How To Manage Xbox Series X/S Storage Space

Here are some tips and tricks on how best to save on storage space for both the Xbox Series X and Series S.

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Making sure you know how to manage storage space on your new Xbox Series X or Series S should be a top priority for new console owners. The Xbox Series X is outfitted with a 1TB SSD for storage and the Series S has a 512GB SSD. Depending on how many games you expect to have installed at once, you might end up dealing with insufficient storage space just using the base SSDs. While there is an option to purchase an expansion card that adds an additional 1TB of space, it sits at the pricey cost $220--almost the same retail cost of a Series S. With the rise of game file sizes venturing further into the 100GB-plus range, you'll quickly find out that storage management will be a constant work in progress in this new generation.

All that said, we'll compiled a quick list of tips on how to best manage, organize, and save space on your new Xbox Series X or Series S console.

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Xbox Series X|S Storage Quick Tips

  • Prioritize the games you want to keep
  • Turn off auto-updates
  • Use an external device for backwards compatibility
  • Reduce the size of saved media

How To Manage Storage On Xbox Series X|S

Prioritize The Games You Want To Keep: One of the crucial things you'll need to do with your next-gen console is to keep an eye out for your available storage space. It's never fun purchasing a new game and then discovering that you lack the open storage to download it. Every game you have in your library will take up space in your console's SSD, and this also includes game discs that will need to load data onto your drive. While you may have the urge to download all your most wanted games at once, it's best to focus on the essentials. You will always have access to purchased games in your account library, so even when you delete the game from your drive, you can still download it again later if you want to revisit the game.

Turn Off Auto Updates: Another solid tip is to go into your system settings and disable the auto-update features. Generally, updates for your current set of installed games will be downloaded automatically to your drive when your console is connected online. These include games you may have finished or may not get back to anytime soon. To optimize space, be sure to switch this off and focus on downloading updates for games you want to play regularly. This can also ensure you can quickly download new games you want to play without them being queued behind a bunch of updates.

Rely On An External Device For Backwards Compatibility: The Xbox Series X|S can use an external drive to store games. However, it will only allow games to be played from Xbox One and previous generations. No games exclusive to the Xbox Series X|S (including Xbox One games with X|S enhancement updates) can be played from an external drive, although you can temporarily store X|S games on one. That will allow you to avoid the need to redownload games you would otherwise have to delete from the internal drive. As such, using an external drive on the Xbox Series X|S can be a reliable way to easily manage storage space. With the vast library of games from the Game Pass service, having an external drive as your dedicated backward compatibility space can be worthwhile. You can still enjoy Quick Resume in supported games and benefit from improved loading times (depending on the drive you're using).

The Xbox Series X - 802GB usable storage space / The Xbox Series X - 364GB usable storage space.
The Xbox Series X - 802GB usable storage space / The Xbox Series X - 364GB usable storage space.

Reduce The Size Of Saved Media: Another solid way to save on storage space is to adjust the file sizes for your saved media. With the 4K HDR support on Xbox Series X, it can be easy to pile up a massive amount of gameplay videos with large file sizes. You can adjust the size of screenshots and video clips to be 1080p to keep the file size down in the settings. Especially with video clips, this can really cut that size down.

Some Games Are Just Smaller On Xbox Series S: This is not so much a tip, but rather a reminder that if you're using the Xbox Series S that some games will have reduced install sizes since developers can choose to leave out 4K assets. For example, Sea of Thieves is 17GB on the Series S, but 46GB on the Series X. Others won't be as drastic, but Gears 5 shrinks to 55GB down from 72GB and Forza Horizon 4 stands at 71 GB down from 85GB. Differences will vary between games, and although it may not make up for the smaller SSD, it's a nice perk to help keep a bit more room on the system.

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