A screenshot of the Xbox dashboard taken from my iPhone.
Daniel Van Boom/CNET
With the Xbox Series X around the corner, Microsoft has updated its iOS Xbox app. With the update comes a big new feature in remote play that lets you stream games from your Xbox One to your iPhone or iPad. Good timing too, with four new iPhones about to go on sale.
First, to temper your excitement, this is not Project xCloud. That service lets you play games on Android phones from the cloud, while this remote play function instead casts games from your Xbox One to your phone. Basically, you’ll still need to be in your house to use remote play.
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To use remote play, you’ll need a solid internet connection and a Bluetooth controller for your iPhone/iPad. Microsoft isn’t first to let you stream its games onto iOS, with Sony’s Remote Play moving to iPhones and iPads last year.
Still, it’s a notable step toward Microsoft’s cloud-based future for the Xbox platform. While Sony is focusing on piling up exclusives for the PlayStation, like the upcoming Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart and Spider-Man: Miles Morales games, Microsoft is focusing on Game Pass and Project xCloud. The former is a Netflix-esque service that lets you play hundreds of games for a $10 a month, while the latter lets you stream Xbox and PC games from the cloud on your Android devices.
The new app lets you download games to your console from your iPhone or iPad, so it’s ready to play when you get home.
Screencap by Daniel Van Boom/CNET
Remote play for iOS is also of note because Apple, notoriously protective of its platform, has in the past barred Microsoft from expanding xCloud to iOS and iPadOS. Microsoft is reportedly hoping to bring xCloud to iOS and iPadOS through a web-based app, rather than through the tightly controlled App Store, but Apple kicking Epic Games off its platform shows how kindly it takes companies trying to circumvent its rules.
The new iOS Xbox app, as with its Android counterpart, lets you manage your console from your phone. You can delete games to free up memory and, more importantly, download games to the console so they’re ready to play when you get home. You can also share videos and screenshots from the app to your social media, if you’re into that sort of thing.