Huge Feature Upgrade Arrives in May Xbox One Update

Microsoft’s latest Xbox One update doesn’t just include fixes for some of the console’s biggest issues, it also includes a simple feature that’ll finally make interacting with friends and family on the Xbox One every bit as easy as it is on the Xbox 360.

Microsoft announced the May Xbox One Update was finally rolling out to users who aren’t members of its Xbox Preview Program yesterday in a post on its Xbox Wire news blog. Among a new digital power button for the Xbox SmartGlass app, it’s this update that finally adds voice messages to the Xbox One.

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Before downloading the update, users have two options for communicating with their friends over Xbox Live. One way users can communicate with each other is to connect to start a party with the Xbox One’s Party app. This opens up voice communication between both consoles. The second way that users can communicate on Xbox Live involves sending a simple text message.

What Voice Messages allows users to do is quickly and easily communicate something over Xbox Live without having to use the on-screen keyboard, which is terrible for typing long message. Microsoft tried to address this issue by allowing Xbox One owners to use their Xbox SmartGlass equipped smartphone as a digital keyboard of sorts, but it’s still very much a pain. Interestingly enough, Voice Messages have been available on the Xbox 360 for some time. Microsoft Xbox 360 and Xbox One users can send Voice Messages back and forth to each other.

Voice Messages aren’t in a separate app, but live in the Messages app that already houses text-messaging over Xbox Live. While you can listen to Voice Messages on the Xbox One and Xbox 360, you can’t listen to Voice Messages through the Xbox SmartGlass apps when away from your console just yet.

Since launch, Xbox One owners have been able to voice chat with each other inside and outside of games through that aforementioned Party app. Unfortunately, specific network settings and configurations could tank the Party app, leaving you struggling with connection losses and really bad audio performance. Microsoft is addressing these issues with the May Xbox One Update and more. Over the next few weeks it plans to roll out servers that’ll act as an intermediary for those with network configurations that don’t allow the Party app to work well.

This is also the Xbox One update that allows users to manually select which Power Mode they’d like the console to use during the setup process. The Xbox One has two different Power Modes, Instant On lets the console turn on faster, download video game and software updates in the background and use the “Xbox, On” command for those who have a Kinect sensor. Power Saver allows the console to completely turn itself, meaning users do have to manage their software updates and game updates manually. Users do save a bit on their power bill every year with this option. Previously, you could switch between these two settings, but it required you to make it through the setup process and then go to the Settings app later on.

Finally, Microsoft is making it so users with a Kinect 2 sensor and an Xbox SmartGlass app on their smartphone can turn their console on as well as off. In theory, this is great for situations where you may want to use your smartphone as a remote, but couldn’t without having to get off the couch and walk-over to your console to turn it on.

Read: How to Update the Xbox One

Absolutely anyone with an Xbox One can download this update beginning today. Updates can be manually triggered directly from the Xbox One’s Settings app inside the System area.