Xbox Insider Program: How to get the first Xbox One updates

Soon after its launch, Microsoft steadily improved the software experience on the Xbox One. The process started in 2014 with support for external hard drives. Back in 2015, Microsoft added new ways to share clips and improved the social aspects of the console. It was in 2016 that the company added the Xbox One to the Windows 10 family, allowing developers from all walks of life to create their own apps that work on Xbox and Windows. The company is planning another large-scale update for 2017, and the Xbox Insider Program is how gamers can test out this update.

You probably haven't heard of the Xbox Insider program, but you may have heard of its predecessor, the Xbox Preview program. The Xbox Preview Program is what got users their hands on the Xbox Backward Compatibility Program soon after it was announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2015. This program has served the company well, but Microsoft l 'entered the Xbox Preview Program in late 2016.


Here's everything you need to know to get the first Xbox One updates through the new Xbox Insider program.

Join the Xbox Insider Program

Microsoft officially announced the Xbox Insider Program last year, naming it the official way games receive early Xbox One updates. In many ways, the program resembles the preview program.

To participate, users simply need to download Microsoft's Xbox Insider Hub from the Xbox One store. Microsoft receives the request and then assesses you for entry. The program can sometimes switch from open to closed, explains Microsoft.

The company requires you to agree to some basic terms of service when you sign up. It also reminds you of the risk involved in installing the first software. Xbox Insider Program updates can and will break functionality on your console. Rather than fully developing an update and releasing it for testers, Microsoft works on feature additions for nearly every new version it releases. Features may be in the hands of testers, but not complete. Sometimes behind-the-scenes changes produce bugs that the development team didn't encounter during their own testing.

Xbox Insider Program

When you join the Xbox Insider program, keep in mind that there can and will be bugs. These bugs can affect everything from multiplayer games to other must-have features.

Microsoft usually announces new downloads for the Xbox Insider Program a few hours before they're available. Back in the days of the Xbox Preview Program, updates arrived for members about a month before they launched for everyone else. Now, Microsoft tends to make fewer updates, which means features arrive for program members months before they're released to everyone.

Why you're not guaranteed early Xbox One updates via Xbox Insider

The differences between Xbox Insider and Xbox Preview start with how updates come out. Both programs award points to players for providing feedback and reporting bugs. Only Xbox Insider uses this score significantly. With Xbox Insider, those with the highest scores can expect updates before everyone else.

Microsoft bases releases on waves, with the program's high scores occupying a limited number of slots in the early waves. Players can track their progress directly from the Xbox Insider hub and compare their scores to others' high scores.


How to Join the Xbox Insider Program

Xbox Insider isn't just a way to find out about early Xbox One updates, although that's what people value the most. The app offers early access to entire apps, like Microsoft's updated Photos app that displays slideshows made up of your photos.

The key to building your score and getting more Xbox Insider Program opportunities is participation.

Complete surveys

The Xbox Insider Hub frequently runs polls. These polls often focus on new things that have changed. Sometimes they ask for feedback on the overall Xbox experience. Simply answering them earns you experience points.

Complete quests

Like the Windows Insider Program, the Xbox Insider Program has a heavy emphasis on quests. In a quest, Microsoft asks you to use a new or updated feature. Once you do, completing a survey on this feature earns you experience points.


Report problems

When you encounter a problem during testing while participating in the Xbox Insider Program, Microsoft hopes that you will file reports on any bugs you encounter, including providing screenshots if necessary. A form to do this can also be found in the Xbox Insider app.

Good luck getting into the Xbox Insider program and getting Xbox One updates sooner. Although it requires more work than the original program to get updates as soon as they arrive, this program seems in tune with who really should be testing features as they arrive.