Hands-On With the New tvOS 13 Update for Fourth and Fifth-Generation Apple TV

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Apple in June unveiled new versions of iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS, but the TV update, tvOS 13, hasn't received much coverage, so we thought we'd go hands-on with the software so MacRumors readers know what to expect when tvOS 13 launches this fall.

tvOS updates are always more minor in scale than other software updates, but tvOS 13 brings a decent number of new features worth checking out.


After installing tvOS 13, the first thing that's noticeable is a new Home screen. The updated Home screen does away with the top menu bar and the Watch Now screen that used to be front and center, replacing it with icons that include Apple TV, the App Store, iTunes movies, iTunes TV shows, and Apple Music.

Watch Now is now only accessible within the TV app rather than being available right when you turn the Apple TV on. Instead of displaying Watch Now content, highlighting the TV app on the Home screen offers up a "What to Watch" interface with content recommendations.


Highlighting the App Store brings up app recommendations, and the same is true for Movies and TV shows. The Apple Music icon shows "Today's Video Hits" with autoplay silent video.

Apps are able to play full-screen video previews right on the Home screen, which is similar to how content autoplays in Netflix when you're browsing through available TV shows and Movies.

tvOS 13 brings a new Picture-in-Picture mode, designed to let you watch TV shows or movies while you're navigating through the rest of the tvOS 13 operating system. 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.


Multiple users are supported in tvOS 13, so more than one profile is available on the Apple TV. Each member of the family can sign into their own Apple TV profiles to get customized Watch Now lists, content recommendations, and Apple Music playlists. Switching between profiles can be done through the new Control Center. The Control Center includes the time and date, easy access to search, a Now Playing widget, AirPlay controls, a sleep feature, and an option to switch between users.


There's a new Apple Music feature that displays scrolling lyrics synced in time with the music that's playing, and Apple has added a new Wireless Audio Sync option that uses the iPhone's microphone to calibrate audio synced to Apple TV, such as through a speaker system.

tvOS 13 gets the Apple TV ready for Apple Arcade, Apple's upcoming subscription gaming service. As part of Apple Arcade preparations, Apple has added support for the Xbox Wireless Bluetooth Controller and the PlayStation DualShock 4 Controller, allowing gaming controllers many people already have at home to be used with App Store games.

There are also new screensavers in tvOS 13, which were created by the BBC Natural History Unit, aka the team behind the "Blue Planet" series. These new screensavers showcase the deep ocean around the world, showing off under-the-sea creatures and scenes. The new screensavers don't appear to be active in the beta, but will be available when tvOS 13 launches.


Right now, tvOS 13 is available to both developers and public beta testers, and Apple is planning to launch it in the fall after a few months of beta testing to work out bugs and refine features.

For more on what's coming in tvOS 13, make sure to check out our tvOS 13 roundup.

Article Link: Hands-On With the New tvOS 13 Update for Fourth and Fifth-Generation Apple TV
 

MrPMax

macrumors newbie
Jan 14, 2017
4
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Still can't get the Beta option to show up on my 4K AppleTV. Tried everything that apple suggest to enrol my AppleTV.
 
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mjharwaz

macrumors member
Jul 12, 2017
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Tucson, AZ
Hmm - is that really an issue? Don't you have to selectively choose to share your iCloud photo library or albums in Apple TV? Other than that, it's not like you have sensitive emails or iMessages on screen.
Only thing I can think of is if mom & dad watch something like Game of Thrones or American Gods or other TV-MA content, they may not want the kids able to switch to their profile to sneak a peek?
 

iDento

macrumors 6502
Sep 8, 2011
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iCloud Servers
Hmm - is that really an issue? Don't you have to selectively choose to share your iCloud photo library or albums in Apple TV? Other than that, it's not like you have sensitive emails or iMessages on screen.
My wife will never switch to her profile before she listens to some so..so.. music using my profile which renders my For You in Apple Music tab useless. She can take a look at the messages and emails anytime she wants though.
 

mjharwaz

macrumors member
Jul 12, 2017
88
90
Tucson, AZ
Does PIP auto-activate if you hit Menu while watching something? I didn't even realize that functionality was coming.

Still have to test how user-switching and family purchases work together... if you can't quick-start something from Watch Now that another family member purchased, forcing them to go through the actual family purchases path, it's only half as helpful as it could be.
 

Kabeyun

macrumors 68020
Mar 27, 2004
2,378
4,203
Eastern USA
Anyone know if tvOS 13 supports simultaneous Bluetooth headset pairing? Both ATV 4K and the new AirPods have BT 5.0, so it should be a bloody slamdunk.

that beta has bricked my AppleTV 4K!
Same, and Apple told me the only solution was to pay $150 for a replacement.
Sucks. With all these pre-releases one could become desensitized to the hazards of beta testing. :(
 
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TrenttonY

macrumors 6502a
Nov 14, 2012
935
759
I wish they would revert to the old way Movie and TV Show posters were shown, vertical and squared. The new horizontal posters look terrible!. The old way allowed to quickly determine if it was a Movie or a TV Show.

Also, why does the Computers.app still exist. All the Movie and TV Shows should go right into the 'Library' tab of the TV.app.
Same for Music with the Music.app.
 

2010mini

macrumors 601
Jun 19, 2013
4,161
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Hmm - is that really an issue? Don't you have to selectively choose to share your iCloud photo library or albums in Apple TV? Other than that, it's not like you have sensitive emails or iMessages on screen.
Prevent kids from accessing adult profiles.

My opinion the user profile selection should come up when the Apple TV is awakened
 

mjharwaz

macrumors member
Jul 12, 2017
88
90
Tucson, AZ
I wish they would revert to the old way Movie and TV Show posters were shown, vertical and squared. The new horizontal posters look terrible!. The old way allowed to quickly determine if it was a Movie or a TV Show.

Also, why does the Computers.app still exist. All the Movie and TV Shows should go right into the 'Library' tab of the TV.app.
Same for Music with the Music.app.
Some people want to download once to their computer and stream across their network instead of streaming from the cloud, due to either usage limits or bandwidth issues.
 

ike1707

macrumors 6502
Jan 20, 2009
403
817
I’m not clear on the “did away with the top menu“ thing. I can still put apps and folders of my choosing in the top row, right?

I consolidate their entire store ecosystem and music player tiles in a folder and leave it in the top row because it generates a rotating menu out of them above the top row of apps. That’ll be super annoying if I can’t do that anymore.

https://i.imgur.com/eHYDUoj.jpg
 
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Ar40

macrumors regular
Mar 31, 2017
226
393
Apple got rid of an amazing feature and added an annoying one. They got rid of the amazing top shelf "up next" option which let me continue watching content without entering the Apple TV app. And they added picture in picture which I often accidentally toggle without meaning to. It's way too easy to hit while trying to scrub through a video or fast forward/rewind. Apple NEEDS to add an option in settings to hide it.
 
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Frankied22

macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2010
1,715
472
That autoplay when browsing garbage needs to be removed ASAP. I absolutely hate that in Netflix. I want to just browse for what I want to watch and if you leave the selection on one thing for a second too long suddenly its blaring some trailer garbage in my face.
 

GSPice

macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2008
1,623
76
I think Family Sharing could be smoothed out a little. I find it annoying that when I’m looking for a movie to purchase or rent, I have no way of knowing if someone in my family already purchased it (especially with my payment method). An Apple Genius even said its possible to purchase a movie that’s already been purchased in the family (citing the understandable fact that the purchase is ultimately tied the purchaser’s Apple ID, not the Family Organizer). Then when I’m looking in my library, it’d be nice for “All Movies” to be all movies across the entire family - instead of having to go back through Family Sharing>Each Member>All Movies.
 
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