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tvOS 17: Release date, features, and compatibility

Join us as we look at all the features coming with tvOS 17.
By
January 26, 2024
Apple TV 4K standing with remote
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

While Apple has continually made improvements to its tvOS platform, the last two years have seen relatively minor updates. Thankfully, that’s not the case this time. The latest version of the Apple TV’s OS brings several new improvements to the mix. Let’s jump in and discuss everything we know about tvOS 17, from features to compatibility and more.

tvOS 17: At a glance

  • When did it come out? September 18, alongside iOS 17.
  • What's new? tvOS 17 includes several new features, including:
    • A revamped control center that is much easier to navigate than the previous version.
    • FaceTime calling, rolling out to Apple TV with the update.
    • The new Siri Remote Finder feature which lets you track down a lost remote.
    • Interactivity with Apple Music Sing and Continuity Camera.

tvOS 17 release date and name

  • tvOS 17: September 18, 2023
  • tvOS 16: September 12, 2022
  • tvOS15: September 20, 2021
  • tvOS 14: September 16, 2020
  • tvOS 13: September 24, 2019

Apple officially announced tvOS 17 at WWDC 2023 this summer. After a series of beta updates, it finally pushed out the tvOS 17 stable release on September 18.

How to install the latest version of tvOS

To update to the latest version of tvOS you’ll simply need to go to Settings > System > Software Updates > Update Software. Next you’ll click on Download and Install and then finally Update Now. 

tvOS 17.1 beta is now available for developers

While tvOS 17 hasn’t been out long that’s not stopping Apple from making improvements. The new tvOS 17.1 beta is available for testing. While it’s design for developers, the general public can get into the action by signing up via the Apple Beta Software Program. While there’s no official changelog on what to expect, we imagine it’s mostly going to be bug fixes, minor feature updates, and anything that didn’t quite make the cut in time for the iOS 17 stable release.

tvOS 17 features

Apple Tv California Streaming
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Both iPadOS and iOS tend to get bigger feature updates with each iteration, while tvOS keeps things a bit more modest. For one thing, many of the new iOS 17 features don’t make a whole lot of sense on a TV. Therefore, tvOS updates tend to be less exciting. Usually.

This year is different, as we see several exciting features heading to tvOS. Below, we discuss just a few of the biggest changes heading our way.

The control center gets a major revamp, as do profiles

apple tv control panel
Apple

A brand new Control Center is making its way to tvOS 17. You’ll notice right away that there are new tabs at the top. These allow you to quickly change some of the operating system’s key features. For example, it’s much easier to switch Bluetooth devices than ever before. There’s also a big power button, a way to quickly toggle on Do Not Disturb, and more. You can also quickly hop into the Home tab, which lets you control your various Homekit devices and see live feeds from any security cameras.

Another big change has to do with profiles. Profile switching is also faster than ever. You just need to wake up Apple TV using the remote app on your iPhone’s Control Center. Doing so will immediately launch you into the appropriate profile. Every user’s customized profile settings will also be saved with tvOS 17.

Facetime is finally coming to Apple TV

apple tv facetime
Apple

There’s nothing more convenient than sitting on your big, comfy couch and making a video call, but for some reason, Apple TV has never supported such a feature. This changes with the introduction of an official FaceTime app for Apple TV streaming boxes. The new app lets you start calls either directly from Apple TV or by transferring a call from your iPhone or iPad over to the Apple TV.

Now I know what you’re thinking: Apple TV doesn’t have a camera. To get around this, Apple will utilize the cameras and microphones from your iPhone or iPad using the same Continuity Camera feature previously introduced for Apple’s laptops. Personally, I’d love to see a webcam accessory so that you don’t have to whip out your phone or tablet every time, but it’s still a big step forward.

Lose your remote a lot? The new Siri Remote Finder has your back

siri remote finder (1)
Apple

If you’re anything like me, you lose your remote a lot. In fact, I have a Tile sticker on my remote for that reason. For Apple TV owners, there’s now an official baked-in way to find that missing clicker: the Siri Remote Finder.

This update works on any second-gen Siri Remote by launching the Apple TV remote within the Control Center on your iPhone. From there, you’ll find a big Finder button, and basically, you’ll get a radius as to where the remote will be, and then you have to move around and find it.

It’s not as exact as a built-in chirping noise or using an AirTag, but it’s still a welcome addition. It’s also likely that Apple could eventually introduce a newer Siri remote that improves this functionality further.

A new Dialogue Enhancer makes it easier to hear dialogue

When you’re watching a movie, sometimes all the background noise makes it almost impossible to hear what people are saying. We’ve all been there. Instead of cranking up the volume during times of intense dialogue, Apple has a better solution.

Apple’s new Dialogue Enhancer separates dialogue from sound effects, music, and other noise and brings it forward to the center channel in order to help you hear it better. There is a catch here, though. You’ll need a second-generation HomePod as it won’t work with just any TV or soundbar.

New screensavers and other tweaks

That’s not everything. Here are just a few other tvOS 17 features you can expect:

  • Apple is also introducing memories as screensavers and new screensavers that feature slow-motion footage of rainforests and other locals.
  • Apple TV will now work with third-party VPN apps.
  • Apple Fitness+ is getting a few improvements, specifically with the big screen in mind, including custom workout schedules and more.
  • Dolby Vision 8.1 support is coming as well.
  • Users can now see themselves onscreen and add entertaining filters as they sing along to their favorite songs.

tvOS 17 compatibility

Apple TV 4K with remote
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Although the Apple TV devices have been around for years, the switch to tvOS came in 2015. Since then, every tvOS-based Apple TV device has fully supported every tvOS update. Roughly eight years later, the same holds true. Every device released after the Apple TV HD (2015) supports the OS 17 update, which means every generation of the Apple TV 4K.

tvOS 17 is being tested on a new devices

TVOS 17 may have already rolled out but Apple continues to make improvements to its software and that includes testing it on new hardware. Reportedly Apple is working on a HomePad with a display to take on Google and others, it also has a version of the iPad Mini modified to work with tvOS alongside a future version of the screenless HomePod.