There are a ton of great features hidden inside the Xbox app for iPhone and Android. To use these features you’ll need to download the app for your platform of choice, then log in with the same credentials you use on your Xbox Series or Xbox One console.
Easy Access to Screenshots and Videos
One of the main reasons to have the Xbox app on your Smartphone is to easily access media that you’ve captured on your Xbox. You can do this using the “Share” button on an Xbox Series console controller, or using the “Share” shortcut on an Xbox One after pressing the Xbox home button.
Once you’ve taken a screenshot or recorded a clip, it will automatically be uploaded to the Xbox servers and once it’s done you can access it under the “My Library” tab by tapping on the “Captures” option. Select a screenshot or video, wait for it to download, then use “Share” to send it to social networks or friends, or use “Save” to save it to your device’s media library.
Capturing screenshots or videos is great for remembering interesting parts of games, celebrating your place at the top of the scoreboard, or capturing hilarious bugs and glitches.
Preload Games (Without Buying Them First)
Preloading lets you download everything you need to play a game so that it’s ready to go when you want to play. With the Xbox app for iPhone and Android, you can preload anything on the store and unlock it by paying for it when the time is right.
This is great for games that have yet to be released. You can preload everything so that you can play on day one, then check reviews to make sure the game is worth your hard-earned money before you play. This works best if you have a fast, unmetered internet connection and plenty of free space on your Xbox console.
To do this, open the Xbox app and tap on the Search tab. Make sure “Games” is selected in the filters, then search for whatever it is you want to download. Tap on the game you want in the search results, then tap “Download to Console” to start the transfer.
Play Remotely Using Your Device
You can use your Xbox console remotely using your iPhone or Android smartphone by tapping on the “Remote Play” icon in the top-right corner of the “Home” tab. This works over a local network connection (via Wi-Fi) or using the Internet. Microsoft recommends a 5GHz wireless connection or a mobile data connection of 10Mbps down (but your home internet will need to have good upload speed to support internet play too).
This allows you to do just about anything you could do on your console if you were in the same room, using it on a TV. This includes playing games, downloading Game Pass titles, buying things in the Microsoft Store, or accessing console Settings.
Find, Message, and Block Friends
You can find people by typing in their username (or part of it) using the “Search” tab and tapping the “People” filter. From here you can send them messages or add them as friends.
It’s also possible to see your friends list under the “Friends” tab. There are two filters to choose from: Friends and Chats. You can pick up chats you’re already having here or use this as the primary means of messaging people over the Xbox Live network since typing on a console with a controller is a miserable experience.
You can also use this feature to prune your friends list by tapping on someone and then using the ellipsis “…” icon to mute, block, or remove them from your list. You can also report people, add them to favorites, or invite them to your party, all from the mobile app.
See What Others are Playing
While you’re browsing someone’s profile, you can see their “Posts” which include the latest achievements they’ve earned and any screenshots they’ve decided to share. You can tap on “Achievements” to compare progress in games you both play, or hit the “About” tab to see more information.
This includes the games they’ve recently been playing, their friends, Gamerscore, location (if they’ve chosen to share it), and how many followers they have. You can also get a better look at their gamer picture, or send them a message from here too.
You can make posts yourself by tapping on your gamer picture on the “Profile” and sharing media or an achievement.
Use Your Smartphone as a Microphone for Party Chat
Tap on the “Friends” tab then hit the green “Microphone” button to create and be dropped into a party that will use your device as a microphone. From here you can add people or leave, change the party to invite-only, or mute everyone.
It’s not an elegant solution but it’s better than not having a microphone at all. It probably works best using a single wireless earbud (like an AirPod) as both a speaker and microphone to communicate with your party.
Change Your Gamer Picture and Online Status
Changing your gamer picture using your mobile device is a great idea since you can use any image you’ve saved on your smartphone. This provides way more flexibility than doing this on your console directly. You can also tap on your online status to appear offline.
To change your picture, tap on the “Profile” tab then tap on the ellipsis “…” icon and choose “Change Gamerpic” from the options. You can use the first option to add an image from your device’s photo library or pick from a selection of Xbox images. Choose your image and hit “Save” to apply it.
Link Your Social Accounts
It’s a lot easier to link your Facebook, Steam, Twitch, Twitter, Discord, or Reddit account with your Xbox Gamertag on a mobile device. Launch the Xbox app and head to the “Profile” tab then hit the “Link social accounts” button. These links will then be shown in your profile whenever someone views it.
You can then use the “View suggested friends” button to find people you may know using your linked accounts. Friends will need to have linked their Xbox to the social account in question for this to work.
Bonus: Access Xbox Cloud Gaming via Game Pass
While this isn’t part of the core Xbox app, it’s worth mentioning for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers. Now you’re caught up on the Xbox mobile experience, see what other Xbox features you might be missing out on.