Here are the five tvOS features that we’re looking forward to the most.
Hard to believe, but Apple is only now rolling out FaceTime calling support to Apple TV with the coming iOS 17 update. But even once FaceTime finally does come to Apple TV, it will still require some assistance from an iPhone or iPad.
Apple says you’ll be able to initiate FaceTime calls on Apple TV in one of two ways: either by transferring a FaceTime call from your iPhone or iPad, or by launching a FaceTime chat directly from the Apple TV’s FaceTime app.
Once in a call, your Apple TV will need help from the camera and microphones on your iPhone or iPad, using the existing Continuity Camera feature that was initially just for MacBooks.
The lens on your Apple phone or tablet will be able to follow you around the room (you will need a newer iPhone or iPad that supports Center Stage functionality), and you’ll be able to trigger animations using hand gestures; for example, making a heart-shaped gesture with your hands will spawn floating hearts.
Controls on your iPhone or iPad will allow you to move FaceTime calls on an Apple TV back to your personal device, and if another FaceTime call comes in during an active session on the big screen, a notification for the incoming call will appear without revealing who’s on the other end.
Besides FaceTime, Apple is promising that both Webex and Zoom will arrive on Apple TV later this year.
Revamped Control Center
tvOS 17 will bring a complete redesign of the Apple TV’s Control Center, adding tabs along the top that let you switch between the controls for audio output devices, Apple Home, key Apple TV settings, and profiles.
The Home tab, for example, will let you see live feeds of your security cameras, as well as buttons for favorite HomeKit scenes, while the Settings tab shows your Apple TV’s Wi-Fi status, current Focus mode, connected controllers, accessibility options, and a large power-off button.
Finally, the tabbed interface along the top of Control Center will show the time, Apple TV status details, and the active profile.
Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.