At its WWDC 2023, along with macOS 14 and iOS 17, Apple also announced that tvOS 17 brings FaceTime and video conferencing to the biggest screen in the home. With tvOS 17, FaceTime comes to Apple TV 4K. It also introduces an all-new Control Center and more.
Here are the key features of tvOS 17:
FaceTime on Apple TV: Users can initiate calls directly from Apple TV or start them on iPhone or iPad and hand them off to Apple TV. It wirelessly connects to the user’s iPhone or iPad using Continuity Camera support, leveraging the device’s camera and microphone to bring participants together on the TV.
Center Stage: Keeps participants perfectly framed on the screen even as they move around. Gesture-based reactions allow users to generate onscreen effects like hearts or fireworks. Split View enables simultaneous viewing of shows or movies with loved ones during a SharePlay session while still seeing everyone on the FaceTime call.
Easy call transfer and notifications: Users can easily transfer FaceTime calls back to iPhone or iPad. Notifications appear on the TV when another FaceTime or phone call comes in during a session, without revealing the caller’s identity for privacy on a communal device.
Video conferencing apps: Webex by Cisco and Zoom will launch on tvOS, bringing their communication capabilities to Apple TV 4K. Developers can integrate the iPhone or iPad camera and microphone into their tvOS app using Continuity Camera APIs, creating shared and immersive entertainment experiences.
Apple Music Sing: Users can sing along to favorite tracks with onscreen visuals and filters, integrating Continuity Camera.
Personalized Control Center: The new Control Center on Apple TV provides easy access to key settings and information. It displays system status, time, active profile, and expands with relevant details based on user activity.
Apple TV remote integration: With tvOS 17, users can locate the Siri Remote by launching it inside Control Center on iPhone. An onscreen circle guides their movement as they get closer to the remote. Using the remote on iPhone automatically switches users to their profile, granting access to recently watched shows and personalized recommendations. Each user profile saves additional settings and preferences, including system language and paired AirPods.
Enhanced screen saver: Screen saver enhancements offer a more customized experience. Users can enjoy curated Memories from their personal library or shared library on the big screen. Aerial screen savers feature stunning new locations like Monument Valley and coastal redwoods.
Additional features in tvOS 17 include:
Enhance Dialogue: Separates dialogue from background noise, making it clearer and more prominent when paired with HomePod (2nd generation), improving the viewing experience on Apple TV 4K.
Dolby Vision 8.1 Support: Provides Apple TV 4K users with a more cinematic visual experience by offering dynamic metadata over a wider range of movies and TV shows.
Apple Fitness+ Enhancements:
- Custom Plans: Users can receive personalized workout or meditation schedules based on their preferences.
- Stacks: Allows users to seamlessly do multiple workouts or meditations back-to-back.
- Audio Focus: Gives users the ability to prioritize volume between music and trainers’ voices.
Third-Party VPN Support: Enables the creation of VPN apps for Apple TV, benefiting enterprise and education users who want to access content on private networks. This expands the usability of Apple TV as an office and conference room solution.
The tvOS developer beta is available starting today; and a public beta program will be available to Apple TV users later. tvOS 17 will be available this fall as a free software update for Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD.
Commenting on the announcement, Bob Borchers, Apple’s Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, said:
tvOS 17 lets you talk to anyone on the big screen with FaceTime and other apps. You can use Apple TV 4K to chat with anyone from your sofa. Apple TV is easy to use and fun to watch. It is the best choice for Apple customers who want to enjoy the big screen.