Microsoft announced a new “carbon aware” power mode is rolling out to the Xbox Insider Testing Program and will soon be available to all Xbox owners.
The mode optimizes updates and downloads to run at times when the local power grid is least dependent on fossil fuels, and the console can use the most renewable energy to perform these tasks. Windows 11 updates became carbon aware last year.
As long as the console is connected to the internet and can access the regional carbon intensity data it needs, it will be carbon aware by default. But the optimizations will only work if it’s in Off mode, rather than Sleep mode.
It’s an interesting new optimization, but by far the biggest impact is Xbox owners choosing to use shutdown over sleep in the first place, as shutdown is up to 20x more energy efficient. in energy. So it’s probably even more important that, alongside the carbon-sensitive update, all Xbox Series X and S consoles will switch to using default shutdown when turned off. Users will then have to manually return to standby if they prefer. Shutdown means a longer boot time than sleep mode and the remote wake-up feature is not available, but otherwise the console works the same and can still receive updates overnight.
Xbox One consoles will also get new power modes, including the same power-saving shutdown mode, with downloads and updates enabled, that the Series X uses.
Microsoft points out that every two consoles switching to Shutdown from Sleep will save the equivalent amount of carbon eliminated by 1 tree planted and grown for a decade. But if you want to use Sleep, you’ll be able to use a new Active Hours setting that will enable remote wake-up and fast-start Sleep for certain hours, then turn off completely at the end of the day.