If you’re the owner of an Xbox Series X you may have noticed that the fans on the console appear to be running constantly – even when the console isn’t switched on.
To be clear, this only happens when the console is left in Instant-On mode, which allows you to take advantage of the new Quick Resume feature – where games restart in an instant – and to have updates to games automatically downloaded in the background. Nevertheless, you wouldn’t normally expect fans to be running around the clock, even in this standby mode, but every time I put my hand near the top of the console the fans appeared to be blowing out air, even when it hadn’t been played for hours.
I’m not the only one to have noticed this, either. This Reddit thread is full of people spotting the constant fan whirring, as is this thread on the Microsoft support forum. In my experience, the fans don’t make a great noise – I certainly don’t hear it in my living room – but it can’t be good for the longevity of the console or its fans to have them in near-permanent operation, not to mention the electricity bill.
How to stop the Xbox Series X fans running constantly
The obvious way is to switch off Instant-On Mode by going to Settings > General > Power Mode & Start-up and switching from Instant-On to Energy-Saving mode. However, this will of course lose all the benefits mentioned above, namely a good 20 seconds before the console is ready to play when you switch it on, and potentially long waits for game updates to download before you can play.
However, you might be able to stop the fans whirring constantly by simply switching the orientation of your console.
I notice that when I flipped the console from portrait to landscape mode (the Xbox Series X has little rubber feet on one side, so it can be laid flat) the fans didn’t seem to be on quite as much. They’re still on a good chunk of the time, but not every time I put my hand near the meshed vent at the top of the console (if left upright).
This could be due to ventilation. In my TV unit, the Xbox Series X only has an inch or two of clearance if left upright:
However, when it’s flipped on its side, there’s much greater clearance around the fans, and there is also a much larger surface area at the top of the device, which allows heat to dissipate:
(That shelf is not as wonky as it looks in this photo, by the way!)
Microsoft’s official support FAQ for the Xbox Series X recommends “having 4-6 inches (approximately 10-15 cm) of clearance on all sides”, which is obviously impossible unless you’re suspending the console in mid-air, but we guess Microsoft means on all sides that aren’t face down. In which case, that could explain why the fans are less active when the console is placed horizontally in my cabinet.
Let us know on comments below if you notice that flipping the console’s orientation helps reduce fan activity.