Apple on Monday announced tvOS 17, the next version of the Apple TV‘s operating system. The update brings FaceTime to the Apple TV 4K, a new Control Center, and a feature that allows you to use your iPhone to locate a misplaced Siri Remote.
The tvOS 17 Control Center now displays system status, including the time and active profile, and expands to include other helpful details based on a user’s personal activity.
Users will now be able to launch the Apple TV remote inside Control Center on their iPhone to find their Siri Remote (2nd generation or later). As users get closer to the remote, an onscreen circle grows in size to guide their movement.
Apple TV 4K users can take advantage of the new FaceTime app on Apple TV and initiate calls directly from Apple TV, or start calls on iPhone or iPad, and hand them off to Apple TV. FaceTime on Apple TV takes advantage of Continuity Camera support to wirelessly connect to the user’s iPhone or iPad, and leverages the device’s camera and microphone to bring participants together on the TV.
“tvOS 17 transforms the biggest screen in the home with FaceTime and new video conferencing capabilities, giving Apple TV 4K users the ability to easily connect with anyone right from their living room,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “New features and enhancements make Apple TV simpler to use and even more enjoyable, reinforcing it as the absolute best option in the living room for Apple customers.”
Center Stage keeps everyone in the room perfectly framed on the screen, even as they move around, while new gesture-based reactions allow callers to use their hands to generate onscreen effects, such as hearts or fireworks, and add even more fun to the conversation. The introduction of Split View for Apple TV lets users enjoy watching shows or movies with their loved ones during a SharePlay session while also seeing everyone on the FaceTime call.
Video conferencing apps like Webex by Cisco and Zoom will launch on tvOS later this year, bringing their communications capabilities to Apple TV 4K. Apple Music Sing – which lets users sing along to their favorite tracks – will integrate Continuity Camera, so users can see themselves onscreen and add entertaining filters.
New screen-saver enhancements provide a more customized experience on Apple TV, as users can now enjoy curated Memories from their personal library, shared library, or both on the big screen. New aerial screen savers include a collection of stunning new locations, including Arizona’s Monument Valley and California’s coastal redwoods.
Additional features coming in tvOS 17 include:
- Enhance Dialogue, which lets users more clearly hear what is being said over the effects, action, and music in a movie or TV show on Apple TV 4K paired with HomePod (2nd generation) by separating the dialogue from the background noise and bringing it forward to the center channel.
- Dolby Vision 8.1 support, which offers Apple TV 4K users a more cinematic visual experience with dynamic metadata over a broader range of movies and TV shows.
- Apple Fitness+ enhancements, including Custom Plans, a new way for Fitness+ users to receive a custom workout or meditation schedule based on day, duration, workout type, and more; Stacks, which allows users to select multiple workouts and meditations to seamlessly do back to back; and Audio Focus, which gives users the ability to prioritize the volume of the music or the trainers’ voices.
- Third-party VPN support, which enables developers to create VPN apps for Apple TV. This can benefit enterprise and education users wanting to access content on their private networks, allowing Apple TV to be a great office and conference room solution in even more places.
The tvOS developer beta is currently available for Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com, and a public beta release will be available to Apple TV users next month at beta.apple.com.