Last year, Microsoft made a number of changes to its energy usage modes on Xbox consoles, as a way to grant users more options and ultimately, try and save on power consumption. Well, those efforts are continuing into the new year, and this next update is a pretty interesting one - Xbox consoles are about to become "carbon aware".
Basically, an upcoming update (which is currently rolling out to Xbox Insiders) will allow your Xbox console to judge when to draw power for updates, downloads and the like, depending on what energy source your local provider is using at a certain time. So, rather than your Xbox console waking up at a pre-determined time during the wee hours, it'll wake up based on when it can use "the most renewable energy", according to Microsoft.
These changes are also accompanied by a few more user-driven options for players to take note of. As of the latest Insider update, the "Shutdown" energy saving mode will be automatically enabled for all users, swapped over from "Sleep" if that's your current option. Background updates now occur in energy saver mode anyway, and thanks to the new-gen SSDs doing work, Xbox Series X and S will still boot up super quickly (Xbox One boots are slower when using the "Shutdown" mode).
Finally, the team is adding a settings option that allows users to choose their console's "active hours" - a certain time frame where the system will be ready to go in "Sleep" mode, before switching back to "Shutdown" at all other times. This sounds like a hybrid mode of sorts, where users can choose a certain time slot to be able to access features like remote wake up before the console goes back to energy saver mode.
These sound like a great set of updates to be honest, especially as ultimately, the user is granted plenty of choice regarding power options at this point. These new features will be ready for all Xbox users shortly, following a round of insider testing that has already begun.