Xbox One randomly turns on: causes and fixes

It’s the middle of the night and you’re asleep in bed. Suddenly, you hear your Xbox One startup chime and your TV turns on. It’s unnerving when your Xbox randomly turns on by itself. Is there a way to fix this issue?

I spent hours researching this problem and found a few ways to stop your Xbox One from randomly turning on. Don’t worry, your Xbox One is (probably) not possessed.

Why Does My Xbox One Randomly Turn On?

In most cases, your Xbox One is randomly turning on because something is triggering the power button.

The power button on Xbox One uses capacitive sensors. It can be triggered by a wide variety of factors, such as dirt, hair, or power surges. The original Xbox One had extremely sensitive power buttons.

The easiest way to stop your Xbox One from randomly turning on is to wipe the power button with isopropyl alcohol. It’s also a good idea to clear the area around the power button because something could be rubbing against it.

Let’s walk through some other potential fixes for this problem.

Xbox One Randomly Turns On Fixes

1. Clean the Power Button

Dip a Q-tip into some isopropyl alcohol and wipe the Xbox One power button with it. The power button on Xbox One consoles is extremely sensitive and there might be a hair that is activating it. Even something like the rays of sunshine can activate the power button sensors.

2. Replace The Power Brick

The Xbox One uses an external power brick with its own power supply unit. Occasionally, the units go bad. Unfortunately, Microsoft no longer manufactures Xbox One power bricks, but you can find replacement parts online.

Replacing the power brick on your Xbox One might stop it from randomly turning on. If you can’t find a replacement, you could try cleaning the power supply with compressed air. The brick can be a magnet for dust.

3. Keep the Xbox One Out of Reach of Pets

Pets, like dogs or cats, could brush against the Xbox One and trigger the power button. I had a friend whose dog would like to nudge the power button with its nose, which would turn the Xbox One on at random times.

To prevent pets from turning on your Xbox One, consider placing it out of reach, or inside an entertainment cabinet. If you do place your Xbox One in a cabinet, make sure there’s sufficient space on either side of the cabinet for some airflow, or the console may overheat and randomly turn off.

4. Perform a Full Shutdown

Most of the time, when you select “Shut down console” from the operating system, the Xbos won’t fully shut down. Instead, it puts the console into sleep mode. You can activate a full shutdown from within the console’s power options.

How to fully shut down an Xbox One:

  • Open Settings
  • in General, select Power Mode & Startup
  • Locate Full Shutdown
  • Wait for the console to restart

If your Xbox One was acting strange, a full shutdown should improve the performance.

5. Enable Energy-Saving Mode

When your Xbox is set to energy-saving (also called shutdown) mode, it will start up a little slower, but it uses less power.

Here’s how to enable energy-saving mode on Xbox One:

  • Open Settings
  • in General, select Power Mode & Startup
  • Change Power Mode to Energy-Saving
  • Restart your console

Keep in mind, when your Xbox’s power option is set to energy-saving, you won’t be able to remotely access it unless it’s already turned on.

6. Power cycle the Xbox

Power cycling an Xbox will usually clear up any software issues and improve performance. To power cycle, unplug the Xbox from the wall outlet, wait a full minute, and plug it back in. Power cycling will drain any residual electricity from the Xbox.

I would also press the power button a few times while the power cable is unplugged. Power cycling also helps when your Xbox One keeps signing you out.

7. Check for a Possible Static Discharge

Since the power button uses sensors, something like a static discharge could be triggering it.

It’s not easy to track the source of a static discharge, but you can start by checking if the rubber legs on the Xbox are grounded. Make sure nothing metallic is touching the Xbox and it has breathing room on each side.

Another good idea is to plug your Xbox directly into a wall outlet, instead of a surge protector or power strip.

8. Disable Automatic Updates

The Xbox One was designed to update in the background, even when it’s not on. However, some people have reported that the console will turn on when it installs a new update. To prevent that, disable automatic updates.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Settings
  2. System
  3. Updates
  4. Uncheck “Keep my console up to date”

You might need to restart the console for the changes to take effect.

9. Troubleshoot Your Controller

Since your controller can remotely turn on your Xbox, it might be what’s causing the problem. To troubleshoot your controller, remove the batteries, and let it sit for a minute or two. Removing the batteries will reset the controller.

If you suspect your controller might be faulty, consider buying a new one.

10. Update Your Controller

Your controller might be malfunctioning due to a software issue. A firmware update should clear that up for you.

Plug your controller into a USB port on your Xbox One and check if it has any firmware updates. If an update is available, a prompt should appear on your screen.

To manually check for updates, open the Xbox Accessories app, select the three dots, and choose “Update Controller”.

You can also remove the batteries from your main controller and use a spare one to see if the Xbox One still turns on. If your Xbox still turns on randomly, even when the controller isn’t connected, you can rule out the controller.

If your controller keeps disconnecting, read our guide here.

11. Wi-Fi Surge or Wireless Interference

Another reason your Xbox One is randomly turning is that it’s detecting surges in Wi-Fi or other wireless networks. If your router is very close to your Xbox One, consider moving it to a different location.

Speaking of your router, some people have reported that 5GHz Wi-Fi can also be triggering the button. In that case, consider splitting your Wi-Fi into two networks: 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

The Bottom Line

To summarize, my best solution is to clean the power button. You can also take it a step further and blow compressed air into the front panel of the console. If that doesn’t work, the second best option would be to replace the power brick.

Image credit: Photo by Corey Willett on Unsplash

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About Tim Gagnon

Timothy Gagnon is a tech blogger and writer. When he's not dissembling computers, he's researching the latest tech gadgets and trends.

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