Xbox gaming now means far more than just playing on a literal Xbox, as Xbox Cloud Gaming enables you to play Xbox One or Xbox Series X|S titles on your phone–thus giving you way more processing power than your phone could handle on its own and letting you keep playing your favorite games when you’re out and about.
Getting your Xbox catalog up-and-running on your iPhone or Android does require a little more work than dedicated handheld gaming devices. Not too much work, though. Once you know what to do, playing Halo, Gears of War, Forza, and the rest of the best Xbox One and Series X/S games is surprisingly seamless. Here's what you need to know to get started.
Getting started with Xbox Game Pass
In order to stream Xbox games, you will need a subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate . If you’re unfamiliar with the service, Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft's take on a Netflix-like model for games. You pay one monthly price and gain access to hundreds of games at no additional cost. Game Pass is available for console (both Series X|S and Xbox One) and PC. By subscribing to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you get the full catalog of games across PC and console, including all of Microsoft's first-party releases on launch day; a host of EA games like the Mass Effect trilogy, Dead Space, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order through EA Play; and the ability to stream many of these games to your phone through Xbox Cloud Gaming. In short, it's a lot of game for your buck, and the ability to play via streaming is one of the best perks.
Plus, Game Pass subscribers who opt to purchase a game while it’s available on the service get a discount. However, there is no way to purchase streaming access to a game. If the game leaves Game Pass, you can no longer stream it on your phone.
It's important to note that purchasing an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription is the only way to gain access to Xbox Cloud Gaming. You cannot subscribe to Xbox Cloud Gaming separately.
Setting up and using Xbox Cloud Gaming
On both Android and iOS devices, getting Xbox Cloud Gaming up and running is fairly straightforward. That said, it is significantly more straightforward on Android, where users can simply download the Xbox Game Streaming app from the Google Play Store, sign in, and start playing. Unfortunately, due to Apple policy , Microsoft is unable to provide an app on the App Store. Instead, iOS users need to go to this site and sign into their Xbox account. After signing in, you can pin the site to your home screen, but it will still look like a mobile web app each time you sign in to play games. You also may need to occasionally delete and re-add the icon to your home screen in order for it to load properly.
Cloud saves are supported on Xbox Cloud Gaming, so you can pick up where you left off when switching to your Xbox or PC.
Xbox Cloud Gaming requirements
Most mobile devices are capable of streaming Xbox games. You simply need to be on a device that supports Android 6.0 or later or iOS 14.4 or later. You can check out a list of confirmed compatible Android and iOS devices on the Xbox Insiders subreddit . We’d recommend the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate , because they both have large screens that are ideal for gaming.
What really matters here is your internet connection. Microsoft recommends using 5GHz Wi-Fi networks, as Xbox Cloud Gaming isn’t optimized for 2.4GHz networks just yet. On Android, you need a 7Mbps speed or better, whereas on iOS Microsoft recommends 10Mbps or better (20Mbps or better for iPad). You also need Bluetooth 4.0 or later on both Android and iOS devices.
Xbox Cloud Gaming is better with controllers
Many of the games included with Xbox Cloud Gaming support touch controls. Make sure to check the thumbnail for each game, as titles that support touch controls will be accompanied by an icon of a finger. But you will likely want a controller to play most games, either because they don’t support touch or are just too demanding to be played effectively without one. A standard Xbox wireless controller can be connected to your phone via Bluetooth (a gaming clip for your phone helps), but there are other dedicated options like the Backbone for iOS and the Razer Kishi for Android and iOS that turn your phone into a Switch-like device. For more great picks, check out our list of the best controllers for mobile gaming .
Xbox games you can stream on your phone
As we said above, just because a game is available on Game Pass doesn’t mean it’s necessarily available to play via Xbox Cloud Gaming. We’ve rounded up some of the notable games that are available via Xbox Cloud Gaming, but make sure to check out our full list of Game Pass games that are compatible with Xbox Cloud Gaming.
- A Plague Tale: Innocence
- Battlefield V
- Cities: Skylines
- Crackdown 3
- Cris Tales
- Darkest Dungeon
- Dead by Daylight
- Dead Cells
- Destiny 2
- Dirt 5
- Doom (2016)
- Dragon Quest Builders 2
- Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition
- Fallout 4
- Forza Horizon 4
- Frostpunk: Console Edition
- Gears 5
- Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
- Gears Tactics
- Halo 5: Guardians
- Halo: The Master Chief Collection
- Hollow Knight: Voidheart Edition
- Katana Zero
- Middle-earth: Shadow of War
- Minecraft Dungeons
- MLB The Show 21
- Nier Automata: Become as Gods Edition
- No Man’s Sky
- Octopath Traveler
- Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- Overcooked 2
- Red Dead Online
- Resident Evil 7
- Sea of Thieves
- Slay the Spire
- Superhot: Mind Control Delete
- The Ascent
- The Outer Worlds
- Wolfenstein: The New Order
- Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
- Yakuza 0
- Yakuza Kiwami
- Yakuza Kiwami 2
- The Yakuza Remastered Collection
- Yakuza 6: The Song of Life
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon
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