Why Does My Xbox One Turn On By Itself?

Fix so your Xbox One won't scare you anymore

An Xbox One that has turned itself on at night.

Pixabay 

Your Xbox One isn't haunted, but it can turn itself on when you don't necessarily want it to.

If you want your Xbox One to stop turning itself on, so you can enjoy some peace and quiet without the console roaring to life at the worst possible time, you have to check out each of these possibilities until you find the cause.

Ways That an Xbox One Can Turn Itself On

  • Touchy capacitive power button: The original Xbox One has a capacitive power button instead of a physical power button, which means it's easier to accidentally turn the console on.
  • Xbox controller problems: Since you can turn your Xbox One on with the controller, it may seem to turn on by itself if the controller is malfunctioning.
  • HDMI controls: HDMI Consumer Electronic Controls (HDMI-CEC) allows televisions to control HDMI devices, which could turn your Xbox One on whenever you turn your TV on.
  • Cortana problems: Cortana may misunderstand something someone says and turn the Xbox One on.
  • Instant-on mode: With the instant-on mode active, your Xbox One never fully shuts down.
  • Automatic updates: The console may turn itself on to download and install an update.

Touchy Xbox One Power Buttons

The original Xbox One has a capacitive power button instead of a physical button. Instead of pushing the button to turn the Xbox One on and off, it senses your finger using the same basic technology as your touchscreen cellphone, tablet, or laptop.

The front of an Xbox One showing the capacitive power button.
Pixabay

Capacitive power buttons are neat, but dust, dirt, food particles, and other materials can cause them to malfunction. It's also extremely easy for a small child to accidentally turn an original Xbox One on, or off, by brushing their hand against the front of the console. Pets can also turn an original Xbox One on, or off, by brushing their nose against the power button.

If you have an original Xbox One, make sure that it's in an entertainment center cabinet, or on a shelf, where pets and children aren't able to reach it. If it is, or you don't have any pets or kids in your house, try wiping the front of your console with a microfiber cloth.

Only the original Xbox One uses a capacitive power button. If you have an Xbox One S or Xbox One X, it has a physical power button. But it's still a good idea to place your console in a location where pets and children can't reach it.

Xbox One Controller Turning Console On Accidentally

One of the more convenient features of modern consoles like the Xbox One is that you can turn the console off with the controllers, and the controllers are wireless. This is a lot like turning your TV on with the remote, but it does mean that one of your controllers could end up turning your console on when you don't want it to.

A photo of the Xbox One controller.
Pixabay

The power button on an Xbox One controller is the same button you use to open the guide when the console is on. In most cases of a controller inadvertently turning an Xbox One on, it's because someone, or something, has pushed or bumped the power button on the controller.

In less common circumstances, you may find that a malfunctioning controller causes your Xbox One to turn itself on with no outside input.

If you keep your controller safely tucked away where the power button can't be pressed accidentally, try removing the batteries. If your console still turns on by itself with the batteries removed, then you don't have a malfunctioning controller.

HDMI Consumer Electronic Control and Xbox One

HDMI-CEC is a feature that allows televisions to control HDMI devices like Blu-ray players and game consoles, and vice versa. If your television has this feature, your Xbox One may turn on when you don't want it to. This feature also allows devices like your Xbox One to tell the television to switch to the correct input when they turn on.

If you want to prevent your TV from turning your Xbox on, you need to disable the HDMI-CEC option in your TV's settings. The exact process differs from one television to the next, so you will have to consult the owner's manual or contact the manufacturer if you can't find the HDMI-CEC option.

Xbox One Cortana Power Problems

Cortana is Microsoft's virtual assistant that works a lot like Siri and Google Assistant, but you can use it on your Xbox One. If you have Cortana activated on your console, it may pick up conversations in the room, or even from your television, and think you asked it to turn your Xbox One on.

A photo of the Xbox One Kinect peripheral.
 Microsoft

You can use Cortana with a Kinect or a headset, but the only way to use the feature that allows you to turn the console on with your voice is to use a Kinect. So if you don't have a Kinect, you don't have to worry about this possibility.

If you do have a Kinect, you can disable Cortana's ability to turn your console on by unplugging your Kinect when you aren't using your Xbox One. If that fixes your problem, then you'll know Cortana was the one turning your Xbox on.

The only way to prevent Cortana from turning your Xbox One on, without unplugging your Kinect, is to disable the Instant On feature.

Turning Off Xbox One's Instant-On Feature

When you turn your Xbox One off, it may seem like it's actually turning off, but it probably isn't. By default, the Xbox One is designed to enter a low power mode when you turn it off, which allows it to power back up very quickly. This instant-on feature allows you to turn the console on with voice commands, and it also enables automatic updates.

The problem with the instant-on feature is that sometimes you don't want your Xbox One to turn on by itself. It also uses a small amount of electricity, even when you aren't using the console. It isn't a lot, but leaving this feature on all the time will cost you money over time.

Here's how to disable the instant-on feature:

  1. Press the Guide button on your controller.

  2. Navigate to System > Settings.

    A screenshot of the Xbox One guide system menu.
  3. Navigate to Power & startup > Power mode & startup.

    A screenshot of the Xbox One system menu.
  4. Select Power mode.

    A screenshot of the Xbox One Power & startup menu.
  5. Select Energy saving.

    A screenshot showing how to turn off Xbox One instant-on.
  6. Restart your console.

Xbox One Automatic Updates Turning Your Console On

One of the reasons the instant-on feature exists is that it allows your Xbox One to automatically download updates when you aren't using the console. This can save you a lot of time, since updates are already good to go when you turn your console on.

The problem is that having your Xbox One turn on by itself can be more than a little spooky, especially when it happens late at night in an otherwise silent house.

It's even worse if you're fast asleep in the same room as the console, and the sound of the fan whirring to life causes you to wake up to a room that's illuminated by the ghostly glow of the Xbox One power button.

If you disable the instant-on feature, then your Xbox can't turn itself on to download automatic updates. So if you don't care about instant-on, then that's a good way to prevent automatic updates from turning your console on in the middle of the night.

If you don't want to disable the instant-on feature, you also have the option to leave it enabled and just turn off automatic updates:

  1. Press the Guide button on your controller.

  2. Navigate to System > Settings.

    A screenshot of the Xbox One Guide system menu.
  3. Select System > Updates & downloads.

    A screenshot of the main Xbox One system menu.
  4. Remove the check mark from the box next to Keep my console up to date.

    A screenshot of the Xbox One system updates & downloads menu.

    Remove the check marks from the box next to Keep my games & apps up to date to prevent game updates from turning your console on, and the box next to Allow remote installations to prevent your console from automatically turning on when you queue a download from your computer or phone.

  5. Restart your console.