The Xbox April Update brings a brand-new search experience and active hours

Screenshot of the new search experience in the Xbox April 2023 Update.
(Image credit: Xbox)

What you need to know

  • The Xbox OS is updated periodically with new features, sweeping changes, and small improvements.
  • On Wednesday, Xbox announced the release of the Xbox April 2023 Update to all players.
  • The update is headlined by just two features, including a brand-new, redesigned search experience with more granular controls
  • The update also adds an "active hours" feature to help players conserve energy even when using the "Sleep" power setting.

The Xbox experience may not have dramatically changed in a long while, but it's still getting a plethora of new features and improvements over time. The latest update rolling out to players includes two new features targeting Xbox consoles (not the mobile or PC apps), and should be good both for convenience and for the environment.

On Wednesday, Microsoft announced and released the Xbox April 2023 Update, which should be available to download on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles. It's not the most exciting update in the world, as Xbox is still working on a more substantial update to the Xbox Dashboard within the Xbox Insider Program, such as a redesigned "Friends & Community Updates" group for the home screen.

We do, however, get a refreshed search experience. Accessible via the Dashboard, the Guide, and anywhere else in the console OS via the "Y" button on your controller, the new search experience features a new gallery-style design, visible and easily navigable filter categories, and the ability to search for videos on YouTube. Now, it's easier than ever to search for all the best Xbox games on the platform, including in Xbox Game Pass.

Xbox is also continuing its efforts to pursue carbon negativity with the addition of an active hours feature. This feature is targeted at players who continue to use the more power-hungry Sleep mode (which enables remote play and a slightly faster startup time), instead of the more efficient Shutdown mode that became the default in the Xbox February Update. With this feature, players will be able to designate when they use their console, so that their Xbox can go into full Shutdown mode during inactive hours to save tons of energy, and then re-enter Sleep mode during active hours.

Hopefully, this will allow players to get the best of both worlds, with huge energy savings when you normally wouldn't be using your Xbox or need the features of the Sleep power mode, but without losing the convenience it can offer you when you're active and gaming. Both of these features are now rolling out to Xbox console players with the Xbox April Update.

Windows Central's take

The new search experience may be a subtle improvement, but I do think it's an improvement both aesthetically and practically. It may be the active hours feature that is most notable, however, as it allows players to save energy without sacrificing convenience. This is a great way to blur the lines between the two power modes Xbox offers, and I'm happy to see the company continue to make strides in this area.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.