Most likely, the release of the new Vision Pro headset has surpassed the presentation of every update and new feature at WWDC 2023. TvOS 17 the most recent version of Apple TV software, is one of those that you might have missed.
After two years of just giving minor updates. Apple has now completely redesigned tvOS and included a variety of intriguing features. In this article, I’ll walk you through all the new features of tvOS 17, the devices that will support it, and its release date.
tvOS 17 supported devices
- Apple TV HD
- Apple TV 4K (first generation)
- Apple TV 4K (second generation)
- Apple TV 4K (third generation)
A Revamped Control Center
Before we get on to the Control Center, one notable change to tvOS is the addition of a sixth app slot, making the dock’s original capacity of five apps six.
The Control Center in new Apple tvOS 17 features has undergone a redesign and is now easier to use with fewer clicks. Your controls are now arranged in categories, such as AirPlay, Home, etc., at the top.
You can change related settings within each category like before, but now the controls automatically expand based on your activity. There are also a few new toggles in the Control Center on tvOS 17 for features like Wi-Fi, Focus modes, Sleep Timer, and Game Mode.
Locate Siri Remote with iPhone
You can expect a more robust integration within the Apple ecosystem on tvOS 17. Aside from letting you access your own Apple TV profile. The Apple TV remote app on your iPhone not only gives you access to your own Apple TV profile but also lets you find your Siri Remote (2nd generation or later).
It reminds me a lot of the Hot and Cold games we used to play as kids, where a circle on the screen enlarges as you go closer to the remote to show that you’re getting closer.
Third-Party Support for VoIP and VPN Apps
Apple’s support for FaceTime is not restricted to just that. In the near future, popular video conferencing apps such as Zoom and Webex will also be available on tvOS.
Apple also granted developers access to Continuity Camera APIs, allowing them to integrate the camera and microphone of iPhones or iPads into their apps on Apple TV. This exciting development paves the way for more immersive entertainment and shared experiences on the platform.
For instance, Apple Music Sing will make use of a Continuity Camera so that users can see themselves onscreen and put on amusing filters as they sing the beat. This software allows users to sing along to their favorite songs.
Apple is finally catching up to rivals like Google/Android TV, who have long allowed third-party VPN apps on their TVs. You may now download third-party VPN apps to your Apple TV with tvOS 17. Before, the two options for using a VPN on your TV were to share a VPN connection from your computer or run the VPN through your router.
Having a VPN on your Apple TV makes streaming and conferencing more secure. (it keeps your activities hidden from your service provider) and removes regional restrictions in streaming apps—which means you can access your favorite shows that aren’t originally available in your region.
FaceTime on the Big Screen
The largest screen in your home can now host video conferences Thanks to Apple’s tvOS 17. Other devices can “borrow” your iPhone’s camera and microphone by using Continuity Camera.
A neighboring iOS device feeds live video through the new FaceTime app. You can start a new call from the Apple TV 4K or transfer an existing one from an iOS device. Even Center Stage in FaceTime on tvOS 17 uses sophisticated cropping to keep everyone in the frame.
With the new Apple tvOS 17 features support for Split View multitasking, it’s possible to establish a FaceTime conversation, start a SharePlay watch party, and view everyone on the call all at once. Additionally, you see animated responses brought on by hand gestures (a brand-new FaceTime feature in iOS 17).
FaceTime calls are end-to-end encrypted so that no one can eavesdrop on your call. The FaceTime notification doesn’t reveal who the caller is to preserve your privacy “on a communal device” like your living room TV.
Turn Memories into Screensavers
Aside from watching shows and movies online, watching classic films and reliving memories on a large screen is usually more enjoyable. You may now watch your carefully selected Memories from your shared memory or personal library on your Apple TV Thanks to tvOS 17. If you don’t want to take photos of your own, you can browse Apple’s collection of landscapes.
Other tvOS 17 features
While the ones above are already awesome, new Apple tvOS 17 features also bring several minor improvements that further enhance the Apple TV experience:
- Enhanced dialogue: This feature isolates the dialogue from the surrounding background noise, bringing it to the forefront to make it easier for users to hear and understand the words amid the music and sound effects.
- Dolby Vision 8.1 support: This update provides users with a more cinematic experience by offering surround sound with dynamic metadata across a broader range of shows.
- Apple Fitness+ tweaks: With this update, Apple Fitness+ lets you have a personalized workout or meditation schedule based on factors. As workout type, day, and duration. Audio Focus enables you to bring the music or the trainer’s voice to the forefront; Stacks allows users to seamlessly select and complete multiple meditations and workouts.
tvOS 17 release date
As of writing this article, tvOS 17 is only available in its Developer Beta form.
The stable version of tvOS 17 is expected to roll out in September 2023 (Apple’s announcement). Along with the launch of new iPhones.
Interestingly, Apple recently announced that anyone can sign up for the Developer Program free of cost and then test the latest Apple TV software.
How to install tvOS 17 developer beta on Apple TV
- Launch Settings on your Apple TV.
- Choose System → Go to Software Updates.
- Select Get Beta Updates.
Proceed by agreeing to the terms.
- Now, if you’re eligible, you’ll be given the option to choose tvOS 17 Developer Beta.
That’s it! You can now update your TV to the latest version available.
The Apple TV used to feel more like a standalone device outside the Apple ecosystem. But tvOS 17 happily introduces it to the group, with Continuity Camera expanding the possibilities of what a smart TV can do.