Soon, you'll be able to use the biggest screen in your home to video chat with your friends and family. tvOS 17 is adding the FaceTime app, as well as several other features, which Apple announced at WWDC 2023.
Later this year, the Apple TV 4K 2022 will wirelessly pair with an iPhone or iPad to use its camera for FaceTime video calls. The call will display on the television connected to the Apple TV.
Additionally, tvOS 17 will have a newly-designed control center and allow you to Find My Remote using the built-in remote app on an iPhone. As elegantly slim the remote is, it can easily get lost so now there's a way to find it without tearing out all the couch cushions.
Here's everything we know so far about tvOS 17.
tvOS 17: What you need to know
Added: FaceTime app
Added: Find My Remote functionality
Redesigned: Control center with access to AirPods settings, home cameras, user profiles
tvOS 17 release date
Apple hasn't set a specific date for the release of tvOS 17, but it should be sometime this fall.
Most likely, it will be September 2023, judging by previous releases. tvOS 16 came out on Sept. 12, 2022, tvOS was Sept. 20, 2021.
tvOS 17 features
At WWDC, Apple announced four major updates to tvOS 17.
The first is the addition of the FaceTime app. Since no Apple TV boxes have a camera of their own, it will wirelessly sync up with an iPhone or iPad with Continuity Camera. The call itself will display on whatever screen is connected to the Apple TV (likely a television or possibly a monitor).
The Continuity Camera API is becoming available to developers, so it can be utilized by other apps. Apple said that video conferencing apps like Webex by Cisco and Zoom will launch on tvOS later this year.
The tvOS 17 FaceTime app will have many of the same capabilities as the iPhone and iPad versions, such as Centerstage, which allows you to be be perfectly framed in the center of your camera feed. You will also be able to use gestures to create effects and SharePlay streaming video from any app that supports it. Apple Sing will also take advantage of Continuity Camera so users can see themselves onscreen and add entertaining filters.
The second major new tvOS 17 feature is Find My Remote, which lets you use your iPhone remote app to locate the Siri Voice Remote if it gets lost.
Next is a redesign of the control center that makes it easier to access AirPods settings, home cameras and user profiles from the tvOS 17 home screen.
Lastly, tvOS 17 gives users the option to set Memories as their screensavers, so that their own photos are displayed when the Apple TV is idle. The images will display with fluid animations and transitions.
Some other upgrades coming to tvOS 17 are:
Enhance Dialogue, which lets users more clearly hear what is being said over the effects, action, and music in a movie or TV show on Apple TV 4K paired with HomePod (2nd generation) by separating the dialogue from the background noise and bringing it forward to the center channel.
Dolby Vision 8.1 support, which offers Apple TV 4K users a more cinematic visual experience with dynamic metadata over a broader range of movies and TV shows.
Apple Fitness+ enhancements, including Custom Plans, a new way for Fitness+ users to receive a custom workout or meditation schedule based on day, duration, workout type, and more; Stacks, which allows users to select multiple workouts and meditations to seamlessly do back to back; and Audio Focus, which gives users the ability to prioritize the volume of the music or the trainers’ voices.
Third-party VPN support, which enables developers to create VPN apps for Apple TV. This can benefit enterprise and education users wanting to access content on their private networks, allowing Apple TV to be a great office and conference room solution in even more places.
tvOS 17 devices
While Apple did not specify which Apple TV devices will be compatible with tvOS 17, our feeling is that it may phase out any boxes that aren't 4K.
The three 4K Apple TV devices are Apple TV 4K 2017 (1st generation) Apple TV 4K 2021 (2nd generation), and Apple TV 4K 2022 (3rd generation).