Apple Releases tvOS 13; Bringing a Redesigned Home Screen, a New Control Center, Multi-User Support, and Picture-in-Picture

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple has today released tvOS 13, bringing a redesigned Home screen; a new Control Center; multi-user support; picture-in-picture; and more to Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD.

A New Home Screen

tvOS 13 introduces an updated Home screen, which Apple says is designed for discovery:

Apps can now play full-screen video previews on the Home screen, so users can quickly enjoy great new TV shows, movies, music and games.

This functionality is similar to how content autoplays in Netflix, and will enable you to get a quick glimpse at new TV shows, movies, music, and games without having to open up an app.


tvOS 13 introduces support for Picture-in-Picture, which will allow you to continue watching a TV show or movie while using a different app, adjusting settings, or otherwise navigating tvOS.

According to MacRumors, “small controls at the bottom of the picture-in-picture interface allow for returning to full screen, pausing content, and closing the picture-in-picture window.

A New Control Center

There's a new Control Center on the Apple TV, which MacRumors says “offers up a look at the time and date, easy access to search, a Now Playing widget, AirPlay controls, a sleep feature, and, most importantly, an option to switch between users.”

Multi-User Support

tvOS 13 brings multi-user support to Apple TV, allowing each user to have their own Up Next list and receive TV and movie recommendations based on their viewing tastes.

Apple Music on tvOS 13 also works with multi-user support, so each person can play their own personalized playlists and get their own recommendations.

Wireless Audio Sync

In tvOS 13 there's a new Wireless Audio Sync feature that uses your iPhone's microphone to calibrate audio synced to the Apple TV.

According to MacRumors, this feature will help those who have a speaker system connected to their Apple TV and want to ensure that the audio is synchronized:

Using this feature, the Apple TV will play a series of tones. The iPhone will measure the time it takes for it to recognize the sounds, saving the information on the Apple TV. From there, the audio can be set to send later or earlier to synchronize properly with your audio equipment or TV. Audio Sync can be initiated through the Settings app on the Apple TV.

Other Changes

  • tvOS 13 adds support for Apple Arcade, Apple's new gaming service.
  • tvOS 13 adds support for the Xbox Wireless Bluetooth Controller and the PlayStation DualShock 4 Controller.
  • tvOS 13 gains a series of immersive new screensavers that showcase the deep ocean around the world, showing off under the sea creatures and scenes.

And What About Accessibility?

We have not been able to test tvOS 13 ahead of its public release, so have not yet been able to explore its new features or check for any changes which will affect blind or low vision users.

It's likely that the new Home screen, new Control Center, and picture-in-picture have all provided Apple with some challenges when it comes to not only ensuring that these all have support for VoiceOver, but that the user experience with VoiceOver is intuitive. We will be particularly keen to hear if this proves to indeed be the case.

One change that Apple has already told us about, is enhancements to Zoom on tvOS 13 for low vision users. We don't yet know exactly what these enhancements are. If you are a low vision user, please post a comment below to let us know what you learn and think of these enhancements.

Please also add a comment below to let us know of any additional changes, improvements or regressions that you find during your own use of tvOS 13.

How to Update to tvOS 13

To install tvOS 13 on Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD, go to the Settings channel, then look for the System section near the bottom. From here, look for Software Updates under Maintenance, then select Update Software and Download and Install.

More information on how to update the software on your Apple TV is available on this Apple Support page.

As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts on this update. What do you like? What do you not like? Let us know by adding a comment below.

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