How to Set up Your Xbox Series X or S Console

Get into the game without any headaches

What to Know

  • Launch the Xbox app, tap the Console icon > GET STARTED > Set up a new console, and follow the prompts.
  • Not using the app? Press the Guide button on your controller to turn it on, then the Menu button, and follow the on-screen prompts.

This article explains how to set up an Xbox Series X or S using the Xbox mobile app or the console itself. We also include tips for getting the most out of your new gaming console.

How to Set up a Xbox Series X or S Using the App

When setting up an Xbox Series X or S, expect to download some system updates, and make sure you have either the Xbox app on your phone or keep your login information handy if you already have an Xbox account.

Own an Xbox One? You can import hundreds of preferences and settings from your old console to your Xbox Series X or S to customize your experience from day one. Just use the Xbox app when setting up your new console.

  1. Connect the included power cord to your console, and then plug it into a power outlet.

  2. Connect the HDMI cable that came with your Xbox Series X or S to the console.

  3. Connect the other end of the HDMI cable to an HDMI port on your TV.

    Use an HDMI 2.1 port if you plan on playing in 4K HDR on an Xbox Series X.

  4. Connect an Ethernet cable to your modem or router and your Xbox.

     Skip this step if you will use Wi-Fi.

  5. Press the Power button on the front of the Xbox Series X or S to turn the console on.

  6. Download and install the Xbox app on your phone if you haven’t done so already.

    If you navigate to xbox.com/getapp using your iOS or Android device, you’ll be redirected to the listing in the app store or play store.

  7. Launch the Xbox app, and tap the Console icon in the upper right corner.

  8. Tap GET STARTED.

  9. Tap Set up a new console.

    Screenshots of setting up a new console in the Xbox app.
  10. Look for a code to appear on your television.

    The setup code for the Xbox app.
  11. Enter the code into the Xbox app, and tap CONNECT TO CONSOLE.

  12. Wait for the Xbox app to connect to your console.

  13. If prompted, allow the Xbox app to access your device's location, and grant any other permissions that it requests.

  14. When the app says that it has connected to your console, tap NEXT.

    Screenshots of setting up a new console in the Xbox App.
  15. Continue following the prompts on your phone. You will be provided with the option to import your settings if there is an Xbox One associated with your Gamertag.

  16. When you see a diagram of your controller on your television, press and hold the Guide button on your Xbox controller to turn it on.

    A screenshot of setting up an Xbox Series S.

    If the controller doesn't automatically connect to the console, press and hold the sync buttons on both the controller and the console.

  17. When prompted, press the A button on your controller.

    A screenshot of setting up an Xbox Series S.
  18. Select UPDATE CONTROLLER.

    A screenshot of updating the Xbox Series X/S controller.
  19. Wait for the update to finish, and select NEXT.

    A screenshot of an updated Xbox Series X/S controller.
  20. Select TAKE ME HOME to complete the setup of your Xbox Series X or S.

    A screenshot of setting up an Xbox Series X/S.

How to Set up Your Xbox Series X or S Without a Phone

If you don’t want to, or can’t, use the Xbox phone app, you can still set up your Xbox Series X or S, it’s just a little more time consuming. You will also need to manually log into the Microsoft account that's associated with your Xbox account and manually log into your Wi-Fi network if you aren't using ethernet, so make sure to have your passwords handy.

Here's how to set up an Xbox Series X or S without a phone:

  1. Connect the included power cable to the console, and then plug it into an outlet.

  2. Plug the included HDMI cable into a port on your television.

  3. Plug the other end of the HDMI cable into your Xbox.

  4. Connect an ethernet cable if you're using a wired connection.

  5. Press the power button on the front of your Xbox to turn it on.

  6. Press the Guide button on your controller to turn it on.

    If your controller doesn't connect, press the sync buttons on both the controller and the console to connect them.

  7. Press the Menu button (three horizontal lines) on the controller to skip phone setup.

  8. Follow the on-screen prompts to set up your console manually without the phone app.

Tips for a Successful Xbox Series X or S Setup

If you followed the previous instructions, your Xbox Series X or S is probably set up and ready to go. However, there are a lot of issues that can crop up, and things you can do to either make the setup process go more smoothly, or improve your gaming experience down the road.

To improve your setup and gaming experience with your Xbox Series X or S, consider following these tips where they are applicable:

  • Perform the initial setup ahead of time if giving the Xbox Series X or S as a gift. If you’re giving the console to a child or teen as a birthday or holiday gift, consider doing the initial setup ahead of time. Nobody wants to sit around performing system updates when they could just jump right into a game.
  • Choose your location wisely. You need to have your Xbox close to the television, but consider carefully the exact position. Avoid enclosed spaces, where your console may overheat, and where it won’t be able to receive a strong Wi-Fi signal. Place it in an area with good ventilation, and where there aren’t many obstructions between it and the router.
  • Use the right television for your console. The Xbox Series S can only output 1440p, while the Xbox Series X is capable of full UHD 4K. Pairing the Series S with a high end 4K television will have limited benefits, while using an old 1080p television with a Series X will waste its potential.
  • Your old peripherals probably work. Own an Xbox One? Your old Xbox One controllers are also compatible with your Xbox Series X or S, so don’t get rid of them. Other peripherals aren’t guaranteed to work, but many do.
  • Your old games work. The Xbox Series X and S both play Xbox One games, although you can’t play your physical discs on a Series S. Many of them have also been enhanced to look and play better. The Xbox Series X can also play a lot of your Xbox 360 and original Xbox games. 
  • Think ahead about storage. The Xbox Series X has 1TB of storage, and the Series S has 500TB. The only official way to expand that is the 1TB expansion drive from Seagate. This expansion drive is expensive, but it’s also just as fast as the built-in drive. If you can stomach longer load times, consider buying a regular USB drive.
  • Use a slower USB drive for media content. If you do end up connecting a regular USB drive, prioritize the Xbox Series X or S drive for your game content. If you download movies, apps, and other non-game content, that can go on the slower USB drive without as much of a noticeable impact. If a USB drive is too slow, you won't be able to play games directly from that drive at all.