Apple has revealed tvOS 17, the forthcoming software update for Apple TV hardware including the addition of FaceTime video calls.
The update will roll out this autumn after Apple spends the summer fine tuning the features in beta versions. Here’s what we can expect from the upgrade announced today at WWDC 23.
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FaceTime on Apple TV
The latest update for the under-loved smart TV platform is headlined by FaceTime, which uses the Continuity Camera feature to leverage the iPhone as a webcam.
Continuity Camera was announced last year as a way for Mac users to upgrade their built-in webcam for an improved and more versatile experience.
Given that vast majority of TVs don’t have cameras at all, this will perhaps come in even handier for TV users. Apple is also launching a Continuity Camera API so the likes of Zoom will be able to launch tvOS apps.
The demonstration during the WWDC keynote, Apple also showcased how the SharePlay feature can be deployed to watch shows together, with all parties synced and all visible in split screen.
Redesigned Control Centre
tvOS 17 introduces a much richer Control Centre experience with access to key settings. Right now the interface shows minimal options and integrations, but the revamp will include connected controllers, network information, deeper audio controls, a sleep timer, do not disturb mode and much more.
Find My Remote
This is a long overdue feature for Apple TV owners who’ve spent forever and a day hunting their tvOS remote. Now they’ll be able to use their iPhone to track it down quickly.
Apple wasn’t 100% clear on how this will work because it’s not like the remote has an AirTag like tracking feature or a speaker to play a sound, but it seems like the iPhone will sense the proximity using the strength of the Bluetooth connection. We await more on this feature.
Photo Memories as Screensaver
Finally, tvOS is adding the ability for Apple Photos memories videos – generated automatically by the app – to be used as an Apple TV screen saver.
When is tvOS 17 out?
The Apple TV software update will be released in September or October 2023. Some features may arrive later than others.