As Xbox handheld rumors swirl, Microsoft starts testing console Wi-Fi feature 10 years too late

Lenovo Legion Go with Xbox Logo
Xbox CEO Phil Spencer travels with a Lenovo Legion Go that he considers "almost extensions of [his] Xbox console." (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Xbox consoles will soon be able to save the details of multiple wireless networks.
  • Until now, you have had to re-enter the password of any network you want to switch to since the Xbox could only save the details of a single network.
  • Other consoles have had this functionality for years, including the PS5, PS4, Wii, and Xbox 360.
  • There's a chance that Microsoft is working on this feature in preparation for an Xbox handheld device.

Microsoft is working on a feature that has been requested for years. Starting with the latest Alpha Skip-Ahead Insider build, Xbox consoles have the ability to save the details of multiple wireless networks. That means you can move your console to a new network and connect to the internet without having to the network's password again.

While some people set up an Xbox console once and leave it connected to the same wireless network forever, many users move their Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S to different locations, requiring them to connect to various wireless networks. Someone may move their console between homes that they split time between, take a console to a friend's house, or use a device like the xScreen to make an Xbox console more portable.

There are also some people who have multiple networks in their home. I've seen people split networks for different tasks, such as one set aside for large downloads and another for everyday use.

Regardless of the specific reason for any individual, it's clear there's a demand to save the details of multiple wireless networks on an Xbox console. Microsoft has finally heard the feeedback and acted on it.

Here's a snippet from the Xbox Alpha Skip-Ahead release notes related to wireless connectivity:

"If you ever connect your Xbox console to more than one wireless network, we have good news! The network settings will now allow users to remember up to 10 password-protected wireless networks. To get started, head to Settings > General > Network settings > Manage wireless networks.

To remember your current wireless network, disconnect first or just set up a wireless network then choose your network from the list again. You will see a new option to remember the network when entering your password.

Once you have some wireless networks remembered, you can navigate back to Manage wireless networks and select Manage remembered wireless networks to Activate or Forget them."

This is hardly new functionality for a console. In fact, it was possible to save multiple wireless networks on the Xbox 360. But Microsoft removed the option over the years, only to bring it back now amidst rumors of an Xbox handheld.

Is Microsoft making an Xbox handheld?

Xbox Cloud Gaming on the Steam Deck

Xbox Cloud Gaming is already available on several portable consoles, including the Steam Deck. (Image credit: Jennifer Young - Windows Central)

One way to look at this feature entering testing is "better late than never." People have asked for the ability to save multiple wireless networks on a Xbox console for years. Rival consoles, such as the PS5 support the feature already, as does the PS4. But even older consoles are able to save multiple wireless networks. Heck, the Nintendo DS did it over 10 years ago. So, why hasn't Microsoft added the functionality until now?

I suppose there's a chance that the Xbox team has just been busy making new dashboards, but I think it's more likely that the ability to save multiple wireless networks wasn't a priority until recently. With gaming handhelds growing in popularity and Microsoft asking gamers for their thoughts on portable consoles, there's a chance Microsoft is lining up its console features for gaming on the go.

Xbox CEO Phil Spencer said he thinks of handheld PCs as "almost extensions of [his] Xbox console." Spencer travels with a Lenovo Legion Go and talked about gaming handhelds in an exclusive interview with our Managing Editor Jez Corden. In a separate piece, Corden argues that an Xbox handheld is "absolutely necessary" for Microsoft.

The tech giant appears to at least be open to the idea, as shown by the survey sent out to gamers asking about handheld consoles. If feedback shows a demand for an Xbox handheld and Microsoft can find a way to create a unique device that stands out from the Steam DeckROG Ally, and other portable consoles, there's a chance Microsoft will release an Xbox handheld at some point.

While it's certainly useful to be able to save the details of multiple wireless networks on a console like the Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S, the feature is more important on a handheld console. A Steam Deck competitor from the Xbox team would be taken all over the place by users, making the ability to save multiple wireless networks a neccessity.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at