If you want to play Microsoft Xbox games on your Mac there are two easy ways to do so on your desktop. One is by running Windows on your Mac using Parallels and using the Microsoft Xbox Game Pass service.
The other is via an app called OneCast which allows you to stream Xbox games to your Mac.
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Here’s then are the best ways to play Xbox games on a Mac.
You also need an Xbox Game Pass but you can get one for an introductory offer of $1 for the first month and then $9.99 per month afterwards.
Even better, you can connect your Xbox controller to a Mac via Bluetooth meaning you can enjoy the full Xbox experience on your Mac.
Installing Windows on your Mac also opens up a whole world of other advantages allowing you to install PC only apps and games on macOS.
Note that although you can install Windows on M1/M2 Macs with Parallels, it doesn’t work as well for playing Xbox games as on Intel Macs.
This is because of problems pairing the Xbox controller via Bluetooth in Parallels which doesn’t work on Apple Silicon Macs yet.
The Xbox app does now work natively on Apple Silicon ARM chip Macs however and as long as you’re happy to play Xbox games without a controller, it works fine on M1 and M2 chip Macs.
You can try Parallels for free to test it for yourself.
You can find out more in our full review of Parallels.
OneCast allows you to stream Xbox One games to macOS in 1080p and connect an Xbox controller to your Mac via Bluetooth or USB.
OneCast is extremely easy to setup, there’s almost no lag when playing and you can setup multiple profiles for multiple Xboxes.
OneCast is also the best way to play Xbox games on M1 and M2 Macs if you want to use a controller since at the moment, you can’t pair an Xbox controller via Bluetooth with Windows running in Parallels on Apple Silicon Macs.
Note that OneCast only works with the Xbox One – it doesn’t work with Series S or X.
You can try OneCast for free although after 14 days it costs $9.99 to buy a license key for the full version.
Before starting, make sure that your Mac and Xbox are connected to the same internet router at home. Then follow these instructions to start streaming Xbox games to your Mac for free:
- Download the trial version of OneCast for free and open the DMG file downloaded.
- Drag the OneCast app to your Applications folder.
- Click on the OneCast icon in your dock to launch it.
- OneCast will then automatically detect your Xbox on your home network (assuming it’s switched on) and allow you to connect to it. OneCast will prompt you to login into your Xbox with your Microsoft account details. Just use the same username and password that you use to log onto your Xbox One.
- Finally you simply need to connect your Xbox One controller to your Mac which you can do by activating Bluetooth on your Mac via System Preferences. Alternatively you can also connect it via USB.
You can also use the free app Controlly which allows you to easily connect a Playstation or XBox controller to your Mac.
Controlly allows you to easily map out controls and can even be used to control your Trackpad cursor and even launch apps.
You can stream your Xbox on your Mac in either windowed mode or full screen mode. You can even connect your Mac to your Xbox away from home too although this requires a few simple manual network configuration changes which are explained in the OneCast user manual.
Although there is some lag at times, most games run pretty smoothly in 1080p using OneCast and it’s generally very impressive. If you find that lag becomes a problem, you can try changing the video quality when you launch OneCast from “Very High” to “High”, “Medium” or “Low”.
It is also a good idea to shut down all other applications while using OneCast as it’s quite GPU intensive and your Macs cooling vents will kick in pretty quickly if you’ve got lots of other applications open.
You can watch OneCast in action playing NBA Live on a Mac below.
The Mac gaming scene is really hotting-up with NVIDIA GeForce Now already allowing Mac users to play Windows only Steam games on Mac.
Previously the only way to run Xbox games on Mac was to install Windows on Mac for free using Boot Camp but both Parallels and OneCast are definitely easier and more efficient.
Unfortunately though, Steam has dropped support for VR gaming on Mac meaning installing Windows on macOS is still the best way to experience VR games and apps on Mac.
If you’re having any problems playing Xbox games on your Mac, let us know in the comments below.