[Update: tvOS 14 is going to be available to the public on September 15. Here’s how to download and install tvOS 14 on your Apple TV and Apple TV 4K.]
tvOS 14 was announced by Apple at its latest WWDC 2020 event, and while it’s not a massive overhaul for the Apple TV 4K streaming device, it does include some minor, incremental changes to the Apple TV operating system.
Chief among the new changes are the inclusion of a fast game resume, similar to features on the PS4 and Xbox One, which lets you jump right back to a game where you left off, and new support for the Xbox Elite Series 2 and Xbox Adaptive Controllers.
Last but not least, Apple is expanding picture-in-picture and HomeKit updates from iOS14, which are also coming to tvOS 14.
Those changes aren’t quite on the same footing as tvOS 13, which brought multi-user support with personalized recommendations, a new and improved control center, and improvements to the TV app for Apple TV Plus, but there’s always a chance Apple will bring us can surprise with another feature on the go.
The bad news? It doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing new Apple TV hardware this year, despite some pretty compelling leaks suggesting we were about to drop a model. It seemed like it could happen alongside the tvOS 14 announcement, but for now we’ll just have to keep waiting for the much-needed A12X Bionic upgrade, which we now expect sometime next year.
release date and beta of tvOS 14
tvOS 14 will be available on September 15 – alongside iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7 – with both a developer beta and a public beta available for download now.
That follows the same timeline from tvOS 13, which was shown on WWDC in June 2019 and available in beta weeks later. It wasn’t until September of that year that the full version was released, and a similar timeline for tvOS 14 seems likely.
Read more: how to install tvOS14
tvOS 14: New Features
tvOS 13 focused on multi-user support for TV shows and movies, with each profile getting its own recommendations in the TV app, but now the same functionality will also apply to games via Apple Arcade.
To that end, tvOS 14 can track the individual performance of each user and quickly resume games when you return to them.
Apple will also update the software to recognize two new Microsoft controllers, the Xbox Elite Series 2 and Xbox Adaptive Controllers released in late 2019.
Two other new additions to tvOS 14 are picture-in-picture, which lets you rotate videos on the screen in the corner of the screen while switching between apps, and the addition of smart home camera feeds to Home View.
Both features will also be available on iOS 14, and it’s good to see them making their way to tvOS.
Finally, while not exclusive to tvOS 14, Apple also used its latest WWDC 2020 keynote to show off a trailer for Foundation, a new exclusive Apple TV Plus based on Isaac Asimov’s sci-fi book series.
tvOS 15: what we want to see
It’s probably too early to think about tvOS 15 as tvOS 14 hasn’t even arrived at the general public yet, but while we wait we thought it would be good to think about the future of the TV OS from Apple in the hope that these new features:
AppleInsider has reported on possible child profiles for future tvOS updates, limiting adult content and also allowing parents to keep track of screen time usage – and we would certainly like to see it.
Improved Apple TV Plus integration
One of our biggest bugbears about Apple TV Plus at launch was the way it integrated into the Apple TV app, dropping Plus content into existing content rows rather than getting its own in-app tab.
A software update for 2020 is the perfect opportunity to fix this, especially now that Apple TV Plus has expanded its launch lineup, with many more shows and series to cram into a standalone tab.
New hardware on the way
The most exciting reason to update tvOS 13 would be to get the platform ready for new Apple TV hardware. It’s been over three years since the last iteration of Apple TV 4K, and there are certainly improvements to be made not only in the built-in processor, but also in new port standards like HDMI 2.1 that can help it stand out in 2020.
tvOS 13: Everything introduced in the previous update
New home screen and support for multiple users
The main update for tvOS 13 is the new Home screen, which will provide better recommendations for everyone in the family. For this to work, every user in the house needs their own profile, including your kids, but when it’s set up you’ll see TV shows, movies, and music recommendations tailored to you.
What’s unclear at this point is whether those profiles should be linked to an Apple account or whether there will be one master account with the payment information for everyone – linking a credit card to a child’s account sounds like a potentially terrible idea, but it seems likely that Apple will use parental controls for these accounts.
So how do you switch between accounts? Control center, of course.
Apple tvOS supports Xbox One and PS4 controllers
It was clear that Apple would need Arcade controllers since it was announced last year – how else can you play 3D platformers like Oceanhorn 2?
Now we know exactly which controllers we will be using: the Xbox One and PS4 DualShock 4 gamepads.
Connecting them to your Apple TV is a bit of a process, but once you do, you’ll have a functioning MFI controller without spending any extra cash.
Apple Music lyrics and a new screen saver
We knew Apple Music would play a key role at WWDC this year, just not on Apple TV. That said, we’re glad it showed up though.
New to tvOS 13 is the ability to see lyrics on Apple Music over time with the song – a minor feature, but one that’s still fun to watch. In addition to the new lyrics, you’ll also see personalized song recommendations on the new home screen based on your listening habits, so you can find that next hit.
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