You can play the Switch remotely on your phone. You can play the Playstation 4 and 5 remotely on your phone. But what about the Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S? 

Until recently Xbox players were denied this luxury. But now playing Xbox games on your mobile from any location is possible. In fact, there are now two different ways to play Xbox games remotely on your phone – via the Xbox app and via Microsoft xCloud.

This could enable you to play all your favourite Xbox games on the go. No need to bring your console with you. You can now play games on your phone at your grandma’s house, on your lunch break at work and maybe even in the car (although preferably not while driving).

This guide explains how to play Xbox games on your phone using the two options – the Xbox app and Microsoft xCloud. Both have their pros and cons in terms of what games you can access and what devices you can use to play them with. You can weigh up the two options below. 

Playing Xbox games on your phone via the Xbox app

The Xbox app allows you to connect your phone to your console from any location. This allows you to remotely play all games downloaded onto your Xbox. You can also manage console space and even delete games on your Xbox using the app. You can also download and share gameplay clips and screenshots.

To start playing you will need…

  • An Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S
  • A smartphone (iOS or Android)
  • The Xbox app
  • A bluetooth controller
  • A good internet connection

You’ll need at least iOS 13 or Android 6.0 to download and play on the app. An internet connection of over 7 Mbps is necessary (ideally 10 Mbps). You unfortunately cannot play games from the Xbox 360 or original Xbox via the app.

To set up your Xbox for mobile remote play, turn on your console. Press the Xbox button on your controller. Then select Profile and System > Settings > Devices and Connections > Remote Features. From here, scroll down to Power Mode and select Instant On.

Your Xbox is now set up for remote play. Now to set up your mobile and controller. Go into your phone’s bluetooth settings (this will vary from iOS to Android) and start by pairing the controller. After this, download and open the Xbox app and then sign in using your Microsoft account. Once you’re signed in, tap select My Library > Consoles. You should be able to see your console listed in the options. Tap Remote Play On This Device. You’re now ready to play Xbox remotely on your mobile.

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Playing Xbox games on your phone via Microsoft xCloud

Microsoft xCloud allows you to play games off the cloud rather than connecting you to your console. In fact, you don’t even need to own an Xbox console to play games on Microsoft xCloud. You will however need a Game Pass Ultimate subscription. 

Currently, Microsoft xCloud is in its beta phase, so expect a few bugs compared to playing via the Xbox app. A big drawback to Microsoft xCloud is that it is only available to Android phone users – if you’re an iOS user you won’t be able to play games on Microsoft xCloud (due to Microsoft and Apple’s rivalry, this doesn’t seem like it will be an option any time soon).

To play games via Microsoft xCloud, the ingredients you will need include…

  • An Android smartphone 
  • A Game Pass Ultimate subscription
  • The Game Pass app
  • A bluetooth controller
  • A good internet connection

Android users must be using 6.0 or above. An internet connection of 10 Mbps is recommended when playing via the cloud.

Start by subscribing to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (this currently costs $14.99 per month – which may seem a little steep for some people, but includes Xbox Live, EA Play and xCloud). You can subscribe to this online on your phone. Then download the Game Pass app onto your phone.

Go into the bluetooth settings of your phone and connect your controller. As this will be on an Android device, the steps should look a bit like this settings > connected devices > pair a new device. Press and hold the controller’s Pair button and then tap Pair on your phone. Your controller should be connected.

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Next, open the Game Pass app. You’ll have to sign into your Xbox Game Pass Ultimate account after which you can then explore the app. Hit the Cloud tab in order to access xCloud. Here you will find an array of games to choose from, which you can start playing remotely.

Right now xCloud’s selection of games is limited, but this is certain to change in the next few coming months. There are still plenty of titles to choose from at the moment – however, your more obscure games won’t be on there. A bonus over the Xbox app is the ability to access original Xbox and Xbox 360 titles such as Halo, Gears of War and Forza, as well as various online games such as Elder Scrolls Online, Fallout 76, Doom Eternal and the Wasteland series. This is certain to appeal to older Xbox gamers and those drawn to online exclusives. 

Which is the best option for me?

If you’ve already got an Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S and you’re not interested in playing retro Xbox games or online PC games, the Xbox app is probably the best option for you. It’s also the most simple option to set up – plus it’s the only option if you’ve got an iPhone.

For those that want to play Xbox classics and PC games as well as current Xbox games, the cloud may be worth trying. If you haven’t got an Xbox, it could be cheaper than buying a console – while the Game Pass Ultimate will cost you $14.99 per month, it will take you years before you make up the cost of a Xbox Series X/S. Just remember that you need an Android device in order to pursue this option. 

Is my internet connection strong enough?

To unlock the full potential of playing Xbox games remotely on your phone – whether you’re playing on Xbox app or via Microsoft xCloud –  you may want to consider your internet connection. You don’t want games to be constantly lagging and cutting out. A strong connection is therefore essential. 

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Private wifi is likely to be the most secure option – if you go round someone else’s house, you shouldn’t have any problem playing online, providing they have decent broadband. Public wi-fi may be a little bit more temperamental depending on where you play. In hotels where lots of guests are sharing wi-fi, you may find it a struggle to stay connected. 

If you want to use your data, make sure that you’ve got a good mobile coverage plan. A 5g connection may be necessary – particularly when using xCloud. Playing Xbox games on your phone is also likely to use up a lot of data, so consider a high or unlimited data plan. You can compare various networks here at https://halfcooked.co.uk/. Better data and coverage will come at a higher price, so be wary of this. 

When logging onto public wi-fi, consider using a VPN to keep your network secure. There are a range of VPNs out there to choose from – it’s worth doing your research to find one that is trusted and affordable. You can read about the benefits of VPNs here

Does the type of controller I use matter?

Many Xbox games cannot be played by touchscreen (and those that can be played on a touchscreen will generally not be as easy to play as they are on a controller). For this reason, a bluetooth controller is recommended when playing Xbox games on your phone. But will any controller do?

While there are a few different Xbox controller options to choose from as listed here at https://www.gamesradar.com, your best option is the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2. It offers the most comfort and offers a pretty reliable bluetooth connection. That said, you can use any bluetooth Xbox controller that you want. You don’t even have to use an Xbox controller – there are many generic controllers that will still work with both apps (those familiar with the Xbox console however will probably want to stick with an Xbox controller).