Apple has today released tvOS 17, bringing several new features, including FaceTime support, an updated Control Center, and improvements to Apple Fitness+.
For VoiceOver users, the Eloquence speech synthesizer is now available.
In terms of mainstream changes, FaceTime integration allows users with second-generation Apple TV 4K models or newer running tvOS 17 to easily take video calls on their television screens using their iPhones. This feature employs the Continuity Camera and offers customizable options such as Center Stage, Portrait Mode, and Reactions for interactive video effects.
Apple's FaceTime integration in tvOS 17 offers a list of suggested calls from recent or missed phone calls, displayed on the left side of the screen. Users can also opt to manually select a contact using the plus button. Another option is to initiate a call on their iPhone and then seamlessly transfer it to the Apple TV.
Third party apps such as Cisco WebEx and Zoom will also be able to take advantage of the full Continuity Camera API support on the Apple TV to offer integrated video.
tvOS 17 enhances the Control Center, which now resides in the top-right corner of the Home Screen and offers streamlined access to system information, power options, Wi-Fi settings, and more. Notably, sleep mode functionality has been introduced to automatically turn off the TV after specific intervals.
Elsewhere, Apple Fitness+ gains Audio Focus, enabling users to prioritize trainer guidance or background music during workouts. The introduction of Stacks lets users seamlessly queue and play successive workouts, enhancing their exercise routine. Furthermore, the update brings a feature to create customizable workout plans on the iPhone, which automatically appear on the TV app.
Apple Music gains support for cameras, offering users a novel karaoke-like experience where lyrics are displayed on-screen while they sing their favorite songs. The Aerial screen savers receive a boost with two new destinations: Arizona's Monument Valley and California's coastal redwoods, accompanied by curated photo memories for personal screen savers.
Among other changes, tvOS 17 introduces the ability to add a VPN directly to the Apple TV for network protection and traffic masking. Users can now locate a missing Apple TV Siri Remote using their iPhone via Bluetooth signal, and a new column of icons on the Home Screen accommodates more apps without scrolling. Enhanced Dialogue, when paired with a second-generation HomePod, boosts dialogue audio for improved clarity. Moreover, support for Dolby Vision's 8.1 profile ensures optimized video playback quality.
tvOS 17 Release Notes
This update introduces the FaceTime app on Apple TV, brings a redesigned Control Center, supports finding your Siri Remote with iPhone and clearer dialogue with HomePod, lets you choose Memories as your screen saver, enhances the Apple Music Sing experience, and expands Siri knowledge support. This update also includes performance and stability improvements.
- FaceTime on Apple TV 4K (2nd generation or later) enables you to spend time with family and friends on the big screen.
- Continuity Camera support makes it easy to connect your iPhone or iPad to Apple TV and use its cameras and microphones to look and sound great.
- Center Stage keeps you framed as you move around and expands the camera view as people join you in the room.
- Gesture-based reactions display on-screen effects, like balloons, confetti, and fireworks.
- Split View and SharePlay let you watch movies and shows together while still seeing everyone on the call.
- All-new design makes it more intuitive to manage Apple TV.
- Active profile, current time, and other system status are displayed when on the Home Screen. To interact with Control Center, press and hold [TV] on the Siri Remote and adjust audio and accessibility settings, set a sleep timer, switch profiles, view home cameras, and more.
- Ability to locate your Siri Remote (2nd generation or later) when it's nearby but out of sight.
- To find the remote, open Control Center on your iPhone, then open the Apple TV Remote.
- Onscreen results now include expanded knowledge. Try asking "Is corn a fruit?" or "Where was Mozart born?"
- Just say "Siri" to activate and control Apple TV when wearing connected AirPods or on any HomePod in the house.
- Language support for Thai in Thailand to find shows, music, and more. To enable Siri, go to Settings > General > Siri.
- Memories from your photos are perfectly framed for the TV with fluid animations and transitions. To enable, go to Settings > General > Screen Saver.
- Additional screen savers include stunning aerial views of Arizona's Monument Valley and California's coastal redwoods.
HomePod home theater
- Enhance Dialogue gives you the option to hear speech more clearly over background sounds with HomePod (2nd generation) speakers paired to Apple TV 4K.
- To turn on, choose Enhance Dialogue from the Audio Options in playback controls while watching a movie or show, or in Settings.
- Apple Music Sing adds support for Continuity Camera so you can see yourself onscreen and apply visual effects with Apple TV 4K (3rd generation).
- To turn on, select [camera] when Apple Music Sing is on.
- Stacks enables you to create your own fitness routine by grouping workouts or meditations.
- Custom Plans you create on your iPhone are available on Apple TV for an even more flexible workout or mediation schedule.
- Profiles now include system language preferences and AirPods pairings to further personalize the Apple TV experience.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
- Download VPN apps on the App Store for Apple TV to access services that can encrypt and route certain network traffic.
- Support for Dolby Vision 8.1 enables dynamic metadata to be preserved across more movies and shows when outputting to Dolby Vision capable TVs.
How to Update
To install tvOS 17, on Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD, go to the Settings channel, then navigate to the System section near the bottom. From here, navigate to Software Updates under Maintenance, then select Update Software and Download and Install. Wait for your Apple TV to download the update, and do not disconnect or unplug your Apple TV until the update completes.
More information on how to update the software on your Apple TV is available on this Apple Support page.
We'd love to hear your thoughts after you've had a chance to install the update. What new features do you find most useful? Are there any changes you don't like? Please share your feedback in the comments below. Let us know what Apple got right with this release and where you think there's still room for improvement.