Yes, you can play games remotely on your Xbox Series X or S console using a smartphone. Streaming works over a local network or the internet, and it’s the perfect option when someone else wants to use the TV. Here’s how to set it up.
Set Up Remote Play on Your Xbox Series X or S
To play games remotely, you first have to enable remote features on your console. To do this, you have to use the Xbox’s power-sipping “Instant-On” feature, which drastically speeds up the console’s start times.
To get started, turn on your Xbox and hit the Xbox button to open the guide. Select the “Profile & System” tab, and then select “Settings.” Navigate to Devices & Connections > Remote Features, and make sure the “Enable Remote Features” checkbox is selected.
Under “Power Mode,” enable “Instant-On” if you haven’t already done so. Next, select “Test Remote Play” and wait for the Xbox to perform some self-checks to determine how well game streaming will work over the connection.
After this is complete, you should see some information about how suitable your internet connection is for streaming outside your home. It will also indicate whether your Xbox controller is up-to-date and if the power settings are suitable for remote play.
To finalize, select “Enable Remote Play.” You should then see a message confirming everything is ready to go. If you ever want to disable Remote Play, just return to this menu and uncheck the “Enable Remote Features” option.
If you switch the power mode back to “Energy-Saving,” it will also disable the Remote Play features.
Configure the Xbox App and Pair Your Controller
If you haven’t already done so, grab the Xbox app for iPhone, iPad, or Android. Log in with the same Xbox credentials you use on your console, and then tap the “Library” tab. At the top of the screen, tap “Consoles.”
If your console is already listed, you’re ready to go. If you haven’t yet set up the app, tap “Set Up a Console.” From here, you can either set up a new console or add an existing one. Just follow the instructions to link your console to your smartphone by typing the code displayed on-screen.
Note: The Xbox Wireless Controller that comes with the Series X and S isn’t currently supported by Apple devices. Microsoft has promised support will arrive in the future via a firmware update. Until then, you can use other supported controllers, like an Xbox One controller or Sony DualShock 4.
Now, you’ll need to pair your controller to your smartphone under your Bluetooth settings. The process will vary depending on your device, but generally, you just put your controller in discovery mode, and then tap it when it appears under the list of available Bluetooth devices.
For testing purposes, we connected a DualShock 4 to an iPhone X, which worked immediately. We were flying around the Xbox dashboard with a PlayStation controller in no time.
Launch Games via the Xbox App
Launch the Xbox app and tap the console icon at the top right. In the panel that appears, tap “Remote Play on This Device,” and then wait for your smartphone to connect to your console.
When you see the dashboard, you’re good to go. You can now use your Xbox as if you were sitting right in front of it, with your smartphone acting as a remote display.
How well this all works will depend entirely on the connection you’re using. In our tests, sitting in the same room as the Xbox and wireless router provided a near-perfect streaming experience, with very little lag or visible video compression.
If you have any performance issues, try switching to a faster 5GHz wireless network, if available. Using a wired Ethernet connection to your Xbox will also help.
Can You Stream to Windows 10 or Mac?
As of the console’s release in late 2020, Microsoft hasn’t yet announced support for Series X or S game streaming on Windows PCs or Macs. The old Xbox Console Companion app for Windows 10 only works with Xbox One era consoles at present.
However, one eagle-eyed person shared this work-around on Twitter. In theory, anyone with a new Apple Silicon Mac should be able to download and run the Xbox iPhone app on the Mac desktop and get the same functionality. We haven’t tested either of these methods, however, so your mileage may vary.
Remote play over a local connection is neat, but Microsoft also has Project xCloud, which allows you to stream entire games with nothing but an internet connection and a Game Pass subscription. That option also streams games from Microsoft’s servers, rather than your Xbox console.