Skip to main content

Xbox May Update releases with multiple 'Quick Resume' improvements, audio passthrough, and more

Xbox May Update 2021 Image
Xbox May Update 2021 Image (Image credit: Xbox)

What you need to know

  • Xbox usually releases a new update every month to further improve the Xbox experience with new changes and features.
  • Today, the Xbox May Update is now rolling out with some heavily requested improvements to Quick Resume on Xbox Series X|S.
  • You can now see what games are in Quick Resume, add a dedicated group to your homepage, individually remove games, and more.
  • There's also a new audio passthrough feature for media apps and a new dynamic background for Xbox Series X|S.

Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S may share an operating system with Xbox One consoles, but Microsoft continues to improve their next-gen consoles even further with new features and improvements every month. The Xbox April Update is being followed today by the, you guessed it, Xbox May Update (opens in new tab). Today's Xbox update is rolling out with a handful of changes that the Xbox community has been requesting for months now. You can look for the update as it becomes available to all Xbox owners throughout the day.

Xbox May Update 2021 Image (Image credit: Xbox)

Xbox May Update 2021 Image (Image credit: Xbox)

Source: Xbox

The highlights of the Xbox May Update include:

  • Quick Resume is better. With today's update, Quick Resume should be more reliable and have improved loading speeds.
  • New Quick Resume tag. A brand-new tag is being added today that will let you know if a game supports the Xbox Quick Resume feature, similar to FPS Boost and Auto HDR tags.
  • Quick Resume group. A new group will let players see all the games that are currently being stored in Quick Resume. You can add this group to Home for quicker access, and open games straight from the Quick Resume group.
  • Remove games from Quick Resume. Using the new Quick Resume group, players can finally individually remove games from Quick Resume. This will be useful for potentially problematic games like live service games that want a constant internet connection.

Xbox May Update 2021 Image (Image credit: Xbox)

Xbox May Update 2021 Image (Image credit: Xbox)

Source: Xbox

  • Audio passthrough for media apps. Players with high-end or custom external audio setups can now bypass the Xbox audio chip in favor of their own in-house option using the new audio passthrough option.
  • Game trailers in Xbox Game Pass. Games available through Xbox Game Pass will now display trailers when focused on in the Xbox Game Pass hub. This will make it even easier to discover some of the best games on Xbox Game Pass.
  • New dynamic background. "Motes" is a new dynamic background being added to Xbox Series X|S. It's a great-looking background that will change to match your accent color.
  • Per-title multiplayer permissions. Parents can now give permission to their children to play multiplayer games per title using Xbox parental controls and the Xbox Family Settings app.
  • Improvements to the Xbox mobile app. Xbox is updating the Xbox mobile app on Android and iOS throughout this month with even more improvements, like game stats on Achievement pages and better reliability for messaging.

It's not a new feature by any means, but one thing that's also noteworthy from today's Xbox May Update is that the Xbox One SmartGlass app for Windows 10 is being sunsetted. That means it will no longer be available to download through the Microsoft Store and will no longer receive updates. If you already have it installed, you will be able to continue using it.

With all the new features for Xbox's impressive Quick Resume, it'll be even easier to jump between all the best Xbox games.

Zachary Boddy
Zachary Boddy

Zachary Boddy is the Minecraft Expert and a News Writer for Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life, and have been freelancing for Windows Central and its sister sites since 2019, with a focus on Xbox and PC gaming. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.

  • Are there any streaming apps known to support audio passthrough yet? Also the Xbox Wire article mentions "You’ll see an indicator in the guide when you use a compatible media app with passthrough audio enabled." Is there an example of what that indicator should look like? It doesn't show one in the Xbox Wire article.
  • It should show on your receiver. Instead of PCM, Netflix should show Dolby Digital+, for example. I didn't test it yet, however.
  • That's the thing, I have been trying it out, and of 4 apps I've tried (Prime Video, VUDU, AppleTV, and Microsoft's Movies & TV), none of them are overriding the default bitstream out setting. For example, with "Allow passthrough" checked in the audio settings, if I have audio out set to Atmos by default, and play non-Atmos content from these apps, my receiver still shows Atmos. Likewise f I set the default audio output to just Dolby Digital, and then play Atmos content, it still comes out as just regular surround. This is such a weird announcement. They don't mention a single streaming app supporting this at launch or "coming soon", and they don't show an example of what sort of indication should be in the guide to show the app supports audio passthrough. They must have had at least one compatible app to be testing this feature, right? So what is it? Or maybe there were special beta apps for the insiders to test and now that the feature is out, the production streaming app(s) will be updated "soon". But it would be nice to have some more info about what to expect. It's not like when they added passthrough to the Blu-ray player and you could test it with any disc.
  • Going to reply to myself here. I decided to reboot my Xbox (Series X); it had rebooted after the update, of course, but another reboot couldn't hurt, I figured. (What's the solution to most computer problems? Turn it off, and turn it back on.) Now the audio passthrough is working on all these apps. I have the default audio options set to bitstream dolby digital atmos, and when I play non-atmos content on all 4 of these apps, my receiver now switches out of Atmos to 5.1 or 2ch audio as appropriate. Yay!
  • That was an insightful explanation about how this works, to someone who doesn't have that kind of setup. Now I get it. I am aware it was a side effect of your explanation, but thank you anyway!