The WWDC 2023 kicked off with Apple announcing several major software updates, including the tvOS 17 that adds new features for supported Apple TV models. Here's everything you should know about the latest version of Apple's TV operating system and when you should expect the update to be released.
Similar with the rest of the software iterations that Apple planned for the different hardware platforms, the definitive version of tvOS 17 will be released in fall this year. However, the Cupertino tech giant announced that the developer beta is already available starting this June 5th while the public beta is scheduled to arrive next month.
- Also read: Ultimate Apple TV comparison
As for the compatibility, tvOS 17 will continue to support the Apple TV HD (2015) and the Apple TV 4K 1st gen from 2017 all the way to the Apple TV 4K 2nd gen (2021) and Apple TV 4K 3rd gen (2022).
Most of the additions that are introduced with tvOS 17 should benefit the 4K models of the Apple TV, although there are also optimizations the older Apple TV HD model will get such as an upgraded Siri Remote and revamped interface.
The biggest feature the tvOS 17 is bringing is FaceTime. This uses the cameras and microphones on iPhones and iPads and compatible with all Apple TV 4K generations. Users can initiate FaceTime calls right from the TV or from an iPhone or iPad and wirelessly cast them to the Apple TV through the Continuity Camera.
At the same time, those handsets with Center Stage can also utilize the feature to optimized framing and auto-tracking of subjects. Apple said that users can use smart gestures to create reactions.
Another FaceTime-related feature is Split View. It lets FaceTime participants to run a video call while watching a movie or clip in a shared screen view. Furthermore, Apple Music Sing or the karaoke feature of the streaming app is added as well.
Apart from the FaceTime, Apple TV is going to enable third-party video conferencing services for the first time. The first apps that are confirmed to become available for download are Zoom and Webex of Cisco, although there are plans that more names will be added in the future.
Apple is overhauling the Control Center on tvOS 17. Apart from the extended system status information, the sections for audio and smart home now sit together in the top-right corner. Each tab shows expanded connected devices such as the battery status of paired AirPods in audio and previews of smart cameras and HomePod scenes in the home.
Apple is enhancing vocals output from the Apple TV if connected with a HomePod 2 (2023) smart speaker. According to the iPhone-maker, dialogue from a show or movie becomes more distinctive as the background noises are isolated. This works best if several sound effects are played while a dialogue between characters is running.
At the same time, Apple is rolling out Dolby Vision 8.1, which will provide dynamic and immersive visuals. Apple said that this format will be available with a wide range of TV shows and movies at launch.
Locating a lost Siri Remote is now possible using an iPhone. This can be done from the Control Center of the handset and a graphical guide is shown where the size of the circle will depend on the distance of the remote is. The Find My for Siri Remote supports the 2nd gen and later models.
For Apple Fitness+ subscribers, guided workout and mediations are suggested using the duration, day, and type before they are send to the Apple TV. More importantly, Audio Focus lets users decide and prioritize to amplify the volume of music or vocals of the trainers.
Along with notable new features, the tvOS 17 also offers an updated screen saver that is based on curated photos and albums as well as new collections. More importantly, Apple is allowing the use of third-party VPNs on Apple TV.
Do you own an Apple TV 4K at home? Which of the new features are the most essential to you? Share to us your thoughts in the comments.