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TvOS 16: Release date, features and latest news

Apple’s developer conference is underway as it lays out a roadmap for what new features and tools will be coming its interfaces in the coming months. While iOS, iPadOS and MacOS all got extensive mentions during Apple’s Keynote, tvOS was conspicuous by its absence.

But there were a few announcements for tvOS 16 to emerge after the keynote ended. TvOS is Apple’s operating system for its TV platform and with each release Apple brings a few new features – some major, some minor – to widen the breadth of its TV ecosystem. TvOS is where you’ll find the Apple TV app with the TV+ streaming service, along with Fitness+ and Apple Arcade.

So, what information do we know about the 16th version of tvOS?

When will tvOS 16 be released?

We believe that tvOS 16 will be released in September 2022. The developer beta is available now, while the public beta is likely to go live later in the summer. For the latter, you need to be a member of the Apple Beta Software Program to try out the latest features.

What features will tvOS 16 have?

Apple did not discuss tvOS in any detail during its WWDC 22 keynote, which all but suggests that the forthcoming updates here will be minor rather than major.

What we’ve gleaned from Apple so far about the upcoming update is the new SwiftUI that allows developers to customise the app’s interface and provide more functionality.

Multi-user support aims to make it easier for people to enjoy the Apple TV app “with improved system integration for user profiles”, and there’s enhanced cross-device connectivity with the ability to integrate the tvOS app with iOS, iPadOS and watchOS apps to “unlock new experiences on Apple TV”. Examples given was having more personalised workouts on Apple TV based on motion sensor data from an Apple Watch, displaying real-time info from an iPhone while media plays on an app in Apple TV or featuring more screens for gameplay.

These new tools are for developers to unlock within the Apple TV app, so whether your app will necessarily get these features is something we’d have to wait and see until tvOS begins to roll out later this year.

Mentioned in passing was Personalised Spatial Audio, improvements to SharePlay integration and the new Matter protocol that tightens up integration and compatibility between various smart devices in the home. We’d expect these features to make their way to tvOS 16 as well.

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