Xbox One games can be massive in size, and take hours to download. Rather than waiting for games to download when you’re ready to play them, you can remotely start game downloads on your Xbox One from a smartphone or web browser. They’ll automatically download to your Xbox and be ready when you get home, so you can play them instantly.
This only works with digital games. If you have a physical game, you have to insert it into your Xbox One’s disc drive before the console will begin installing it and downloading any necessary updates.
How to Configure Your Xbox One for Remote Game Downloads
This will only work if your Xbox One is suspended and set to automatically downloaded game updates and stay in Instant-on mode. These are the default settings, so everything should just work. However, if you’ve modified these settings in the past, you may need to re-enable them.
If you’re away from your Xbox One at the moment, feel free to skip this section and just try using the app or website to download a game. It will work if you haven’t modified these default settings in the past.
First, head to Settings > All Settings > System > Updates. Ensure the “Keep my games & apps up to date” setting is enabled here. If it isn’t, your Xbox One won’t download new games or updates automatically.
Second, head to Settings > All Settings > Power & startup > Power mode & startup. Ensure your Xbox One is set to “Instant-on” power mode. This means the Xbox One will go into a sort of sleep mode where some functions remain active, including background downloads of games and updates. Don’t set it to “Energy-saving” mode or it will shut down completely, and you won’t be able to use the remote game download feature.
You should also ensure that you’ve signed into the Xbox One with the Microsoft account you plan on using on your phone. You can check this from Settings > All Settings > Sign-in, security & passkey.
How to Start Downloading Games Using Your Phone
You can download updates from your phone using the Xbox app, available from Google Play for Android, Apple’s App Store for iPhone, or even the Windows Store for Windows Phone. This app was previously named “Xbox Smartglass”, but is now just named “Xbox”.
Download the app and sign in with the same Microsoft account you sign into your Xbox One with. Tap the menu button in the upper left corner and tap “Store” to view the Xbox Store.
Search for the game you want to install on your Xbox One in the Store. You can either find a free game and tap “Get it free” or purchase a game from here and immediately begin installing it on your Xbox One.
Once you’ve purchased the game (or tapped the “Get it free” button), you’ll see an “Install on Xbox One” button on its Store page. Tap that button and the app will queue it for download on your Xbox One.
If you’ve previously purchased a game or downloaded it for free and want to redownload it, just search for the game on the Store and view its page. You’ll immediately see the “Install on Xbox One” button, which you can tap to begin the download.
If the Xbox One is in Instant-on mode and is automatically downloading updates, it will soon begin downloading the game automatically. You can view the download progress on the console itself under Games & apps > Queue when you get back to your Xbox One.
How to Start Downloading Games Using Any Web Browser
You can do the same thing from the Xbox Store website, too. It works just like the Xbox app for smartphones. You just need to sign in with the same Microsoft account you use on your Xbox One.
Head to Microsoft’s Xbox Store website and sign in with your Microsoft account. Search for an Xbox One game and either purchase it or get it for free, depending on the price.
Once you have, you’ll see an “Install on Xbox One” button on the game’s web page. Click the button to queue it for download on your Xbox One. If you’re previously purchased a paid game or downloaded a free game, you’ll immediately see this button when you view the game’s web page.
If The Download Doesn’t Start
If your Xbox One doesn’t immediately begin downloading the game, it’s probably either set to not download updates automatically, or is in Energy-saving mode instead of Instant-on mode. It’s also possible that the Xbox One is disconnected from the Internet. The game should still begin downloading when you power on your Xbox One and connect it to the Internet.
To ensure this works in the future, enable automatic game updates, select Instant-on mode, and ensure you’re signed in with the Microsoft account you use on the Xbox app or on the Xbox website.