There’s never been a better time to buy a game console, and with the Xbox One besting the PS4 for a few months, you may have picked up one for yourself recently. If you’re short on games, we’ve shown you the best games for Xbox One owners.
What you might not know is that the Xbox One’s menu contains a wealth of cool options, some of which are easy to miss. Even if you’ve had the system since launch, Microsoft added some of these settings through updates over the years. Let’s take a look at some options you should customize to make your Xbox experience even better.
To open the Settings on your Xbox One, double-tap the Xbox button, then scroll down to the gear icon and choose All Settings.
1. Mute the Startup Chime
By default, your Xbox will make a little chirp when you turn it on. This is nice if you need confirmation that you turned it on successfully, but that’s probably not the case most of the time. If you often play at night and want to keep it down, you can disable this chime.
Head to Settings > Power & startup > Power mode & startup, then choose Startup chime. You can turn it on or off, or enable it only with power button or voice. For those two methods, a quick confirmation that the Xbox heard you or that you touched the right spot are useful. When you want to keep quiet, just turn on the system by holding the Xbox button on your controller.
2. Appear Offline
Sometimes, you want to play a game online, but don’t want your friends inviting you to a party or another game. For those times, you can go offline and game in peace.
All you need to do is double-tap the Xbox button, then select your profile picture on the left menu. Click on your name and choose My profile from the list that slides out underneath it. On your profile page, you’ll see an Appear offline option. Select this and you’ll be invisible to your friends.
3. Disable Disc Auto-Start
Whenever you insert a disc, whether a game or a movie, the Xbox will immediately start playing it. This is useful if you often switch discs, but when a disc automatically starts and you don’t want to play it, you have to wait for the game to launch so you can quit it.
If you want to only start discs when you say so, navigate to Settings > Disc & Blu-ray > Disc and uncheck Play disc automatically.
4. Remap Buttons
Most games let you select from a variety of control schemes to suit your needs. If you ever encounter a game with wonky controls or want to swap two buttons for an advantage, you can do this natively on the Xbox. Browse to Settings > Ease of Access > Button mapping. You’ll see your controller. Click Configure, then Button mapping to access the menu.
Here, you can to select a button to remap, then a button to map it to. So, if you select A in the first box and Map to B, pressing A will actually be B, and vice versa. You can also specify if you’d like to swap the sticks, look inversion, or triggers here. This could be helpful for folks who are left-handed. To set everything back to how it was, select Restore defaults.
Remember that this changes the buttons at the system level, so games don’t know that you’ve edited your controls. If a game tells you to press LT and you’ve swapped LB and LT, you have to translate that. Button changes remain in effect until you remove them, and apply to all games and the Xbox menu.
5. Restrict Sign-In and Purchasing
If you have young children or mischievous roommates that you’d prefer to keep out of your Xbox, you can require some additional information to sign in. You’ll find the applicable options at Settings > Account > Sign-in, security & passkey. On the left side of this screen, you’ll see your current sign-in method; click Change my sign-in & security preferences to make changes.
You can select from several levels of security here. No barriers is the least secure option and allows anyone to turn on your Xbox, sign into your account, and spend money without any restriction. One level up is Ask for my passkey. The Xbox will ask for a passcode when you try to sign in or buy games. If a passkey isn’t secure enough for you, you can choose Lock it down, which will require your Microsoft account password to make any changes.
We don’t recommend the last option for the same reason we think using a PIN is a good idea on Windows 10. Your Microsoft account password should be strong, and if you have to type it every time you turn on your Xbox, you’ll probably make the password more convenient and thus weaker.
If you want to fine-tune these login settings, scroll all the way right and choose Customize. Here, you can select individual options for each sensitive action on your Xbox. Want to require a passkey for purchases, but not for changing settings? You can do that here, and lock everything down just the way you need it.
6. Stop Some Notifications
Out of the box, the Xbox One likes to notify you about every little occurrence on your system. This is useful so you don’t miss important events, but those pop-ups can get in the way of your playing. To turn a few off, head to Settings > Preferences > Notifications.
You can turn off all notifications by unchecking the Notifications on box. To fine-tune them, click Xbox notifications to change what the system sends you. You can disable pop-ups for Achievements, Clubs, Activity Feed, and more here.
Click App notifications to turn off notifications from installed apps, if applicable. Finally, you can choose Notification timing to decide if expired notifications should stay in your guide (when you double-tap the Xbox button), and change how long notifications stay on your screen.
7. Customize Your Background
The Xbox gives you several options to customize your system’s look. Go to Settings > Personalization > My color & background, where you can change these to your liking. The color is self-explanatory, but you can change your Background to a solid color, a screenshot or custom image, and art from any of the Achievements you’ve earned.
If you choose anything other than a solid color, you can also change the transparency of tiles on the home screen so you can see the image more clearly.
8. Re-Blend the Chat Mixer
Sometimes when you’re in a party, you need to hear your friends (like if you’re in a heated Overwatch competitive match). Other times, the game audio is more important to you. Whenever you feel like you can’t hear everything just right, go to Settings > Display & sound > Volume. Choose Chat mixer and you can select how much a game’s audio will drop when you’re in a party. You can reduce game audio by 80% or 50%, mute it entirely, or do nothing.
While you’re here, have a look at Sound mixer. This lets you change the audio balance between apps you have open and apps snapped to the side of the screen.
9. Stop Sharing Everything
If you aren’t a social player, you can keep your Xbox from sharing info about your games and friends to others. These settings around found at Settings > Account > Privacy & online safety. Choose Xbox Live privacy to pick between default for a child, teenager, and adult, or click View details & customize to set everything up manually. For instance, the default child account restricts the user to downloading free games, but requires an adult to add a friend.
You’ll find a wealth of settings to tweak here. Settings include who can see your real name and profile, if you publish activity about games, whether you can share content to social networks, and more. Have a look here to make everything as private as you like.
To see which apps use your data, select App privacy to turn off permissions for Location, Microphone, and the like.
10. Take Advantage of Ease of Access
Ease of Access settings help people with disabilities enjoy the Xbox One, but they can be helpful for anyone. Select Settings > Ease of Access to review them. The most useful option is the Magnifier, which lets you zoom in on the screen to see better. Text in games seems to be rapidly shrinking, so this is great if you don’t have 20/20 vision.
To use the Magnifier, hold the Xbox button until your controller vibrates. Then, press the View button (to the left of the Xbox button). You can press LT to zoom out and RT to zoom in, and use the left stick to move around. Press B to exit the magnifier.
What Settings Have You Tweaked?
The Xbox One’s settings menu hides a lot of useful tweaks that aren’t obvious at first glance. As the Xbox platform evolves, we’ll likely see even more options for customization.
If your Xbox is almost out of space, read up on everything you need to know about using an external drive to expand it.
Did you know about these Xbox One customization options? Let us know the settings you’ve changed below in the comments!
Image Credit: Barone Firenze and Naschy via Shutterstock.com