How to speed up game downloads on Xbox Series X or S: Fix slow download speeds on your console

Waiting for a game to download can be a pain, so we’ve put together a guide that should speed up your Xbox Series X/S downloads…

by Richard Jordan
xbox series x

If you’ve recently bought an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S, you might currently be trying to download some games to test out the new consoles. But have you been struck by slow download speeds?

Of course, watching every little decimal of gigabyte drip-feed itself onto your Xbox while you’re raring to play can be a maddening experience – especially if there are infuriating bandwidth interruptions. And the bigger the game, the longer you’ll be twiddling your thumbs in anticipation. 

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So, here is everything you need to know to help your Xbox Series X or S download games faster.

Close down games and apps

The first thing to do is to reduce the stress on your Xbox Series X or S console, by properly closing down any open games and apps, which might be using up precious system resources in the background.

This will make sure your console is nice and streamlined, freeing it up so it can put all its energy into downloading your game. Just follow these simple steps…

  • Press the Xbox button on your controller to pull up the ‘Guide’ sidebar.
  • Scroll down the list of games and app thumbnails.
  • When one is highlighted, press the Menu button on your controller (the one with three horizontal lines).
  • If the game/app is open, there will be a ‘Quit’ option in the pop-up menu – click this to close.

Remember, even though the Xbox consoles let you play games while waiting for your download to complete, it’s best not to if speed is of the essence. 

You might also want to try giving your console a quick restart – some people have reported that rebooting the console can speed up the download process.

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Focus on one download at a time

Multiple simultaneous downloads can also slow down the time it’ll take for you to start playing your shiny new game. In the spirit of focusing your console on the task at hand, it’s best to download one thing at a time. This also applies to any game/app updates that might be eager to make their way onto your machine automatically.

  • On the main home screen, click on the ‘My games & apps’ block
  • Scroll down to ‘Manage’. 
  • Click on ‘Queue’ (for new apps and games) and pause any downloads that aren’t the game you’re actively downloading. 
  • Go back to the ‘Manage’ screen, then click ‘Updates’ and pause any downloads there, too.

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Check your internet connection

It’s worth checking the strength of your wi-fi connection to root out any problems if you’re experiencing slower-than-expected download speeds:

  • Press the Xbox button on your controller to pull up the ‘Guide’ sidebar.
  • Scroll across to the ‘Profile & system’ section (which will be represented by your own profile picture) and then down to the ‘Settings’ option. 
  • On the ‘General’ menu, click on ‘Network settings’.
  • Click on ‘Test network speed and statistics’. From here, you can see your current wireless strength and download speed.

If the wireless strength is low, try moving your router nearer to your console if you can. You could even connect the two devices with an ethernet cable if they’re close enough, which should dramatically improve the stability of your internet connection.

If the download speed seems low, try turning off any other home devices that might be using it (a streaming box or computer, for example). And if the speed is lower than your broadband package guarantees as a minimum, it might be worth contacting your provider.

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Richard Jordan