Xbox One S Tip: Enjoy Background Music

Posted on August 5, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Groove Music, Music + Videos, Xbox One with 0 Comments



UPDATE: This article has been replaced by Xbox One Tip: Enjoy Background Music, which provides more up-to-date information. –Paul


Xbox One S owners can now enjoy background music playback and control on their consoles. This feature still requires app support, so the ways in which you can keep music playing in the background are currently limited.

Note: Background music playback and control was introduced in the Xbox One August Update, and is available to all Xbox One users, not just those with an Xbox One S.

As I noted in August Update to Deliver Some Anniversary Update Features to Xbox One, this eagerly-awaited new feature lets media apps continue playing music in the background when you navigate away from the app.

Currently, there aren’t too many apps that support this feature. The most notable is Pandora, though that only works in the U.S. But Microsoft is testing a new version of Groove that supports background audio with Xbox Preview members as well, and I’m sure other music players will add this functionality soon.

The benefits of this are obvious, and those who had wanted to do something as simple as play a photo slide show from OneDrive while playing music can finally do so. But you can also simply navigate around the Dashboard—perhaps visit the Store, find something to download, whatever—without having to worry about playback interruptions.

Of course, the big question is how you control playback when the app is running in the background. It requires a few extra steps: You double-tap the Xbox button on your controller to open Xbox Guide, choose Multitasking, an then select the music controls at the top of the pane. These include a nice background volume slider.


You can also snap your music app, of course, and leave its controls on-screen all the time.

Those with local music collections might also consider an app called Simple Background Music Player. This app will play any music found on a USB storage device: You just need to put it in a folder called Xbox Music Library.


This is kind of a caveman way to enjoy music, but I think app is really just there as a proof of concept, and it’s a nice way to see—or, hear—background music in action. To test this, I copied some music onto a USB drive, started playing it with Simple Background Music Player, and then launched Call of Duty: Black Ops III.


Even from within the game, I was able to control music playback using the Xbox Guide-based controls. And that includes evening out the game and music volumes with the background volume slider.

Background music playback will be much more useful when Groove and iHeartRadio are updated to support this feature. But it does work well now in those apps that already do so.


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