Microsoft confirms the death of Snap Mode on Xbox One

Last November, we reported that Microsoft was experimenting with the removal of Snap Mode for Xbox One, and now it looks like that will be the case moving forward.

Xbox Platform head Mike Ybarra tweeted that the removal of Snap Mode is to improve speed, reduce memory use, and to free up resources for "bigger things" in the future.

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Last November, we received information that Microsoft was experimenting with picture-in-picture functionality for apps like OneGuide that currently allow you to snap your TV, taking up a quarter of your screen's real estate. Using information we received, we speculated that in the future, Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps would be able to overlay existing games and apps, and we've already begun to see elements of this with Cortana, Beam, and the new Achievement guide.

Cortana can be positioned anywhere on the screen. Additionally, Beam chat overlays can also be positioned at will, as demonstrated back at Microsoft's October event.

We don't know when (or even if) third-party UWP developers will be able to leverage these new overlay features, but we suspect it won't be long. We know that it's because of UWP that these new app features as possible. If you're a fan of snapping TV or other apps on your Xbox, picture-in-picture should step in to replace snap mode in the future.

One thing remains certain, Xbox is relentless with its improvements of the console and its features. See the link below for just a few of the improvements coming to our consoles as part of the wider Windows 10 Creators Update.

Latest Xbox Insider Build: New Guide, new Cortana, and more!

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • I only use snap for achievements, so I assume they will have an alternative in place as soon as they remove this.
  • Yep, achievements already have a new overlay.
  • I really love using the achievement tracker!
  • I hope so! I like the picture in picture idea. I am about to order an xbox one s so this xbox news just got way more exciting ;). 
  • Go for it!
  • I did! Xbox One S Battlefield 1 bundle on Amazon for $265... I have like $2 spending money now for the next 12 days! ;)
  • snapping apps and even desktop applications now are key to Windows 10 interface, why is xbox one abandoning that?
  • Does Windows 10 do snapping or is it Window based like 7? I never go side by side on PC anymore so I'm not sure.
  • It's still Aero Snap like on Windows 7.
  • This is because they nerfed tablet mode moving to Windows 10. They can't say people used it less when the feature was crippled and made less user friendly. They had their own agenda and wanted to move away from Snap views.
  • Agreed, the Touch UI was seriously crippled on the move from Windows 8.1 :( Microsoft has the single best tablet UI with Windows 8.1 but unfortunately they took 2 steps backwards.
  • Uh, didn't you read the article? It embeds a tweet from Mike Ybarra explaining why.
  • "Improved multitasking".  Sounds like they're removing "snap mode" which is a rigid hard coded system feature that very few apps support and implementing a true multitasking system. 
  • Goodbye having the NFL fantasy football app snapped while watching the games. :'(
  • For real! I'm not a huge sport guy, but this occasion as well as snapping twitter or something like it over watching a live event were selling points to me.
  • I am pretty sure it will picture in picture soon. So, instead of having a huge snap screen it will just be a little box with the game on... I think anyways. 
  • I suspect this will just be converted to a UWP overlay. :)
  • Hated snap. Thought it was awful, and clunky. Perhaps I needed to experiment more with it, but I just did not have the patience. This new dashboard is nice, although I think it would make more sense, on the button press to have the highlighted button as the home button, would keep same number of clicks. Looks good though. Damned party chat is not working for me, which may curtail my Battlefield sessions. And NAT type is now moderate
    ... Never got that NAT bit. On another note, Games With Gold games have been announced.
  • I didn't care fo it either. Especially the idea of taking my 65" tv and using 2/3 of it for a game/tv show. It just seemed useless to me when I could use my phone or tablet for pretty much anything that snap did.
  • I anyways thought Snap was the worst thing on Xbox one, goodbye and good riddance.
  • I hated it. I would get into it and couldn't get back out.
  • When I first got my Xbox I used Snap for music and achievements, but both of those have long since been fixed, so in reality it has been months since I have used Snap on purpose. 
  • As long as they get the overlays working with UWPs, I am more than ok with this. I love the way Cortana shows in that image.
  • good move!
  • I've never been a fan of snap, Music was the only reason I ever used it, and now there's background music so I don't need it anymore. I'm not going to miss snap, just like I don't miss it from Windows 8.
  • Features cut every damn year. So glad I got rid of this for the Alpha. Here's to hoping the app overlays are like Steam's overlay ...but ON STEROIDS.
  • Cut and replaced with something better
  • with Microsoft's track record as of late? Doubtful. But we'll see.
  • Can't say that I'll miss it. Most people didn't know it existed and using it just felt so clumsy that even if you knew about it, you didn't want to use it
  • Ever since Netflix stopped allowing you to stream when the app was snapped, I think the only thing that I ever snapped was achievements. Well, that and Cortana, but I've never snapped her on purpose.
  • Well, that certainly does suck.
  • I noticed the pic shows DVR as one of the Cortana functions. Hopefully they are still planning on bringing that feature to the Xbox One.
  • It's already available. Just say "Hey Cortana, record that."
  • I mean for OTA tv with the oneguide. The Xbox already has a 30 min buffer.
  • ahhh, I think they ran into licensing problems with that
  • I love playing Threes during commercials, but I rarely watch TV so I guess when I do now I can just play on my phone. :(
  • I used to snap my fantasy football stats on the right side while watching a game. That was kinda useful.
  • Coming from someone who streams from his X-Box One to Twitch all the time I can say I'm so glad "Snap" is going bye-bye. I hate the way it's layed out. I'm so excited to have Beam Integration soon. Counting down the days.
  • As someone who records a lot of videos for Youtube, I always loved the ability to snap the GameDVR. That snap ability, plus the GameDVR itself, made it so I never needed to upgrade to one of those expensive capture cards for recording. I have the new dashboard already because I'm in the Insider program, I'm not quite sure yet if I like the new solution to snapping GameDVR. I'd say it's ok, but once I start a recording, it doesn't tell me the current video length or how much time is left available to the recording. Perhaps if they added something like that to the overlay feature, then maybe I'd be ok with it. Other than that, I don't use snap too often, but sometimes I do snap either Youtube or Edge. Rarely though.
  • No more snapping Threes! :( I actually didn't use snap that much. I lament more the removal of Kinect voice commands in Netflix/HULU. It would be nice to have that back.
  • I hope this goes for Windows 10 Mobile's Kids and Apps Corner removal, too! Freeing up resources for "bigger things" in the future, too? Hm.
  • Whilst I understand the benefits of speeding up response etc. I think doing Picture in Picture is a big drawback as it takes up real estate on a game you're playing, it's a backwards step in my opinion. 
  • Exactly that. PiP is not a good replacement for snapping apps. Snapping apps is superior because there is no information loss. PiP results in obfuscation. This is just another in a long list of anti-consumeristic moves Microsoft has made with Xbox One (never mind things like Windows RT, Windows Phone, Microsoft Band, etc.), forcibly removing features that consumers made purchasing decisions based on. Forced upgrades are indefensible. I want my Day One Xbox One back. That's the Xbox One I bought.
  • Finally no more accidental snapping and having to remember how to get it to go away.
  • I'm glad snap has gone! I never liked how it shrunk down the main screen. Overlay could really be awesome :)
  • I'm I the only one that plays games and watches Tv at the same time?? I loved snap mode. So sad to see it go
  • I do this alot they better hurry up and bring picture in picture
  • The Microsoft Mantra: just wait, it'll be better soon.
  • just wait you can lend me 2000 usd and i will pay you back more soon ;)
  • cool this will be great. i didn't use it at all. any improvements to performance are welcomed!
  • The new dashboard is so fast on day-one Xbox One, it makes me want to use it a bit more. A great improvements but as it's a beta a few annoying bugs like no sound from instant on when using a headset are expected. Looking forward for Beam integration.
  • I love all the people chiming in that they didn't use the feature when MS has underhandedly been removing all the apps that could snap with every major update. Outside of audio apps the only thing you can still snap today are TV and a couple games. So yeah you don't use the feature because even if you wanted to they already took it away a long time ago. I'm okay with overlays, but I'm doubtful MS will deliver the ability to most apps. Xbox One is the only console I've owned that consistently lost functionality it launched with with every passing year. Xbox One is the reverse Xbox 360.
  • That sucks. Loved Snapping Skype while watching games with family from all over the world.
  • Okay, I never snapped. But I will say, I would rather have an app to the side then an overlay blocking the game that I'm playing. Truth be told, i would only snap skype and I have never done it because I sadly don't have a Kinect. If someone wants to get rid of theirs for $.100, I'll buy it from you
  • Agreed, I'm not fond of how snap mode turned out but I do like multitasking. A better way possibly?
  • My xbone has not been working properly for weeks now, it's almost impossible to get to the home page if your in app or game...the Xbox home button is practically useless!
  • Guess I will kiss having TrueAchievements app snapped while I play goodbye. 😒
  • I'm in the same boat. My two most common snaps are and the fantasy football app. I snap baseball every night and track the tigers while I play games. Perfect world, getting to put the game where I want would be nice...but MLBs Tech department SUCKS so I know they won't update the app.
  • I would snap the Browns game and play a videogame all the time. What am I going to do now, watch a Browns game full screen? No thank you.
  • Never mind this, when are digital games going to become affordable? So tired of the price gouging, certainly here in Australia anyway.
    My new S has sat idle for weeks and weeks as I refuse to pay the exorbitant prices.
  • Make use of the free market and shop around, you can find websites which will sell you legitimate codes for Xbox games at less than the MS Store price. Incidentally when I bought my new Xbox one S it had over 50 games ready to download, thanks to backwards compatability with my 360 purchases, plus the free Games with Gold.
  • Prices are rumored to go up here in the u.s. Due to a new bill our new president signed into law. Yay red white and blue /s
  • I'm Australian and I bought the MasterChief Collection for $9 or something a few weeks ago. Just go to 3rd party websites. As BritDad said, I have a ridiculous amount of games on there thanks to Games with Gold
  • I'd rather they work on bringing PVR capabilities as they originally promised. I bought the USB tuner and sold my old PVR on the strength of that promise. Now all I have is the ability to pause live TV, and not record anything at all. With all the streaming services that are available, it's not as important as it once was (to me), but my wife misses the ability a lot more.
  • that feature and xbox record that, plus skype on the background eats resources, I want the gameplay as smooth as possible. this is a good news.
  • Would like to see if they have a new way to watch movies while you play. Used this feature on a regular basis.
  • I don't know how to feel about this... I don't really use the feature, but see its value. On the other hand it was very clunky, especially to go back and forth in navigation, so PnP could be awesome.
  • I am holding judgement until I see whats new, but ths Sucks for me as I use the SNAP feature daily.
  • Good riddance! Never liked it anyways, and the new rendering abilities are a much welcomed feature. Hopefully soon for mobile...
  • If it makes Cortana on Xbox respond more quickly, then yes.  She is super slow... you say something, like Hey Cortana, pause.  Five seconds go by before she pauses, which often times means you need to rewind back 5 seconds when you resume.  Annoying....
  • That sucks, I really like using Snap mode.
  • Snap mode was an absolute failure. The only thing I ever used it for was saying "Xbox, Unsnap." Good riddance. 
  • Can't believe people didn't use this. You could watch tv in the snap while you played a game. It was great during college football season.
  • TV integration into the XB1 is a total pain outside the US... but if I really want to watch TV at the same time it'd far easier to game on my Surface Pro 3 via Xbox streaming and have the TV fully available (and yes, I do this regularly when sitting with the wife while she watches her shows)