; it’s all laid out very clearly. Getting your remote code set can be a little tricky with certain older model cable boxes, but just keep tinkering with the automatic and manual setup commands. For the cable box, you should find the model name/number on a sticker on the back. Everyone has a different arrangement at home, but the Xbox One setup is built to be user-friendly and universal.

Once you get to the dashboard for the first time, don’t immediately dive in and start gaming! Sure, you can if your heart is really set on it, but know that your setup isn’t quite finished. There are certain apps that you might not need to use the console, but you’ll probably want to install before it’s time to use them. Download the apps for all of your streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu, as well as “optional” apps like the Blu-ray Player and Upload Studio apps, which both relate to core console functions. 

Get through menus in a hurry

Clicking the directional pad or flicking the analog stick over and over again can be a pain when you’re trying to sift through pages of menus to get to your favorite game or just get from the top of the Xbox One dashboard to the bottom, but there is a much faster way to quickly navigate nearly every menu on the system. Just pull the left trigger and you’ll automatically be sent to the top of your current page, while the right trigger will send you to the bottom. If things seem to be slow on the Xbox dashboard, you can even refresh it by holding down both triggers as you press the Y button.

Keep your space tidy

Every game, even if you bought it on a disc, needs to be installed on the Xbox One before you can play it. You may be able to start playing after only a few minutes when the progress is as low as five percent, while the game continues installing in the background. This also goes for downloadable games; you should be able to start playing most of them by the time they reach roughly 50-percent download completion (sometimes less). Don’t get too excited, though, while every Xbox One game can open before its installed, in many cases launching them early simply opens a new in-game loading screen.

Xbox one systems come in two different storage sizes: 500GB and 1TB. This isn’t a ton of space given that some game files are pushing 100GB on the system already, but Xbox One makes it quite simple to not only uninstall any games you’re not currently using, but also to reinstall those you want to play again.

You can uninstall games and apps at any time by pressing by selecting them, pressing the “menu” button, and choosing “manage game.” You’re then free to uninstall the game file itself, as well as any DLC that could be eating up space. Clicking “uninstall all” will get rid of all of this, but don’t worry about losing your save data — it’s automatically stored in the cloud, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally erasing it unless you choose the “delete from cloud” option.

All digital games you have purchased will be available in the “games” section of “My Games & Apps,” with those not currently on your system listed in “ready to install.” Simply click the menu button on any of these games and choose “install.” If you have any extra DLC packs that you also want to install, you can do so by selecting “manage game” and checking the game’s “ready to install” section.

Between freebies, demos, beta tests, and purchased digital games, your collection visible in the “ready to install” section will get pretty large over time, easily pushing 100 or more titles. To make the clutter easier on the eyes, you can hide games from the list that you won’t be playing anymore. Just press “menu” on a game you want to hide, and select the option to hide it. To bring the hidden games back, press the left and right bumpers while also pressing X.

Play your free Games With Gold games

If you’re an Xbox Live Gold subscriber — a requirement for playing multiplayer titles — you automatically get access to four free games a month. Two of these are Xbox One titles, while the other two are for Xbox 360, and all of them are playable on your Xbox One for as long as you keep your subscription.

Claiming your free games is a relatively painless process. Sign into your Xbox One and, on the dashboard, you should spot a tile labeled “gold.” Just click on that and you’ll see your free games, of which there are three available at any one time. You can also use the official Xbox One smartphone app to claim your Xbox One games, but not the Xbox 360 titles.

If you want to have your games ready to download when you get to your Xbox, you can claim them using a web browser. Sign in on the Games With Gold page and you’ll spot all three games down below under “now available.” They’ll automatically be added to your “ready to install” section of “My Games & Apps” on your Xbox One.


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