tvOS 15 comes on the heels of the launch of the new Apple TV 4K. While tvOS 15 was not highlighted during WWDC 2021, Apple mentioned a few new Apple TV features – like spatial audio through AirPods – and released a developer beta after the presentation.
Apple TV software was also not mentioned at Apple’s product event in September, although the company blurted out important information – the full version will be released next Monday (September 20) after a beta program by one summer.
tvOS is the operating system that runs Apple TV, and a new version is usually released every fall. Last year’s tvOS 14 brought new features to the Apple TV, including multi-user support and audio sharing, but didn’t represent a huge change.
Rumors circulated that tvOS 15 would introduce a major design change to navigation, but the expected unveiling at WWDC 2021 did not take place. Information from Apple developers on the new tvOS indicates that there is a redesigned player interface, which we can’t wait to see.
Here’s everything we know so far about tvOS 15.
TvOS 15 release date
During 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 of which featured in June as well. After launching a public beta of tvOS 15 shortly thereafter, we went several months without any additional information.
That will change on Monday, September 20, when tvOS 15 is released along with Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch updates.
TvOS 15 Features
While WWDC hasn’t included a section for tvOS 15, Apple has revealed some of the new tvOS features coming this fall.
SharePlay: The feature allows people making FaceTime calls to create viewing groups and watch movies or shows in sync with friends. Start a FaceTime call with friends, then create a night out through compatible streaming services (including Disney Plus and HBO Max). Then you can AirPlay the show or movie to your Apple TV. Note that SharePlay is delayed until a later update this year.
Spatial sound: The cinema-like surround sound experience is brought 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 feeds and control other smart home features through Apple TV with a HomePod Mini.
Apple TV app: Two new lines of content are coming to the Apple TV app. The first is “Shared with you,” which includes content recommended by your friends and family. The second is “For All of You,” a line that hosts content designed for group viewing, like a family movie night. Suggestions can also be organized based on who is viewing.
tvOS 15 beta
Apple made the tvOS 15 beta available to developers on June 7, following WWDC 2021. A public beta followed in July, before full release this month.
TvOS 15 design changes
Apple’s note to developers on “What’s New in tvOS” mentions two major updates. The first involves FaceID; in tvOS 15, users can use Face ID or Touch ID on their iPhone or iPad to authorize purchases and sign in to your tvOS app.
The second is a “redesigned reading interface”. We hope to get more information soon on what the redesign brings.
TvOS’s browsing and playback interface hasn’t changed for a long time. Earlier this year, a rumor circulated that tvOS 15 represented a “major update” with a navigation overhaul. Israeli blog The Verifier (which has an uneven track record) reported that tvOS 15 would have a new design, along with parental controls, a kids mode, and Screen Time. The auditor also claimed that Apple is working on a program guide for live channels.
For now, however, the only confirmed redesign is the mysterious new player interface and the two new lines of content for the Apple TV app.
devices supported by tvOS 15
tvOS 15 is expected to be compatible with all devices running tv OS 14, namely Apple TV 4K (2021), Apple TV 4K first generation (2017), and Apple TV HD.
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