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Xbox Series X standby mode explained – what's the difference and benefits of the Energy-saving and Instant-on options

Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Future)

If you've rooted around in the Xbox Series X Settings application, you've probably seen that the system has a couple of different power and startup modes available. So if you're looking to have the Xbox Series X standby mode explained, we've got you covered.

The two Xbox Series X startup modes are designed to give you greater control of how you can interact with your console, what it is able to do while you're otherwise AFG (away from gamepad), and how likely it is to impact your electricity bill – an important consideration, even if you've found yourself a great Xbox Series X price

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Xbox Series X energy-saving standby mode explained

Xbox Series X

(Image credit: Future)

You've just spent a lot of money on a brand new next-generation console, games, and accessories, so the last thing you want to do is feel the weight of that decision on your electricity bill. Energy-saving mode can be activated by navigating to Xbox Series X settings from My Games and Apps, looking for the 'Power mode and Startup' option in the General tab, and then selecting it from the 'Power mode' dropdown menu. 

Xbox Series X energy-saving mode will mean that your console powers down fully once you turn the console off. It offers the lowest power consumption and is environmentally friendlier, which is definitely something to consider in this day and age. This means you'll need to wait around 20 seconds for the console to turn on from cold every time, although that isn't exactly the longest wait in the world, though any games you left in a suspended state through Xbox Quick Resume will still be there. Energy-saving mode is handy for reducing your footprint, but it does mean that game updates won't automatically install while the console is switched off so bear that in mind. 

Xbox Series X Instant-on standby mode explained

Xbox Series X UI

(Image credit: Future / Xbox)

If you're looking for lightning fast performance and don't care all that much about the environment or your electricity bill, then the Xbox Series X Instant-on standby mode will be what you're looking for. It is activated in the same way as Energy-saving – navigate through My Games and Apps, Settings, Power mode and Startup, and then the Power mode dropdown. 

Xbox Series X Instant-on mode will ensure that your console goes from off to signed into Xbox Live in fewer than five seconds. Pair that with Quick Resume and it means you'll be able to go from sitting on the couch to moving a character around in, potentially, no more than 20 seconds. If anything, between the SSD, Instant-on standby mode and Quick Resume, the Xbox Series X is too fast. 

With Instant-on activated, you'll find that your games and applications will continue installing and automatically update, even when you turn the console off. You'll even be able to play, install, and manage console games from your mobile device through the new application – if you're after guidance on that one, here's how to set up the Xbox mobile app

Of course, you can also dial in a greater degree of precision with the Xbox Series X Instant-on standby mode. From that Power Mode and Startup menu in Settings you'll be able to have it so that when the Xbox is off it will also turn off storage, which means that games installed on the Seagate Storage Expansion Card won't automatically install. From here, you can also order a full Xbox Series X shutdown or run a restart cycle, would you need or want to – remember kids, it's always good to clear your cache once in a while. 

Josh West

Hello there! I'm the Features Editor here at GamesRadar and have been known to moonlight as the Assistant Producer of the Future Games Show. I'm probably best known for the various hills I've been willing to die on.