tvOS 16: All The New Features, Release Date, & Supported Devices
Here’s everything we know about the Apple TV’s upcoming operating system, tvOS 16.
tvOS is the operating system that runs on the Apple TV set-top box. It’s one of Apple’s newest operating systems, first introduced in 2015 as tvOS 9. Yeah, it’s odd the first version of tvOS was designated as the 9th version, but Apple seemingly did that to match its numbering scheme with iOS (even though Apple did not follow suit with watchOS).
tvOS 16 is expected to debut to the public alongside iOS 16 and watchOS 9 this fall. However, what’s really odd is that tvOS 16 wasn’t even mentioned at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2022–meaning major features shouldn’t be expected in the upcoming operating system for the Apple TV
Here’s everything we know about the Apple TV’s upcoming operating system, tvOS 16, so far.
tvOS 16: Release Date
tvOS 16 will ship to users this fall. But Apple didn’t even bother showing off the new tvOS 16 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. WWDC 2022 took place on June 6, 2022. During the keynote, Apple showed off the future versions of the operating systems that run on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV–but not tvOS 16.
However, on June 6th, Apple did release the developers’ beta of tvOS 16. Apple may release a public beta of tvOS 16 in July, but given the lack of new features, we can’t say that’s a certainty at this point. As the Apple TV is one of Apple’s least used devices among consumers, Apple may not feel a public beta is warranted.
WWDC saw Apple announce its other operating systems, including macOS 13 and iOS 16. As for when tvOS 16 will ship to the public as a finished operating system, expect it to do so in September 2022–the traditional timeframe Apple releases major tvOS updates. tvOS 16 is expected to be a free download as always.
tvOS 16: Key Features
What’s odd is that Apple has no mention of tvOS 16 on its website, despite having dedicated pages for its other upcoming operating systems. While there are some under the hood improvements headed to tvOS 16, altogether the lack of any tvOS 16 news during the keynote means we shouldn’t expect many – if any – major new tvOS features this year.
However, there are a few minor new features that have been found in the tvOS 16 beta. These include support for Nintendo Switch controllers and HDR10+ support.
tvOS 16: Supported Devices
Apple’s current tvOS operating system–tvOS 15–runs on the Apple TV 4K and the Apple TV HD. We expect tvOS 16 to be fully supported on those same devices as Apple still sells both and its unlikely they’ll discontinue the Apple TV HD this year. So, expect tvOS 16 to run on:
- Apple TV 4K
- Apple TV HD
While older Apple devices, such as older iPhones and Apple Watches, don’t always get all the new features of newer operating systems than the newer devices do, both the Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD should see the exact same tvOS 16 updates as the only major difference between the two devices is the Apple TV 4K supports a maximum of 4K video and the Apple TV HD supports a maximum of 1808p video.
tvOS 16: Pre-WWDC Rumors
There has not been a single rumor about tvOS 16 as of the time of this writing. That means it’s completely unknown what new features tvOS 16 may offer.
Whatever new features it does offer will likely be heavily tied to any new features of iOS 16.
As for what new features are likely, we’ll almost certainly see updated Aerial screensavers in tvOS 16. We may also see additional UI tweaks–but don’t expect a major user interface refresh in tvOS 16.
tvOS 16 has also increasingly been tied to the HomeKit platform in recent years. It’s likely tvOS 16 will also feature additional HomeKit features.
We’ll keep this post updated as more details of tvOS 16 roll in.
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