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Xbox Series X November update: Every new feature and change

Published Dec 1st, 2020 4:33PM EST
Image: Microsoft

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  • Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S just received their first major update since launch.
  • The November 2020 Xbox Console Update adds new dynamic backgrounds, an Auto HDR tag, an X|S badge, and the ability to pre-install upcoming Xbox Game Pass games.
  • You can download the November update now on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One.

We are just three weeks removed from the launch of the Xbox Series X and Series S, but Microsoft is already rolling out the first major software update for the next-generation consoles. On Monday, the November 2020 Xbox Console Update was seeded to all Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles, bringing several fixes and changes.

For fans of customization, the most notable addition in the update may be the six new dynamic backgrounds, each of which pays homage to previous Xbox console generations or popular profile themes. You can find these backgrounds by going to Settings > General > Personalization > My color & background > Dynamic backgrounds. Microsoft says it will “explore additional styles, colors, and designs” in the future as well.

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New personalization options are always welcome, but the most useful feature of the November update has to be the new Auto HDR tag. As Microsoft explains, the Auto HDR setting on the Xbox Series X and Series S “can improve the visual quality of a game without changing its overall look with no additional work from the developer.” Unfortunately, it was impossible to tell when the feature was actually running, but once you install the update, you will see a tag at the top-right corner of the screen when you open the guide while playing a game with Auto HDR.

Clarification appears to be the theme of this system update, as Microsoft is also adding an “X|S” badge to the game tiles in My Games and Apps to point out which games are “Optimized for Xbox Series X|S” in your library. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Forza Horizon 4, Gears 5, and more Xbox One games have received updates that allow them to “take advantage of the increased performance of Xbox Series X|S,” but the console didn’t do a very good job of elucidating that. Now you can use the Filter button to see only the optimized games that you own.

Other new features include checking your achievement status from the Game Activity tab on the guide, adding family members to the console while you are setting it up for the first time, and pre-installing games that are coming soon to Xbox Game Pass. Not every upcoming Xbox Game Pass title can be pre-installed, but you can queue up any games that don’t take advantage of this feature to install as soon as they are available on the service.

If you haven’t gotten it yet, the November 2020 Xbox Console Update should hit every Xbox soon.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.