Xbox gaming on your iPhone isn't dead yet — Microsoft has a new plan

Game Pass
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Game Pass is coming to iOS after all? No, Apple hasn't shown any signs of backing down there yet. But there's more than one way to play Xbox games on your iOS devices and Microsoft is about to test a new one.

Microsoft released a new Xbox app on Android on Monday that allows Xbox owners to stream downloaded games directly from their Xbox One to their Android smartphone, and The Verge reports Microsoft has confirmed the iOS version is already in review with Apple and offers "full parity between iOS and Android apps."

While Apple can be a little capricious in its App Store rulings, something that Fortnite's creator would love to tell you about, it seems like Microsoft is on pretty solid ground with this new game streaming effort for iOS.  

How is this different from Game Pass?

While Game Pass has you streaming a collection of games from Microsoft's servers to your device, the new app is simply streaming your existing downloaded game collection directly from your Xbox. 

This falls under a category of apps that Apple calls "Remote Desktop Clients" and because it is literally just passing a "generic mirror of the host device," it evades a number of other restrictions Apple has in place for such apps.

Here is (see below) a look at the service being tested by Tom Warren of The Verge back in October of last year. As you can see it is a 1:1 reproduction of what you would see on your console. 

PlayStation fans are probably screaming that this is essentially identical to PS4 Remote Play, which has been happily in the iOS App Store since March of last year, so it seems unlikely that Apple will suddenly put up a fight against such functionality now. 

While this obviously falls short of the bounty of games available via Game Pass, it should offer some solace to iOS fans that want to do some Xbox gaming away from their console. 

The App Store approval process typically only takes a few days at most, so if the app is really already under review, we should find out very soon if Apple has decided to take a different stance with Xbox game streaming.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.