One of the best features of the Xbox app is the ability to remotely install games on your Series X or Series S even when the console is turned off. In fact, Xbox gamers can do this from two of Microsoft’s apps: the default Xbox app and the Xbox Game Pass app.
Prepare your Xbox Series X / S
There is one setting on your Xbox Series X or S that you must enable to do anything remotely with the console. Appropriately, this setting is called “Enable external functions”
To enable this, go to your Xbox settings app and find the “Devices and Connections” menu. From there go to the submenu “External functions”. You must enter your six-digit passkey if you have enabled the security feature.
In this menu you see a description of the external functions, including the possibility to install new games, among other things. Press “X” on your controller with this option highlighted to enable it. A check mark will appear in the box when it is enabled.
In this menu go to the option on the side that says ‘Power Mode’ and switch it to ‘Instant-On’. If this option is not enabled, external functions will not work. This feature allows your Xbox Series X or S to essentially function even if you’re not around to turn it on.
Download games remotely from the Xbox app
You now need to enable remote play on your Xbox Series X or S and then configure the Xbox app with your Android smartphone or iPhone.
RELATED: Streaming Xbox Series X | S to iPhone or Android
In the app, go to your library from the bottom row of icons. (It looks like three books are leaning against each other.) Then navigate to the “Games” tab.
You should have listed all of your digitally purchased Xbox games here. If you have an Xbox Game Pass, all the games you can access through that subscription are also listed here. Find the game you want to install and tap it.
This will take you to the list of the game, where you should find a “Download” button.
Note: Some games may not have a “Download” button. Several Xbox 360 games, even those available with Xbox Game Pass, don’t have one in the Xbox app. See the Xbox Game Pass app below for this.
Tap the “Download to Console” button in your game of choice, and the app will remind you that if you don’t have an Xbox Game Pass, you may be charged for the game. Tap the “Download” option in this pop-up message.
You don’t get much confirmation that the game is downloading, but when you turn on your Xbox console, you should find the game already installed or in the queue, depending on how long it takes.
Note: The Xbox app lets you install games, but you still have to ask to pay for them. You know when you try to play the game.
Download games remotely from the Xbox Game Pass app
The Game Pass app gives you access to all the games available with that subscription, including Xbox One and 360 games. As mentioned above, this app is a better option if you want to install Xbox 360 games.
RELATED: What is Xbox Game Pass and is it worth it?
Open the app on your iPhone or Android device. All available games are displayed on the home screen. Search and find the game you want to install remotely.
Tap the “Install to” button and a menu will appear asking which console you want to install the game on. Select your Series X or S and tap “Install to This Console.”
A new bar will appear with the text “Waiting for Console” below the “Install to” button. You can also find a list of Game Pass downloads by tapping the library icon (three books leaning against each other) on the app’s home screen. It will show you a list of games waiting to be installed on the console.
Note: It may take a while for the games to appear in your queue. If you want to download a game faster, try the Xbox app above. But eventually it should show up there. When it starts to install, you will receive a notification from the app. You will receive a second notification when the game has finished installing and is ready to play.