Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Xbox One Works

New Features With Xbox One

Just like you could with its predecessor, with Xbox One you can download lots of apps and pin the ones you want for quick access on your home screen. However, your home screen and other digital content, such as game downloads and save spots, are saved in the cloud, and you can access them from any Xbox One.

The device now allows multitasking. You can give Xbox One the "snap" voice command to bring up a second application on the right side of your television screen alongside whatever you were already doing. For instance, "Xbox, snap Internet Explorer," will bring up the Web browser next to the current app. To switch control between the two on-screen items, you use the "switch" voice command or double-tap the home button on the controller. You can Skype while watching a movie or hunt for hints while playing a game. One of the apps will appear in a smaller portion of the screen, kind of like old school picture-in-picture.

Xbox One also allows you to instantly switch from one app to another. If you say, "Xbox, watch TV," while you are playing a game, it will switch you to TV, but keep your game saved in active memory until you come back to it (or until you switch to another game or turn off the console), and you can pick up right where you left off. Several apps can be held in memory at once, with a maximum of 10, although the maximum will decrease if the programs you are running are memory hogs.

Another time-saving advance is that updates and downloads happen in the background instead of when you turn on your machine or log on, so you should be able to go about your entertainment-devouring business with fewer interruptions.

An Xbox Live Gold membership is required for a lot of advanced features including Skype, multiplayer gaming, Game DVR, Upload Studio, The NFL on Xbox One, Internet Explorer and the Xbox SmartGlass app.