I remember when the Asus ROG Ally and Lenovo Legion Go launched. “These are the Xbox handhelds that I’ve been waiting for,” I thought. Of course, I’d love to see a handheld console Xbox releases itself, but both of these are certainly the next best thing for those of us who want to play our Xbox and PC games on a handheld device similar to the Nintendo Switch.
However, up until now, the Xbox experience on these devices hasn’t really been optimized. The devices, in order to support Xbox games, currently need to run the full version of Windows 11 — a big ask for a handheld device. That’s a weird scenario to be in, considering that the original Xbox team stripped down Windows for parts rather than running it natively on the first console — or any future console, for that matter.
Thankfully, the Xbox team is looking to make the experience on these handhelds better. In a blog post, the company announced that, as part of its November update, it will be rolling out a new “Compact Mode” for the Xbox app. The new mode will collapse the sidebar to give gamers more room to navigate and browse through the app.
We’re excited to announce that Compact mode is now available as part of the latest update on all Windows devices, including handhelds like the ASUS ROG Ally and Lenovo Legion Go! Compact mode is a new feature that enhances your gaming experience by providing a more intuitive user interface on smaller screens. With Compact mode, the side bar collapses into icons, providing you with more space to browse content. To use this feature, click on your profile in the top-left corner of the app and turn the toggle for “Compact mode” on.
The company says that it is also working with partners like Asus and Lenovo to turn on Compact Mode by default when the Xbox app recognizes that it is installed on a handheld device like the ROG Ally or Legion Go. This is a small but certainly meaningful update that will give the impression of a more native Xbox experience on the devices, so I’m glad to see that Xbox worked on this one.
In addition to Compact Mode, the November update also includes an update to the Xbox app on PC that will allow users to only show unread notifications rather than all notifications. So, if you’re an inbox-zero type of person, you’ll want to turn that on.
With new games and benefits coming to Game Pass all the time, we’re making it easier to keep up with what’s new by giving you the option to show only unread notifications in the notification dropdown on the Xbox app on PC.
The company is also rolling out a new Gaming Services Repair Tool, a “dedicated tool to fix any issues with Gaming Services or missing content when launching the Xbox app on PC.” It is also rolling out support for Japanese on physical and virtual keyboards for Xbox consoles, wish list notifications for Xbox Free Play Days, and the ability to authenticate on your phone to redeem your rewards from your console.
Xbox says that Compact Mode is available now and that the rest of the updates are “coming soon.” Since this is the November update, “coming soon” better mean today or tomorrow!