tvOS 15 arrives on the heels of the launch of the new Apple TV 4K. While tvOS 15 received no attention at WWDC 2021, Apple did mention some new Apple TV features, such as spatial audio via AirPods, and released a beta version for developers after the presentation.
Apple TV software was also not mentioned during Apple’s product event in September, although the company did drop an important tidbit: The full version comes out next Monday (September 20) after a summer beta program.
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tvOS is the operating system that Apple TV runs, and a new version is generally released each year in the fall. Last year’s TvOS 14 brought some new features to Apple TV, including multi-user support and audio sharing, but it wasn’t much of a change.
Rumors were circulating that tvOS 15 would introduce a major design change to navigation, but the expected presentation at WWDC 2021 did not happen. Apple Developer Information About the new tvOS it indicates that there is a redesigned playback interface, which we are eager to see.
Here’s everything we know so far about tvOS 15.
tvOS 15 release date
At WWDC 2021 in June, Apple released the developer beta even though the software update didn’t catch the eye of iOS 15, watchOS 8, or macOS 12 Monterey, all released in June as well. After a public beta of tvOS 15 debuted shortly thereafter, we’ve gone several months with no additional information.
That will change on Monday, September 20, when tvOS 15 is available at the same time as Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch updates.
tvOS 15 features
While WWDC did not include a section for tvOS 15, Apple revealed some of the new tvOS features coming this fall.
SharePlay: The feature allows people on FaceTime calls to create watch parties and watch synced movies or shows with friends. Start a FaceTime call with friends, then create a watch party through supported streaming services (including Disney Plus and HBO Max). Then you can play the show or movie on AirPlay on your Apple TV. Please note that SharePlay will be delayed until a later update this year.
Spatial audio: The theater-like surround sound experience comes to Apple TV 4K when paired with AirPods Pro or AirPods Max.
HomePod Mini integration: Now, you can ask Siri through a HomePod Mini to play movies or shows on Apple TV. The HomePod mini can also be connected to Apple TV as a sound bar. You can also check your security camera power and control other smart home functions through Apple TV with a HomePod Mini.
Apple TV app: Two new rows of content arrive in the Apple TV application. The first is “Shared with you”, which includes content recommended by friends and family. The second is “For All of You,” a row that houses content created for group viewing, such as a family movie night. Suggestions can also be selected based on who is watching.
tvOS 15 beta
Apple made the tvOS 15 beta Available to developers on June 7, after WWDC 2021. A public beta followed in July, before the full release this month.
TvOS 15 layout changes
Apple’s note to developers on “What’s New in tvOS” mentions two important updates. The first involves FaceID; On tvOS 15, people can use Face ID or Touch ID on their iPhone or iPad to authorize purchases and log in to your tvOS app.
The second is a “redesigned playback interface.” We hope to get more information soon on what the redesign brings.
The tvOS navigation and playback interface hasn’t changed in a long time. Earlier this year, a rumor circulated that tvOS 15 represented a “major update” with a redesign of the navigation. Israeli blog The verifier (which has a spotty history) reported that tvOS 15 would have a new design, along with parental controls, kid mode, and Screen Time. The Verifier also stated that Apple is working on a program guide for live channels.
For now, though, the only confirmed redesign is the mysterious new playback interface and the two new rows of content in the Apple TV app.
tvOS 15 compatible devices
TvOS 15 is expected to be compatible with all devices running tv OS 14, which are Apple TV 4K (2021), Apple TV 4K 1st generation (2017), and Apple TV HD.
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