How to transfer games and save data from an old Xbox One to a new one: Move your files between Xbox One, Xbox One S or Xbox One X

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If you’re upgrading to a new Xbox One console – perhaps from an original model to a classier-looking One S, or from a One S to a more powerful, 4K-boosting One X – you’ll want to make sure you can take all of your games and save data with you. 

Luckily enough, there are two easy ways to ensure that everything transfers seamlessly from your old console to your new one. You can do it either with an external hard drive or without (thanks to the wireless magic of home networks).

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It’s worth noting that your game save data is automatically saved to the cloud if you’re signed in to your existing console with an Xbox Live account (whether you have an Xbox Live Gold subscription or not). So once you’ve signed in, you can start playing on your new console where you left off on your previous machine.

With that in mind, here is everything you need to know to be able to transfer games from your old Xbox One to your new one.

Use an external hard drive

The first, more old-school option is to use an external hard drive to back up your files and transfer them to your new console. You’ll need one that connects via USB 3.0, has at least 256GB of storage and that can be formatted for Xbox. 

When you plug in the drive, a pop-up will prompt you to ‘Format storage device’ – this will prepare the drive to back up your Xbox One games and data (although beware – this will delete anything that is currently stored on it). Once you’ve done this, you can back up your games…

  • Press the Xbox button on your controller to bring up the home sidebar and scroll across to the ‘System’ icon (the cog).
  • Select ‘Settings’, then ‘System’ and then click on the ‘Storage’ option.
  • Highlight your internal drive on the right and press ‘A’; in the pop-up menu, select ‘Transfer’.
  • Make sure the target device is your external drive – this will be shown under ‘Transfer to’ at the top of the screen. Select individual games/apps by checking the boxes next to them, or click ‘Select all’ (make sure the external drive has enough storage space).
  • Press ‘Copy selected’ if you want to leave everything installed on the original Xbox One, or ‘Move selected’ if you want to clear it out.
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You can also back up and transfer your system settings, such as preferences and themes, with your external drive. Go back to the ‘System’ menu, select ‘Backup & transfer’, then ‘Back up my settings’ and then ‘Back up to device’. Plug the drive into your new console before turning it on for the first time – a pop-up will prompt you to ‘Apply settings’. 

Once everything’s set up, you can transfer your games and apps from the hard drive to the new machine by repeating the process above on your new console. Switch the ‘Transfer from’ option to the external device and set the ‘Transfer to’ option to your new Xbox’s internal drive.

READ MORE: How to download games faster on Xbox One

Transfer via a home network

The Xbox also offers the option to transfer your games wirelessly and directly between your two consoles. This means you’ll have to have both consoles plugged in and connected to your wireless network at the same time. For this option, you’ll have to go through the initial set up process on your new Xbox One, rather than transferring over your settings as above.

  • On your old Xbox One, press the Xbox button on your controller to bring up the home sidebar and scroll across to the ‘System’ icon (the cog).
  • Select ‘Settings’, then ‘System’, then ‘Backup & transfer’.
  • Select ‘Network transfer’ and then click on ‘Allow network transfer’.
  • Repeat this process on your new Xbox One. 
  • On your new Xbox One, your old console (the one that you’re transferring games from) should now appear on the network transfer menu. Select it, and you’ll then see the same transfer interface as above – select the games and apps you want to copy across.
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After you’ve done this and the games are firmly ensconced on your new Xbox One console, it’s worth going back to your old console and deleting the content/performing a factory reset before selling it on.

READ MORE: The best Xbox One deals available right now