Tag Archives: Xbox Series S

Protect Your Privacy on Xbox Series X/S – Settings to Change

Online privacy is officially a big deal for console gamers. The ninth generation of game consoles offer immersive social experiences. And to deliver them the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S are intended to be connected to the internet nearly all the time.

Microsoft, Sony, and their developers are always looking for methods to improve their software and products. And tracking the activity of their users is an important way they get feedback.

The trend has been for companies to not hold back in terms of collecting user data and sharing it with their partners such as advertisers. But the good news is that’s only the default. They also give their customers the ability to control which data is collected, and which isn’t. People that take the time to change their privacy settings are rewarded with greater anonymity as well as peace of mind knowing their actions are not being tracked.

One step Microsoft took in respecting its customers’ online privacy is the removal of technology that gathers voice data. Before the release of Xbox Series X/S in 2020 the company updated its privacy policy and announced it would no longer collect voice search or speech-to-text data on users. In contrast, the PS5 collects voice data by default and it can be turned off in the privacy settings.

Xbox users have the option of changing their privacy settings either on the console or through the web.

Ready to boost your privacy on Xbox Series X and S? Let’s get started!

Where to Change Your Privacy Setting on Xbox Series X/S

Xbox Series X and S offer a comprehensive list of privacy features ranging from presets for families to controlling the information other Xbox Live users can see about you.

To access your Xbox’s privacy features, press the Xbox button and then select Profile & System > Settings > Account > Xbox Live Privacy > Privacy & Online Safety.

General Privacy Settings for Families

One of the first things you’ll notice in the Xbox’s privacy settings are the defaults for children, teens, and adults. This approach makes it easy for parents to manage the accounts of each of their family members.

Child: These defaults are intended for young children and it has the highest level of privacy. Children can download free content such as games, videos, music, and apps. They need permission from an adult to add friends. They’re only able to communicate with approved friends and their name Is hidden. Even friends can only see their display name.

Teen: The Teen defaults are less restrictive than Child in terms of socializing. They’re still limited to downloading free content only. They’re given more freedom to connect with people (and to be connected with). Friends can see when they’re online and view their profile.

Adult: As you’d expect Adult has few restrictions. You can download whatever you like. And your activity is shared and visible to your friends.

Exploring Xbox’s Privacy Options

The privacy defaults give you a good starting point. From there you can drill down into the options and make additional tweaks if you desire.

For example, by going to Profile & System > Settings > Account > Privacy & Online Safety > Message Safety, you can specify who can contact you and through which channels of communication. These settings can be adjusted for voice, text, and messages.

If there are people on your friends list you don’t want to share everything with, Xbox allows you to manage this. You can determine which friends can see your real name, as well as who can comment on your activity feed. To change your feed settings, go to Settings > General > Online Safety & Family.

Finally, you’ll want to check which social media accounts your Xbox is connected to. Just hop onto Settings, then Account. It’s recommended that you disconnect any apps you haven’t used in the past six months.

Turning Off Data Collection

Microsoft’s announcement that it would no longer be collecting voice data from its users was a breath of fresh air.

They do still collect diagnostic and usage data about your console. This means Microsoft tracks the apps and features you use. Data collection is also used for error reporting, “to help improve console performance, troubleshooting, and more,” as they put it.

For online privacy aficionados, blocking data collection is one first things to do when they get a new console. While most of the Xbox’s privacy settings relate to how you share information with other users, this is a key option that stops Microsoft from tracking your activity.

Go to Privacy & Online Safety and then Data Collection. From here you can select ‘Block’ from the dropdown menu.

It’s also likely that Microsoft collects data related to their mailing list such as if their emails were opened, read, deleted, etc. If you’re not that interested in keeping up with Microsoft’s offers you’ll want to head to ‘Contact Preferences’ and remove yourself from their mailing list.

Boost Your Online Privacy with a VPN

Want to enjoy gaming with the highest level of privacy? Consider using a VPN.

So, what’s a VPN? It’s short for virtual private network. Essentially, it’s an encrypted tunnel that goes between your Xbox and the internet.

Companies and individuals can find out a lot about you such as your location when they have access to your IP address. VPNs replace your IP with a different IP that’s associated with any location you choose. It allows you to take your online privacy into your own hands rather than hoping for the best with privacy settings.

To learn about how to use a VPN with the Xbox Series X/S, check out this guide. And if you’re starting your research about VPN services visit LetMeBy’s reviews of the top choices.

Verdict

Unlike Sony’s PS5 the Xbox Series X/S doesn’t give you a list of options to configure in terms of data that is sent back to Microsoft. That’s good and more straightforward! All data collection can either be turned on or off.

Xbox shines at giving you many privacy options so you can control who sees your real name, your feed, who can contact you, etc. You’ll feel good about hopping on Xbox Live knowing your account can be as public or private as you like by tweaking the settings.

How to Hide your IP on Xbox One & Series X/S

xbox-one-settings

There are plenty of reasons why it’s better to protect your real IP by using a VPN with Xbox Live.

First, there are unscrupulous players that use DDOS attacks in games like Call of Duty to retaliate and get their rivals temporarily disconnected from online play.

Second, you’ll be able to take advantage of services available outside your country, such as the U.S. version of Netflix if you live in Canada, for example. Lastly, since games are released in different time zones or on different dates in other countries, you may be able to access new games sooner than your neighbors.

Unlike the PS5, you cannot set up a VPN server directly in Xbox system software. Instead you’ll need to share your computer’s VPN with your Xbox or centralize your VPN tunnel with a router so your home computer, devices, and Xbox all pass through it.

Whether you have an Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, or Xbox 360, the process is the same. That being said, let’s get to the nuts and bolts of hiding your IP address on Xbox.

First Method: Connecting to a VPN Through a Router

If you’re permitted to make changes to your entire home network, this is a straightforward way to change your IP.

Note that you’ll need a VPN to complete this tutorial. If you don’t have one, go to LetMeBy’s top-rated VPNs.

Step 1

You’ll need to use an Ethernet cable to connect your modem to your router using the WAN port.

Step 2

Next, open the router’s control panel. This is usually accessible via a Web browser. Enter the IP address associated with your router in the address bar of the browser. If you don’t know how to find the right IP, follow this tutorial for Windows.

The next steps will vary depending on the manufacturer/model of your router and the VPN company.

Step 3

Click on the ‘Basic Setup’ / ‘Network’ / ‘Basic’ tab in your router control panel or wherever you can find the options relating to WAN configuration or Internet connection.

Step 4

Enter the information provided by the VPN provider (username, password, gateway, subnet mask, etc.).

Step 5

Choose the protocol recommended by the VPN provider to work with their services (ex. PPTP w/ DD-WRT, OpenVPN w/ DD-WRT).

Step 6

Adjust the DCHP settings depending on the requirements of the VPN service.

Step 7

Click ‘Save’ / ‘Apply Settings’ / ‘Connect’ and you’re finished!

Second Method: Using a PC for VPN Setup

Another option is to use your Windows-based PC to share the VPN connection with your Xbox. This is divided into two parts: 1) Windows settings and 2) Xbox settings.

Windows Settings: Setting up the VPN

Step 1

In Windows, go to ‘Control Panel’ > ‘Network and Sharing Center’

Step 2

After you click on ‘Setup a New Connection or Network,’ a wizard will appear in a new window.

Step 3

Select ‘Connect to a Workplace’ then click ‘Next.’

Step 4

When the wizard asks you how you’d like to connect, choose ‘Use my Internet Connection (VPN).’

Step 5

Enter the Internet Address and Destination Name given to you by the VPN provider. After you’ve finished filling in the details, click on ‘Next.’

Step 6

Finally, enter the Username and Password provided by the VPN service and click ‘Connect’.

Now that you’ve completed the settings on the PC side, you’re ready to fire up your Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, or 360 and proceed with the next part.

Xbox Settings: Connecting to the VPN

Step 1

Press the ‘Xbox’ or ‘LIVE’ button on your Xbox controller.

Step 2

Go to the ‘Settings’ tab and choose ‘System Settings.’

Step 3

Now that you’re in the ‘System Settings’ menu, you can select ‘Network Settings.’

Step 4

Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, or 360 will now automatically detect the Wi-Fi connections that are available. Choose the appropriate network from the list.

Step 5

Now, enter the WPA key. It can be found printed on sticker on the underside of your router.

Step 6

Finally, the Xbox system software will prompt you to ‘Test Connection.’ Do this to ensure you’re ready to use the VPN with your favorite games!

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