Microsoft is getting ready to roll out its new energy-saving features for the Xbox Series X / S consoles this week. This includes an active hours feature that Microsoft initially started testing in January that will let Xbox owners boot their console quickly during certain hours and shut it down fully to save on energy during times when it’s used less.
Active hours means an Xbox will only draw 0.5 watts when it’s fully shut down, instead of 10–15 watts during the Standby mode. You can either set active hours times yourself or let your Xbox adjust them automatically depending on when you use the console the most. In other words, if your active hours are set between 12PM and 10PM, that means your console will be ready to boot in seconds flat during this window, while trying to turn it on outside of these times will take longer since it will shut down completely.
Microsoft is also rolling out a new “carbon aware updates” feature with its Shutdown (energy saving) mode that won’t wake up the console to receive updates between the standard 2AM to 6AM nightly maintenance window. Instead, it allows the Xbox to receive updates at times when it can use the most renewable energy on your local grid.
Microsoft says this is supposed to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and CO2 emissions but notes that it could also help you save money on your electricity bill. The power mode lowers Xbox power usage by about 20 times when compared to regular Sleep mode (which is why some Republicans’ outrage over the feature makes no sense to me, even if they may not care about saving the environment).
The only minor inconvenience when using Shutdown (energy saving) mode, is that your console will take 45 seconds to wake up when you’re ready to game, but that’s where active hours come in. Microsoft will set your console to “always active” by default, so you’ll need to go to Settings > General > Power if you want to enable active hours. And while Microsoft already sets Shutdown (energy saving) mode as the default for some consoles, you can turn it on or off by heading to the same menu.