Xbox Insiders update makes older controllers (and TV remotes) useful to Series X/S owners
Microsoft revealed it’s rolling out a new firmware update for Xbox controllers, as well as other updates exclusively for Alpha members of the Xbox Insiders program. This firmware update will add several new features to older Xbox consoles, including the ability to switch quickly between two supported devices, and reduced latency. Alpha members can also look forward to an HDMI-CEC update that lets them control their Dashboards with a remote control.
The most important update announced today, at least for those who use their Xbox controllers with more than one device, is that Microsoft is making it easier to switch between devices. Most Xbox controllers have Bluetooth support, which they use to connect to non-Xbox devices — they pair with Xboxes via the Xbox Wireless protocol. Newer Xbox controllers have the ability to “remember” one Bluetooth connection and one Xbox Wireless connection, and users can switch between the connections with a double-tap of the pair button.
This will mean that, if you are playing an Xbox Game Pass game on your Xbox and wish to continue on your Android phone (assuming, of course, that the game is available to play via Cloud Streaming), then you can now do that with an Xbox One or Xbox Adaptive controller, provided you’re an Xbox Insiders member.
In addition to making it easier to switch connections, Xbox is also giving older controllers Dynamic Latency Input, which “delivers controller inputs more efficiently to your Xbox Series X|S console for a more responsive gaming experience and seemingly instantaneous action.” This means an Xbox One controller should be able to function with an Xbox Series X/S almost as well as the console’s native controller.
The new firmware update is currently only available to Alpha Skip-Ahead and Alpha Insider rings via build 2110.210906-2200.
Another update that users might find interesting is the ability to use their TV remotes to control the Xbox Dashboard, which is also rolling out to those users. With this update, users will be able to control apps like Netflix with a remote instead of their controllers, improving the Xbox’s utility as a media center. Users can also switch their TV’s input using the controller — by tapping the Xbox button, they can switch quickly back to their console.