If you want to play Microsoft Xbox games on your Mac here we’ve looked at the easiest ways to play Xbox games on a Mac in 2023 including Xbox Series S, Series X and Xbox One.
There are many ways to play Windows games on a Mac although there are fewer options to play Xbox games on a Mac.
By far the easiest way to play Xbox games on Macs is by using Xbox Cloud with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate which allows you to play Xbox games instantly in a browser on a Mac.
This also effectively allows to use PC Game Pass on a Mac as it covers the same library of games.
Most major games such as Fortnite are available in Xbox Cloud although some such as Hogwarts Legacy are not and can only be downloaded and played on a Windows desktop.
If a game is not available in Xbox Cloud but is available to download on Xbox, you will need to install Windows on your Mac using a virtual environment such as Parallels first so that you can then use the Xbox Windows app to physically purchase and download the game on your desktop.
If you already own an Xbox, you also have the options of streaming Xbox games to a Mac using the OneCast app or by using an open source project called the Xbox XCloud Client.
Here we look at all of these methods so you can choose which one is best for you.
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How To Play Xbox Games On a Mac
With this in mind here then are the best ways to play Xbox games on a Mac in order of ranking.
1. Xbox Cloud
Xbox Cloud (also known as Xbox Cloud Gaming) is Microsoft’s online Cloud gaming service which allows you to play Xbox games on a Mac in a browser with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
This also allows you to access PC Game Pass games on a Mac as it’s covers pretty much the same library of games.
You don’t need an Xbox to use Xbox Cloud but you do need an Xbox Controller to play Xbox games on a Mac.
Xbox Cloud also only works in the Microsoft Edge, Chrome and Safari browsers – it does not support Firefox.
We recommend using Safari on a Mac to play games in Xbox Cloud for the best performance although we’ve had absolutely no problems playing in Chrome too.
If you don’t have an Xbox controller and use Google Chrome, you can also install the Keyboard & Mouse Controller add-on which allows you to use Xbox Cloud without an Xbox controller although the gaming experience is not as good as using a controller.
You will need an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription to use Xbox Cloud and not all Xbox games are available on it so please check which games are available in Xbox Cloud here before subscribing.
Note that Xbox Cloud is only available with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate – it is not available with PC Game Pass, Xbox Game Pass for Console or Xbox Live Gold.
You can currently get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for $1 for the first month and then $9.99 per month afterwards but you can cancel at anytime.
Usually, games that are included in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate are available in Xbox Cloud but some are not such as Hogwarts Legacy which can only be purchased as a standalone version that you must download on an Xbox or Windows PC.
If you want to play Xbox games that are not in Xbox Cloud then you can either install Windows on your Mac with Parallels and use the Windows Xbox app to purchase and download the game on your Mac.
Alternatively, if you’ve already got an Xbox, you can download the game on your Xbox and stream it to your Mac via a WiFi router using OneCast.
To play Xbox games on a Mac using Xbox Cloud, follow these instructions:
- If you don’t already have one sign-up for an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. Note that Xbox Cloud is only available with Game Pass Ultimate so it’s important you don’t select any of the other plans available.
- Go to Xbox.com/play.
- Click on Sign In at the top of the page and login with your Xbox username and password.
- You will then be prompted to connect an Xbox controller to your Mac via Bluetooth. You must have an Xbox controller to use Xbox Cloud – it will not work with a Mac keyboard, trackpad or mouse.
- To use your Xbox Controller with your Mac make sure that Bluetooth is turned on on your Mac. Then press and hold the Xbox button on your controller to turn it on and it will light-up. Press and hold the small Bluetooth pairing button on the front of the Xbox controller to activate pairing mode. When pairing mode has been activated, the Xbox button will start flashing rapidly. On your Mac, click on the Apple logo in the top left of your screen and go to System Preferences and select Bluetooth.
- Select your Xbox controller from the list of Bluetooth devices that appears and click Pair.
You can now use your Xbox controller to play Xbox games on your Mac in Xbox Cloud. You can disconnect the Xbox controller from your Mac at any time by going back into the Bluetooth settings or turning-off Bluetooth.
You can also use the Controlly app if you want to have more control over how your Xbox controller works with your Mac.
If the game you want to play is not available in Xbox Game Pass then the only other option you have is to install Windows on your Mac and download the Xbox version of the game with the Xbox Windows app.
Parallels is the easiest way to run Windows on a Mac and the latest version of Parallels 18 supports the Xbox app in the Windows store which allows you to play Xbox Cloud games in Windows 10 and Windows 11.
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.
You’ll also need to connect an Xbox controller to your Mac via Bluetooth as you won’t be able to play Xbox games with your Mac keyboard.
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 installing Windows to play Xbox games on a Mac works well on Intel Macs but currently does not work well with Apple Silicon M1 and M2 Macs.
The main reason for this is that M1 and M2 Macs can only run the ARM version of Windows which does not work with many games.
There are also problems pairing an Xbox controller via Bluetooth in Parallels which doesn’t work on Apple Silicon M1 and M2 Macs yet.
Therefore if you want play Xbox games which are not available in Xbox Cloud on an M1 and M2 Mac then your options are very limited unless you already own an Xbox in which case you cam stream them to your Apple Silicon Mac using OneCast (see below).
Finally, note that if the Xbox game you want to play requires DirectX 12 then it will not work in Parallels on any Mac including Intel, M1 and M2 Macs.
Parallels only supports up to DirectX 11 so make sure you check the game’s system requirements before downloading it in the Windows Xbox app.
You can try Parallels for free to install Windows on your Mac and download Xbox games that aren’t available in Xbox Cloud.
You can also find out more in our full review of Parallels.
If you own an Xbox, then OneCast allows you to stream Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X games to macOS in 1080p including Apple Silicon M1 and M2 Macs.
As long as your Xbox and Mac are connected to the same WiFi router or on the same network, OneCast streams Xbox games to your Mac.
OneCast can even stream Xbox games to your iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.
Whereas Xbox Cloud streams games to your Mac via the internet, OneCast streams them to your Mac via your router’s WiFi which is usually faster and more stable than gaming via the Cloud.
Unlike Xbox Cloud however, you must have an Xbox in order to use it.
OneCast previously only worked with the Xbox One but has now been updated to work with Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X.
OneCast also allows you to connect an Xbox controller to a Mac (and other controllers such as DualShock 4) via Bluetooth or USB with support for haptic feedback vibration too including with Apple Silicon M1/M2 Macs.
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.
OneCast allows you to use Xbox controllers via Bluetooth or USB on a Mac without any 3rd party drivers either so it’s very simple to setup.
You can also use other controllers with a similar layout with OneCast such as the DualShock 4 controller.
You can try OneCast for free although after 14 days it costs $14.99 to buy a license key for the full version.
Here’s how to play Xbox games on a Mac using OneCast.
- Before starting, make sure that your Mac and Xbox are connected to the same WiFi internet router. Then download the trial version of OneCast for free and open the DMG file downloaded. Note that you have to download it from the OneCast website as it’s not available on the Mac App Store.
- 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 as long as your Xbox and Mac are connected to the same WiFi router. 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.
- Finally you simply need to connect your Xbox controller to your Mac which you can do by activating Bluetooth. To connect an Xbox controller to your Mac to use with OneCast, go to the Apple logo in the top left of your screen and go to System Preferences and select Bluetooth.
- Select your Xbox controller from the list of Bluetooth devices that appears and click Pair.
- You can now use your Xbox controller to play Xbox games on your Mac. You can disconnect the Xbox controller from your Mac at any time by going back into the Bluetooth settings or turning-off Bluetooth.
This is the easiest way to connect an Xbox controller to a Mac although it doesn’t allow you to map out controls on it very easily.
For more customization of how your Xbox controller works with your Mac, you can 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 games on your Mac using OneCast 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.
Note that OneCast does not support a microphone for voice and in-game chat although this is planned to be added soon.
You can watch OneCast in action playing NBA Live on a Mac below.
Xbox-xCloud-Client is an open source project that supports Remote Play and allows you to stream XBox games via xCloud and xHome.
Xbox-xCloud-Client works on both Intel and Apple Silicon M1/M2 Macs and also supports gamepad controllers, keyboard controllers and building friend lists.
However, because it’s open source there’s no official support for the product and installation isn’t as straightforward as with OneCast and Parallels.
You can find out more about the Xbox-xCloud-Client here.
Does Xbox VR Work On Mac?
You can’t play Xbox VR games on a Mac using these methods.
VR on a Mac is still virtually non existent and even Steam has dropped support for VR gaming on Mac due to the lack of VR headset and game support for macOS.
However, this may change in 2023 with Apple set to release a VR headset which should open up VR gaming on Macs.
With One Cast – you HAVE TO OWN AN XBOX ONE! You cannot play Game Pass games without owning the console!!!@#*&$^@#* Paid the license on One Cast before realizing this :/
FFS?! WHY would you think you can play XBOX One games without actually owning A) an XBOX, and B) owning the games ON the XBOX?! This app is only about streaming the output from an Xbox to your mac. Pretty straightforward.