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Xbox Series X standby mode and energy saver explained

Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Future)

The Xbox Series X standby mode is really useful for getting your console booted up almost instantly and letting it do things in the background while it's not fully powered on. However, if you want to save power, consider using the energy-saving mode instead. The two Xbox Series X startup modes are designed to give you greater control over your console's startup procedure, what it can do while you're not gaming, 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. Here's what you need to know about how the Xbox Series X standby mode and energy-saving mode work.

Xbox Series X energy saver standby mode explained

Xbox Series X

(Image credit: Future)
  • Lowest energy consumption so environmentally friendlier and saves money on energy bills
  • Can install game and system updates while the console is off, sometimes
  • Slower console start-up time
  • Can't use remote features via the Xbox mobile app

You've just spent a lot of money on a brand new console, games, and accessories, so the last thing you want to do is feel the weight of that decision on your electricity bill. The Energy saver sleep mode is the default setting on the Xbox Series X, but if you've switched to Standby and want to switch back, you'll need to open the settings menu. Pressing the Xbox button on your Xbox controller to open the guide, navigate to the 'Profile and System' tab, and select the 'Settings' option from the list. From there, look for 'Sleep mode & startup' under 'General'. You'll find that you can choose from Standby or Energy saver under the 'Sleep mode' option.

Xbox Series X Energy saver mode will mean that your console powers down fully when you turn the console off. It offers the lowest power consumption - apparently 20 times less than when on the instant Standby mode, provided the console is turned off and not updating - and is environmentally friendlier, which is definitely something to consider in this day and age. You obviously won't get the rapid start-up like the other mode, but you'll only have to wait around 20 seconds for the console to boot up from cold every time, and any games you left in a suspended state through Xbox Quick Resume will still be there. 

System and game updates can now also happen while the console is in its energy-saving state - previously, this was a big draw for using the Instant-on standby mode. While this is a great in theory, it seems to be bit unreliable in practice. Game updates will sometimes stop downloading after switching the console off, leaving you with a half-downloaded update when you turn your console back on.

Xbox Series X instant-on standby mode explained

Xbox Series X UI

(Image credit: Future / Xbox)
  • Rapid console start-up time
  • Can install game and system updates while the console is off
  • Can use remote features via the Xbox mobile app
  • Higher power consumption while the console is off, so costs you more on energy bills

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.

Xbox Series X Standby 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, standby mode and Quick Resume, the Xbox Series X is too fast. 

With standby selected, you'll find that your games and applications will continue installing and automatically update, even when you turn the console off - although you can turn this function off under the 'Updates' section of the 'System' category in the console settings. 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 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, should you need or want to – remember kids, it's always good to clear your cache once in a while. 

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Josh West
UK Managing Editor, GamesRadar+

Josh West is the UK Managing Editor of GamesRadar+. He has over 10 years experience in online and print journalism, and holds a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Feature Writing. Prior to starting his current position, Josh has served as GR+'s Features Editor and Deputy Editor of games™ magazine, and has freelanced for numerous publications including 3D Artist, Edge magazine, iCreate, Metal Hammer, Play, Retro Gamer, and SFX. Additionally, he has appeared on the BBC and ITV to provide expert comment, written for Scholastic books, edited a book for Hachette, and worked as the Assistant Producer of the Future Games Show. In his spare time, Josh likes to play bass guitar and video games. Years ago, he was in a few movies and TV shows that you've definitely seen but will never be able to spot him in.

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