Microsoft’s Xbox SmartGlass app allows you to launch games, browse TV listings, and control apps on your Xbox One. You can even use it to stream live TV from your Xbox One to your phone. It’s available for Android phones, iPhones, Windows 10 and 8, and even Windows phones.
SmartGlass unfortunately doesn’t support game streaming, as the Xbox app for Windows 10 does, but it can still do a whole lot.
Step One: Get the App
While the app was originally intended for phones, it can also be used on iPads, Android tablets, and even Windows 10 PCs. It will probably be most useful on a smaller Windows 10 tablet you might have on a couch than a Windows 10 desktop PC, however.
We’re covering the Xbox One SmartGlass app here, but Microsoft also offers Xbox 360 SmartGlass apps if you’re using an Xbox 360 instead. Download the Xbox 360 SmartGlass app from Apple’s App Store, Google Play, Windows Phone Store, or the Windows Store to use a similar app with the Xbox 360.
Step Two: Connect to Your Xbox One
Sign in to SmartGlass with the same Microsoft account you signed into your Xbox with. After you sign in, the app should automatically discover your Xbox One, assuming your device and Xbox One are on the same network. Tap your Xbox One and tap “Connect” to connect to the console. Leave the “Connect Automatically” checkbox enabled and the app will automatically connect to your Xbox One in the future.
If the app doesn’t find your Xbox One, tap “Enter IP Address” to connect by entering your Xbox One’s IP address. You can find the Xbox One’s IP address at All Settings > Network > Network Settings > Advanced Settings on the Xbox One itself.
Step Three: Use Your Smartphone as a Remote
Once you’ve connected, you can use the app to navigate your Xbox One’s interface. For example, you can tap a game or app in the SmartGlass interface and tap “Play on Xbox One” to launch that game or app on your console.
If you’ve set up TV on your Xbox One, you can open the menu and tap “OneGuide” to view the TV listings. Tap a program and tap “Play” to start watching it on your TV.
While watching TV or using another media app, you’ll get a remote interface with various playback buttons you can tap on your phone to control playback on your console.
The features provided here are different based on which app you’re using. If you’re using a game or app that makes use of your Xbox SmartGlass app’s second screen features, you’ll see more information or controls that make sense for that app. For example, in a game, you may see an in-game map. However, most games don’t implement this feature. Games that do implement this feature use it for something minor, not something essential to game play.
For example, if you launch the Edge browser, you’ll see a bar with “Microsoft Edge” at the bottom of the screen. You can then tap the remote icon at the bottom-right corner of the screen and you’ll get an interface that provides buttons for swiping and tapping to control the app, as well as an on-smartphone keyboard when you select a text field.
If you want an even better keyboard, you can connect a physical keyboard to your Xbox One’s USB port and use it to navigate the interface.
If you’ve set up over-the-air TV with an antenna, you can now stream TV from your Xbox One directly to your smartphone. To do so, tap the “TV” tile in the SmartGlass app and tap “Watch TV”.
Unfortunately, this feature doesn’t work with cable or satellite TV connected to your Xbox One through its HDMI pass-through cable. You need an antenna and over-the-air television to do this.
Use Other Xbox Live Features, Even Over the Internet
The main screen provides your Xbox Live activity feed, so you can scroll through recent posts and comment or leave reactions. Open the menu and you’ll find a variety of other features that you can also access over the Internet, even if your Xbox One isn’t powered on.
You can view your friends list and send messages, read messages, scroll through your achievements, access screenshots and videos you’ve recorded on your Xbox One, and browse the Xbox Store to purchase media.
Your Xbox One will automatically wake up and download games and other media you purchase on the store, assuming it’s in the default “Instant On” mode. Games should be ready to play when you get back to your console.
Microsoft’s Xbox SmartGlass app was more of a differentiator when it launched for the Xbox 360, but Sony has largely matched it with the PlayStation app. SmartGlass still offers a slicker interface and provides a few more features, but it’s not a completely essential companion for the Xbox One. Even games that offer second-screen features don’t require them for gameplay–they’re just a bonus.