However, the fancy new Xbox feature is actually turned off by default, which means that many of you might be blissfully unaware of its existence unless you’re the sort who diligently follows each and every Xbox system update.
So what is this game-changing feature, then? Well, if you’ve ever used a wired or wireless pair of headphones on Xbox Series X, you’re probably used to picking up the remote controller and turning down your TV speakers.
It’s something that I’ve grown accustomed to over the years because unlike the PS4 and PS5, which automatically mutes your TV whenever a headset is connected, the Xbox One and its subsequent models never did.
But thankfully, that’s no longer the case.
The sound of silence
In December of last year, an update dropped which added an option to mute TV audio whenever you connect a wired or wireless headset – and it’s an absolute godsend. You’ll need to head to ‘Settings’, ‘Volume and audio output’, ‘Additional Options’, and look for ‘Mute speaker audio when headset attached’. Tick this box and you’re good to go.
Now, as if by magic, whenever you attach a wired headset to your controller using the headphone jack or use something like the Xbox Wireless Headset which the console recognizes, your speaker audio will mute automatically.
That means no more echoing background audio because you forgot to mute the TV, and the days of telling someone to “turn down their speakers” because you can hear their game audio blasting out through party chat will hopefully become a thing of the past.
It’s been a long time coming
This seemingly simple feature was something I actually requested way back in January 2021, so it’s great to see that Microsoft has been able to add it, even if it has taken an inexplicably long time to arrive.
It made sense when the Xbox One was released in 2013 as the original controller didn’t even have a 3.5mm headphone jack. But when the revised version of Microsoft’s popular pad arrived, it suddenly became a particularly irksome omission – something which made less and less sense as the years rolled on.
Credit to Microsoft, though. The Xbox team has continued to push out meaningful system updates that can either make minor or more substantial improvements to the user experience. Xbox One consoles in particular have also benefited from updates like Xbox Cloud Gaming, even though Microsoft ended Xbox One S production in 2021.
But please, turn it on
It’s admittedly frustrating that the feature is off by default, though, as I’ve encountered a number of people who understandably don’t even realize it’s there. There’s really no downside to muting TV audio if you’re using a headset, either, as I’ve never understood why you’d want the TV speaker on in the first place.
So the next time you’re despairing at your teammate that you can hear their TV, tell them about this setting. One day, we’ll finally be able to eradicate this annoying scenario for good.
Consider this article a call to action, then, because I implore anyone who has an Xbox console to turn on ‘Mute speaker audio when headset is attached’ right now for the good of the community’s ears and blood pressure levels.
- Inside Xbox’s backward compatibility journey with Microsoft’s Jason Ronald