The next time you turn on your Xbox One, things might look a little different. Microsoft's tweaked various elements of the One's user interface over the years, but this week's release of the August 2020 Xbox One update starts implementing the features that will also ship with the Xbox Series X later this year. It's a big step for unifying the Xbox ecosystem, but more importantly, it's adding nice quality of life features.
Visually, things aren't straying from Microsoft's flat Metro aesthetic, but functionally things are getting cleaned right up. The Xbox One Guide menu is being reorganized to prioritize quick access to the Dashboard, your various games and apps, and recent activities. It also now features shortcuts along the bottom for things like notifications and audio settings (truly, the less time spent hunting around in menus for either of those, the better).
Speaking of audio, parties are also getting a huge, long overdue improvement. Starting with the August 2020 update, you'll be able to individually control the volume of each member in a party. No more wincing through a match of Warzone because your friend inexplicably has a microphone that drowns out other party members and the game.
Xbox Insiders will also see some more subtle aesthetic changes rolling out this week on Xbox One, which will bring the UI's tiles and fonts closer to Microsoft's Xbox apps for PC and mobile. Microsoft promises that these tweaks won't drastically change the interface—in other words, small differences aside, the updates between now and the launch of the Series X will keep pushing the One's interface gradually closer to that of its successor, along with those of the various Xbox apps.
Another feature Insiders will get to try out early is signing on as many Xboxes or Xbox apps as they want. You'll still only be allowed to play games on one system per account at a time, but other features and applications will be able to work across all the logged-in devices simultaneously.
With the Series X launching in November, we can probably expect another update around that time to bring the One's interface even closer to parity. While current-gen owners won't be getting fancy new features like Quick Resume or drastically improved loading times, the look of the two interfaces should be nigh indistinguishable.