Don't believe the viral dusty Xbox Series X photo on Reddit — here's why

Xbox Series X console
(Image credit: Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

There’s an image doing the rounds on Reddit that shows the back of an Xbox Series X stuffed with dust where it has ports to vent heat. It’s a somewhat alarming photo that may have you rushing to take a look at your console’s rear to make sure the vents are blocked and your Xbox Series X isn’t at risk of overheating.  

But the thing is, we at Tom's Guide reckon it's a lot of nonsense. 

I’ve had Microsoft’s flagship games console before it was released so I could bring you my Xbox Series X review, meaning it’s had some 18 months of use. And I can't see any dust on its vents at all. 

psa_check_the_back_of_your_xbox_once_in_a_while from r/XboxSeriesX

Now I live in a small, old-ish one-bed apartment by a main road, meaning the place sucks up dust with gusto, despite my regular vacuuming. And my Series X has been located behind my TV — even after I upgraded to the excellent LG C1 OLED — in what could be seen as a dust trap. Yet there’s no sign of dust building up on the rear vents, even though there’s a little lint-like dust on the hard-to-reach parts of my TV.

But I’m not alone here. Thanks to tracking Xbox Series X restocks, a good few members of the Tom’s Guide team have the Xbox Series X. Deals editor Rory Mellon snapped a photo of his Series X noting that there’s some dust on the rims of the vent holes, but hardly anything to worry about.

Rory's Xbox Series X

Rory Mellon's Xbox Series X only has a hint of dust on the vent holes.  (Image credit: Future)

Automotive editor Tom Prichard also checked out the back of his Xbox Series X and again noted there was some sprinkling of dust particles, but nothing nearing the mess of dust seen in the Reddit image.

Furthermore, our homes editor Katie Mortram, who’s somewhat of a cleaning expert, reckons the image is fake given how the dust is sitting on the Xbox Series X: “I'm pretty sure that's fake as the dust is too focused. I can't see it realistically building up in a single spot like that unless it was exposed to something heavily coated in dust.”

Tom's Xbox Series X

 Tom Prichard's Xbox Series X is also pretty dust-free.  (Image credit: Future)

It’s not uncommon for people to put doctored images on Reddit to garner attention or poke fun at certain devices; maybe it's a PS5 fan who wants to slam Xbox Series X, as the console war never seems to be truly over. Though there’s also a good few commenters in the Reddit thread also expressing disbelief at the photos.

That’s not to say that such a situation is impossible, as I know gaming PCs can get very dusty. But that type of build up takes years of use (I've just peered into my gaming PC that I’ve had for some three and a bit years, and it’s rather dust-free), and I can’t see how such dust build up will have happened on a fairly new console, especially as the Xbox Series X has been very hard to get until more recently.

For such a dust build up to have happened, one would need to have placed the Series X in a place where there's some very heavy dust flow. And in that case, I’d argue they would have bigger things to worry about (like their personal health) than some clogged console vents.

While I’m calling out this Reddit photo, there's no harm in checking out your Xbox Series X vents, or indeed those on other consoles, especially if you’ve had them for a while, as keeping them dust-free can help ensure they run well. 

A dusty console can restrict airflow, meaning a console gets hotter and then the fans crank up to try and force more through the system, and thus get distractingly noisy. This has reportedly been the case with old PS4 consoles, with a good cleaning out resulting in quieter fan noise.

So by all means, go and check out the back of your Xbox Series X. But I’d advise you don’t panic and take Reddit images with a dose of healthy skepticism.

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. 

  • Tea-mental
    Hey! Viral dusty Xbox Series X guy here - I may live in dust ridden squalor, but I'm no Charlatan!

    ..I also have a very hairy dog