How to use Xbox Series X Quick Resume

Xbox Series S review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Fast loading times are a major selling point of the PS5, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, with all three consoles able to boot up large games in seconds rather than minutes. But only Microsoft's consoles have the ability to bounce between multiple games in mere seconds. 

This feature is called Quick Resume, and it does exactly what it says. You can have multiple games running at once, and jump between them to pick up from where you left off as if you’d simply paused the game. There’s no awkward starting again from saves or checkpoints. 

Given how fast games will load from a cold start, you might wonder if Quick Resume is a big deal. But after you’ve tried it, you’re almost sure to be impressed. There’s something super satisfying about being able to bounce between games without wasting time waiting for them to shut down and boot up. 

The PS5 doesn't have an answer to Quick Resume, giving the Xbox Series X and even the cheaper, less-powerful Series S an ace in the hole in the (somewhat contrived) console wars. Here’s what you need to know about Quick Resume and how to use it. 

How does Quick Resume work?  

Quick Resume make use of Microsoft’s Xbox Velocity Architecture, which uses a combination of the custom PCIe 4.0 SSD, improved data decompression, custom APIs and Sampler Feedback Streaming (SFS, which helps render game textures more efficiently), to load games up from a frozen state.  

Essentially, the Xbox captures an "instance" of the game you're playing and stores it in the SSD. Then, using the Xbox Velocity Architecture, it can load this instance up in a matter of seconds, and drop you back in the game from exactly where you left off.  

Quick Resume can store up to five game instances in the SSD at once, which means you can jump in and out of games to your heart’s content. It is worth noting that Microsoft is still working on optimizing games to make use of Quick Resume, so some games will need to reboot from scratch if you suddenly load a new game up. 

You’ll be able to tell Quick Resume is working, as a label will appear in the top right-hand side of your display when you load up a previously played game.

How to use Quick Resume 

Quick Resume is enabled by default on both the Xbox Series X and Series S. There's no need to go digging around in menus or other options to switch it on. 

To use it, simply start a game that’s compatible with Quick Resume. These should be tagged as “X/S” on their thumbnails, although some optimized games don't yet work with the Velocity Architecture. 

One you’re in a game, hit the Xbox button on the controller, then use the pop-up menu to navigate to another game and load it up. Alternatively, head to the home menu and boot up a new game from there. 

Once two games are up and running, you can simply press the Xbox button on the controller again and select the other game - or games - that you have recently used. Doing that will load up the selected game, with a few seconds of cover art taking up the screen. It'll then drop you back in right where you left off, albeit with the pause screen or main menu open. 

Quick Resume will still work if the Xbox Series X has been switched off, or even unplugged, which feels more like magic than clever Microsoft engineering. 

Do bear in mind that if you try to have more than five games in Quick Resume states, the feature will end up rebooting some games from scratch, without any warning. As Quick Resume is still under development, so there are a few bugs and instances where it hasn't worked, so make sure you still save your games as you go along. We can expect the feature to get a little smoother and more transparent as it progresses. 

And don’t try and use Quick Resume in a multiplayer game mode, as you'll get booted from your match.  (Admittedly, we’re not sure who’s going to momentarily duck out of a frenetic deathmatch to go exploring in Ori and the WIll of the Wisps.)

If you want to purge games from your Quick Resume memory, then simply navigate to them in the main menu, hit the options button on the Xbox Wireless Controller and select the “Quit” option. That shuts the game down completely, meaning it'll need to be booted up anew when you play it again. 

In short, Quick Resume is trivially easy to use, and it set to get a lot better as more games can can tap into it. We’re not going to say it’s Microsoft's crowning achievement, but it’s certainly a very neat feature of the new Xbox consoles. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.