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How to Fix an Xbox One That Turns on by Itself: 7 Easy Solutions

It can be bizarre, maybe even a it spooky, when you’re in a deep sleep and the whirring sound from the fan of your console powering on wakes you up to a room brightened by light from the Xbox One power button. The Xbox turning on by itself is actually a common issue, but what’s going on here?

Your Xbox One may turn on by itself when the controller home button is pressed, when Cortana misinterprets you saying “Xbox On,” or as part of routine system updates triggering a reboot. If this is happening frequently, investigating other causes like HDMI-CEC triggers may be needed to stop it.

Now that we know this issue is common and there are a couple of ways to fix it let’s get into details of how to troubleshoot the drawback and do away with it for good. First, we’ll look at the most common causes for this issue so you can try to make a judgement call on where to start. Then, we’ll turn our attention toward detailed fixes for each of the possible causes.

Why Does Your Xbox One Turn On by Itself?

The Xbox One (on Amazon) can spook you when it roars to life in the middle of the night. Here are some of the reasons it turns on by itself:

Sensitive Power Buttons

The main reason your Xbox One turns on by itself could be because of its overly sensitive power button. The Xbox One has a capacitive power button rather than the regular mechanical power button.

An upside of the capacitive power button is that you don’t have to press it hard to turn on your console. Its downside, however, is that even the tiniest of particles such as dirt, dust, or food can make the button faulty.

Children or pets can also turn on the console accidentally by brushing against the sensitive power button while passing through. It’s unlikely, but remember the power button glows and chimes when you touch it – if a cat learns that, they may learn to “play” with it and turn your console on!

Aside from the console, remember the remote also has a power button in the center. If you fall asleep with your controller nearby, on the bed or couch, you may simply roll over onto it and trigger the Xbox by hitting that button on the controller.

Xbox One Controller Issues

Your Xbox One could be turning on by itself because the controller is malfunctioning. In most cases, the controller can automatically switch on the console if the Xbox button on the controller is faulty.

Cortana Error

If you use a Kinect device to give your Xbox One verbal commands, then it could be that Cortana misinterpreted a phrase from your conversation and turned on your console.

The phrase “Xbox On” or any other phrase that sounds like it triggers Cortana to turn on the console.

HDMI Control

Some TVs have the HDMI-CEC feature, which allows the telly to control HDMI devices like the Xbox One. If your TV supports this feature, turning it on may prompt the console to automatically turn on with the TV.

Instant-On Mode Problem

Your Xbox One could also be turning on by itself because of the instant-on mode. This pre-installed feature allows the Xbox to go into low power mode rather than shutting down completely, making it boot up faster when you turn it on again.

The issue with this feature is that it turns on the console by itself, and it also consumes a little electricity even when the Xbox is off, which eventually piles up on the electricity bill.

Automatic System Updates

Another reason your Xbox One turns on by itself is because it might be carrying on with pending updates and downloads. This is made possible by the instant-on mode. If you haven’t updated your console in a while, it could turn on and go through an automatic update process to install new firmware and get rid of bugs.

Console Malfunction

Your Xbox One could turn on by itself due to its delicate interior components malfunctioning. The breakdown could be caused by poor maintenance, overheating, and excessive console use.

How to Stop Xbox One From Turning on by Itself

Black joystick in hands isolated on white background

Before you get frustrated and decide to replace your console, try out the following quick fixes to see if your Xbox One stops turning on by itself:

Change the Location of Your Xbox One

You can place your Xbox One on a high shelf where it will be out of the reach of toddlers or pets.

In addition to swapping its location, you can also clean it regularly using a microfiber cloth, especially around the power button, to clear away dirt or debris that might be switching it on. It’s also a great way of keeping your console healthy and operating optimally.

Check the Controller

To find out if your controller is the source of this issue, remove its batteries for some time, then check if the console still turns on by itself. If the problem doesn’t occur again after removing the controller’s batteries, it’s the one that causes the issue. Here is how you can fix it:

  • First, clean the controller and ensure the Xbox button isn’t stuck down.
  • If cleaning doesn’t fix it, it might have deeper issues, and you’ll have to take it to a repair shop.
  • Purchase a new Xbox One controller (on Amazon) if the problem is unfixable.

When you repair your controller or if you decide to buy a new one, you’ll have to keep it safe and far away from children to avoid future incidents of them damaging the Xbox button again. 

Deactivate Cortana

To deactivate Cortana, you’ll first have to unplug the Kinect device or headset, allowing Cortana to turn on the Xbox One via voice command, then:

  1. Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the guide and head to the Settings tab.
  1. Navigate to Cortana Settings and select it.
  1. A Cortana settings menu will appear on the right side of the screen.
  1. Scroll down to the option labeled “Cortana can give you suggestions, ideas, reminders, alerts, and more.”
  1. Press A on your controller and confirm the option to turn off Cortana and restart your console.

Disable HDMI-CEC Option

You can also disable the HDMI-CEC feature on your TV or Xbox One to prevent the console from turning on when you switch on the TV.

To disable this option on the Xbox One:

  1. Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the guide.
  1. Navigate to Profile & System and select Settings.
  1. Next, go to General, and on the tab on the right side, select TV & display options.
  1. Scroll down to Device control.
  1. Remove the checkmark on the box next to the “HDMI-CEC” option if it has a tick.

Here is a basic guide for disabling HDMI-CEC on TV:

  1. First, press the Menu button on the remote control.
  1. Navigate to Settings.
  1. Look for CEC and select it.
  1. Finally, press OK to disable the feature.

Since there are different TV brands, it would be best to read through your TV’s instruction manual or contact the manufacturer for a detailed guide on disabling HDMI-CEC on your TV.

Disable Instant-On Mode

If the problem isn’t solved yet, you’ll have to disable the instant-on feature on your Xbox One. Here is how to do it:

  1. First, press the Guide button on your controller.
  1. Next, click on the System option, then select Settings.
  1. Scroll to Power and Startup and select Power mode and Startup
  1. Click on Power Mode, then select Energy Saving.
  1. Restart your console.

Disable Automatic System Updates

If you don’t want to disable the instant-on feature, you can disable automatic system updates on your Xbox One and check if it fixes the issue. To do it:

  1. Press the Guide button on your controller.
  1. Navigate to System and select Settings.
  1. On the Settings tab, scroll down to System again and select it.
  1. A new tab will appear on the right, where you’ll select Updates and Downloads.
  1. Remove the tick on the box next to the “Keep my console up to date” option.
  1. Scroll down and remove the tick on the box next to the options labeled “Keep my games & apps up to date” and “Allow remote installations.” (Removing the tick on these two options will prevent game updates or queued downloads from turning on your console)
  1. Restart your Xbox One.

You can also watch this short tutorial video to understand how to disable the automatic system updates completely.

Power Cycle the Xbox One

If your Xbox One turns on by itself due to a software glitch, you can power cycle the console via the power supply to fix this issue. Here is how to do it:

  1. Press and hold the Xbox button on the console for around 10 seconds until it shuts down.
  1. Unplug the power cable and wait for about 10 seconds again.
  1. Plug the power cable back into the console.
  1. Press and hold the Xbox button on the console to power it on.

Alternatively, you could power cycle your Xbox One by pressing and holding the power button on the console for approximately 10 seconds to turn it off and then turn it on by pressing the Xbox button again.

Once the console is back on, confirm whether the power cycle successfully fixed the issue. If the problem persists, you’ll have to take your Xbox One to an expert for a check-up.

Contact Xbox Customer Support

If you have tried out all these quick fixes, but your Xbox One still turns on by itself, you could contact Xbox support and schedule a repair. Xbox could also replace your console if your warranty card is still valid.