Microsoft Xbox App Compact Mode: A Handy Feature for Handheld PC Gamers

Microsoft has recently introduced a new feature for its Xbox app on Windows 11: the Compact Mode. This mode is designed to make the app more user-friendly and accessible for handheld PC gaming devices, such as the Asus ROG Ally and the Lenovo Legion Go. In this article, we will explore what the Compact Mode is, how it works, and why it is a useful addition for portable PC gamers.


What is the Compact Mode?

The Compact Mode is a new option that allows users to shrink the sidebar of the Xbox app, giving more space and visibility to the main window. The sidebar, which normally shows the user’s profile, achievements, friends, and other options, can be collapsed into a set of small icons that can be expanded when needed.

This way, users can focus on browsing and launching their games, without sacrificing the functionality of the app. The Compact Mode can be enabled or disabled by clicking on the icon at the bottom left corner of the app, next to the settings button. The mode is currently available to Xbox Insiders, and will be rolled out to all users in the future, according to an Xbox Wire blog post.

The Xbox app on Windows now has a handheld compact mode that’s rolling out to everyone:

How Does the Compact Mode Work?

The Compact Mode works by hiding the labels and texts of the sidebar options and showing only the icons. For example, instead of showing the word “Achievements”, the mode shows a trophy icon.

When the user hovers over the icon, the label pops up, and when the user clicks on it, the option expands to fill the sidebar. The user can then access the achievements of their games and collapse the option when they are done.

The Compact Mode also adjusts the size and layout of the main window to fit the smaller screens of handheld devices. The app shows fewer games per row and uses larger fonts and buttons to make it easier for users to read and select their games. The app also supports touch input, so users can swipe and tap on the screen, as well as use a controller or a keyboard.

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Why is the Compact Mode Useful?

The Compact Mode is useful because it improves the user experience and performance of the Xbox app on handheld PC gaming devices. These devices, which are similar in size and shape to the Nintendo Switch, are becoming more popular among PC gamers who want to play their games on the go.

However, these devices also face some challenges, such as limited battery life, storage space, and compatibility with Windows 11. The Xbox app, which is the gateway to PC Game Pass and digital games from the Microsoft Store, is one of the essential apps for handheld PC gamers.

However, the app was not designed for smaller screens and often felt cluttered and cumbersome to use on handheld devices. The Compact Mode solves this problem, by making the app more streamlined and responsive, and by reducing the unnecessary elements that take up space and resources.

The Compact Mode also benefits desktop PC gamers who want to connect their PC to a TV and play with a controller, as it makes the app more suitable for larger screens and couch gaming. The mode also gives users more choice and flexibility, as they can switch between the modes depending on their preference and situation.


The Compact Mode is a new feature for the Xbox app on Windows 11, that makes the app more compatible and convenient for handheld PC gaming devices. The mode allows users to shrink the sidebar of the app, and focus on the main window, where they can browse and launch their games.

The mode also optimizes the app for smaller screens and supports touch and controller input. The mode is a welcome addition for portable PC gamers as well as desktop PC gamers who want to play on a TV. The model is currently available to Xbox Insiders and will be released to all users soon.

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