45 Xbox One tips and tricks to get more from your console

Share phone snaps to your Xbox One

Any sensational photos or videos you upload to OneDrive from your phone can be pulled down by OneDrive on Xbox One, allowing you to browse them in comfort. Be aware, of course, that the additional screen estate may uncover details that are better overlooked. Reflected images in sunglasses, for example. Is that you in the Postman Pat swimming trunks?

Short-cut download times

Xbox One now supports digital pre-loading, allowing you to beam down the files to a game you’ve pre-ordered off the Xbox Store, so as to start playing straight away at launch.This is important, because modern games are humongous in terms of memory size, though most can be played well before they’re done installing. If you’re buying physical, try disconnecting the console before starting installation - this avoids delays associated with day-one updates, which you may prefer to download later.

Nab a Game with Gold

An Xbox Gold subscription nets you a free batch of games twice a month on Xbox One, in addition to the backwards compatible Xbox 360 titles that are unlocked with the programme. The quality of the offerings does tend to fluctuate, though; for every freshly baked festival of fun, like Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition, there's been a stodgy warm-over like World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap. Still, the bar can only go up as Xbox One's portfolio matures. Here are the games available with Xbox Live Gold this month.

Get Xbox Live Rewards

This isn't quite the instant cash volcano it appears, but persistence nets prizes for those who wait. Xbox Live Reward scheme members earn credits for doing stuff they'd probably be doing anyway, such as playing certain games, using Xbox Live features or watching TV. Every time you earn 5000 credits, they'll be converted into your local currency, so you can purchase even more digital goodies in the Xbox Live Store. Reward members also get access to exclusive perks, such as limited edition giveaways. 

Play a Flash game in your browser

Struggling to think of a way to make use of Snap mode? How's this: snap the Xbox One's Internet Explorer app, then look up PlayBoxie online. It hosts a few dozen HTML 5 games, including Flappy Bird, Snake, Bejewelled, Breakout and Pong. None of them will tear you away from Final Fantasy XV, we suspect, but they might make for a nice break from the latter’s epic tale of fantasy and politics. 

Follow people

You don't have to be friends with other users to stay up-to-date with their digital lives. Simply add them and, even if they don't add you back, you'll see a little of what they're up to in your Activity feed. They might even pop up as a potential rival in Forza Horizon 3. This is also handy when it comes to stalking Xbox Live celebrities, like Head of Xbox Phil Spencer. How to boost your own follower count? Make a habit of creating and sharing amusing videos, for starters.

Buy some flash kit

Turtle Beach Ear Force XO Four - For the avid first-person shooter player, decent cans are a must. What, you'd rather die constantly because you can't precision-judge the distance to an approaching target without turning your head or, heaven help us, looking at the mini-map? The XO Four is a great, and reasonably priced, starting option.

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller - Microsoft’s premium controller offers a bespoke product for the most committed Xbox One players, especially those who want to rise through the ranks of competitive Overwatch or the Call of Duty World League. Sporting hypersensitive hair triggers, back buttons, diamond grips, and the ability to completely customize your combinations, the Elite Controller is a must have for the gaming enthusiast. 

Xbox One Kinect TV Mount - Rather than balancing that expensive, brainy sensor atop your wafer-thin HDTV, you might consider placing it on this no-frills TV mount, which clips securely to the edge of the screen. The sensor is screwed into place, so you don't need to worry about back-fisting it while sweeping your hands across the dashboard like a rubbish street magician.

1TB HGST Touro S 7200rpm Portable External Hard Drive - Even if you plump for the one terabyte model, you'll find yourself straining the limits of the Xbox One's storage before long, as games like the Master Chief Collection account for well over 50GB. Plugging in an external drive may also lead to faster loading for any games you store on it, as the USB 3.0 sockets are nippier than the consoles internal connections.

Dual Charging Station - Don’t fall into the danger of experiencing a Game Over screen because your controller ran out of battery during the most critical moment in a Dark Souls boss fight. Thanks to this svelte duchess of a charging dock, both pads should be fully topped up whenever they're needed. 

Microsoft's free companion app remains a bit of a wobbly appendage as regards videogames, but you may be surprised by how much it helps with navigation. Care of the application, which you can download onto any Windows, IOS or Android device, you can power up your Xbox One, switch dashboard tabs, turn your phone into a TV remote, browse cast lists for whatever TV show you're watching, and type in text using a touchscreen keyboard.

Edit gameplay clips

The Xbox One features a complimentary set of tools for saving, editing and uploading your gameplay clips to the web. Just pick a gameplay clip in Upload Studio, then Trim to set a beginning and endpoint. If you want the video to stand alone, you can pick a skin for extra flair. Hit Finish to render the file, and don’t forget to name and tag it. 

Then you can either upload the video to Youtube or save it to OneDrive, providing you’ve activated these services on your Xbox One. It’s a little more UI-heavy than the PlayStation 4’s Share Gallery, but the payoff is more extensive options for customizing your gameplay highlights.

Perform a hard reset to clear up problems

Whether you're dealing with game crashes or network connection issues, hard resetting the Xbox One to clear its cache may help. Don't worry, this doesn't delete installed games, apps or any saved data. To perform a hard reset, press the console's power light for 10 seconds (till the second beep), then wait 10 seconds and switch it back on.

Alex Avard

I'm GamesRadar's Features Writer, which makes me responsible for gracing the internet with as many of my words as possible, including reviews, previews, interviews, and more. Lucky internet!