How to stop your Xbox from overheating

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Xbox Series X

When you’re playing your Xbox you want to enjoy hot new titles, not a too-hot console. Here are some tips for reducing thermal buildup in your overheating Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S.

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How to Tell Your Xbox is Overheating

The Xbox Series X and S are designed to exhaust heat, so don’t be alarmed if the vent above the fan is hot. Much like an overheating PC, you may have problems with Xbox overheating if the console suddenly switches off. Though sudden shutdowns can be caused by a range of problems (including power supply issues), it is also indicative of excessive heat.

What's inside an Xbox Series X

The console will shut itself down to prevent damage from being caused by high temperatures. If you suspect this to be the case, always wait for your console to cool down before you try turning it on again.

Good Airflow Prevents Your Xbox Series X or S Overheating

The most important thing you can do to safeguard the thermal performance of your Xbox Series X or S is to ensure that the console has unobstructed airflow. On the Xbox Series X, the console intakes air from the “bottom” of the console when it is stood upright. The concave mesh at the “top” is where the console exhausts hot air.

On the Xbox Series S, the air intake is also on the bottom edge of the console when in the upright position. The black circle on the side (or top, if the console is lying down) is where hot air is exhausted. For both consoles, Microsoft recommends “4-6 inches of clearance on all sides” to ensure adequate ventilation.

How not to position your Xbox Series X

Place your console on a solid surface where it is not likely to fall over. Avoid placing your console on fabric, since this may trap heat and impede airflow. Do not clutter the area around your console with items, and avoid placing anything (like game boxes or spare controllers) on top of it.

Enclosed Spaces Can Lead to an Overheated Xbox

For best results, place your console in an open entertainment unit that has good airflow on all sides. Enclosed entertainment units that restrict airflow may trap heat. Even if you have space around the edge of your console, the air within the entertainment unit can heat up over a prolonged period.

Xbox Series S with Disc Drive

Air exchange is important for keeping your electronics cool. The console’s ability to regulate temperature relies on it having a sufficient intake of cool air. Circulating warm air could lead to overheating problems. Consider moving your console into a more open position if you’re concerned about heat build-up, especially in warmer months.

Clean the Vents to Prevent Your Xbox Series X Overheating

In addition to console positioning, you should regularly clean your console to ensure sufficient airflow. This is particularly important near the air intakes, where dust and other unwanted debris can gather. If you have pets that shed hair, you’ll also want to be careful that hair doesn’t build up around the intakes.

Dust your console’s vents regularly, plus the surface on which the console sits. Avoiding dust buildup by keeping the room relatively clean will also help.

Avoid Placing Other Heat Sources Nearby

For your Xbox to cool itself, it needs a good supply of cool air. Placing other devices that also generate too close to your console can prevent this from happening. This includes PCs and other consoles, heaters and heating vents, or even your TV or monitor.

Some LED displays generate a lot of heat at the back of the unit on account of the backlight. Consider moving your console away from the back of the TV if you notice that it gets hot.

Consider Adding Fans to Your Entertainment Unit

If you can’t avoid placing your console within a closed entertainment unit that doesn’t have open sides, you can always fit fans so that cool air flows in and warm air can escape. These are frequently sold as home theater cabinet coolers, but they work well for consoles and streaming devices that also kick out heat.

You will likely need to cut a hole in your cabinet, after which you can connect the fan to a USB outlet or power adapter. Models like the AC Infinity Airplate S5 come in both 80mm and 120mm fan sizes, feature multiple speeds, and are engineered to be ultra-quiet.

Fitting these fans is just like fitting fans in a PC case, where you want to optimize positioning to get the best airflow.

High Ambient Temperatures Can Lead to Xbox Overheating

It’s worth paying attention to warmer temperatures in hotter months, or in rooms that are especially warm year-round. Microsoft states (in the Xbox Series console manuals) that “the console’s operating temperature is +5ºC (+41ºF) to +35ºC (+95ºF)” so ambient temperatures that exceed this could cause overheating problems.

It may be worth cooling down the room using air conditioning or simply opening a nearby window on particularly hot days. Be aware that radiant heat produced by heaters, fires, and so on could also cause your console to run hot.

Open Your Console for a Deeper Clean

Opening your Xbox Series X or S console will void your warranty, so don’t do this unless your console is at least a year old (or two years old if you live somewhere with a standard two-year warranty). Most Xbox users won’t need to think about doing this until deep into the console’s lifespan, especially if they take care of their console by cleaning it and its surroundings regularly.

If you’ve started to notice that your console is louder, kicks out more heat, or you’re getting potentially heat-related sudden shutdowns, then it may be worth opening up your console and blowing out the dust with pressurized air.

You can find guides online for fixing Xbox Series X consoles and Xbox Series S consoles that overheat. These guides are in-depth and cover disassembly, dust removal (with a brush), as well as thermal paste replacement.

What Not to Do With an Overheating Xbox

If you suspect your Xbox is routinely overheating, you should take steps to remedy the situation. This could mean moving your console elsewhere (even temporarily), cleaning it, removing nearby heat sources, or even consulting a repair specialist. If your console is still under its standard warranty period, you should always contact Microsoft before attempting any repairs yourself.

Not addressing the problem could mean that you put your console at risk of heat-related damage.

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