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tvOS 16 to include cross-device features, improved game controller support – updated

06 Jun 2022 | Rasmus Larsen |

Apple will release tvOS 16 later this year with new features such as cross-device connectivity, improved multi-user support and improved game controller support

Apple did not give tvOS, which is powering both Apple TV and HomePod, any stage time at the WWDC 22 keynote. It is either a minor release or Apple has more TV-related announcements planned for later this year – there were no updates regarding Apple TV+ either.

Update: tvOS 16 will include support for Nintendo Joy-Cons and Pro controllers, Apple confirmed to FlatpanelsHD. 9to5Mac has discovered support for 8Bitdo, Bada Moga XP5-X Plus, and the Logitech F710 Gamepad. Apple TV has supported PlayStation and Xbox controllers for some time.

Update 2: tvOS 16 will also let you easily add family member user account to Apple TV via new prompts in the Control Center. This lets each family member access their own profile on the Apple TV app, Apple Music, Apple Arcade (individual game progress and achievements), and more.

A rethink of the multi-user function is intended to pair user profiles from apps such as Disney+ and Netflix to the system-level user profiles in tvOS that are accessible from the Apple's Control Center.

tvOS 16 user profiles

tvOS 16's new user profile system suggests family members and makes it easier to tie apps' profiles to tvOS system profiles

Here is what Apple has confirmed about tvOS 16 so far. We will update this article once we have more details. See other possible features after the table. Apple has confirmed that tvOS 16 will be compatible with both Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K. A public beta will be available in July and the final version will be released this fall.

tvOS 16 – new features

Game Controller Many additional Bluetooth and USB game controllers are supported by the Game Controller framework on macOS 13, iOS 16, and tvOS 16 and later. Cross-device connectivity Integrate your tvOS app with your iOS, iPadOS, or watchOS app to unlock new experiences on Apple TV. For example, you can deliver more personalized workouts on Apple TV based on motion sensor data from Apple Watch, display real-time information on iPhone while media plays in your app on Apple TV, or include more screens for gameplay.

tvOS 16 cross-device

tvOS 16 lets Apple TV easily connects to other Apple devices at home for new types og app and game experiences

Multiuser support Make it easier for people to enjoy your Apple TV app with improved system integration for user profiles. With credentials stored in a shared keychain, users won’t need to sign in and choose their profile every time they launch your app. HDR10+ support The latest generation of high dynamic range technology is now supported in the Apple TV app. Update: Apple has removed all references to HDR10+. Matter support Matter is a new smart home connectivity standard that will enable compatible accessories to work together seamlessly, across platforms. Matter will allow you to choose from even more compatible smart home accessories and control them with the Home app and Siri on Apple devices. Coming in an update later this year. Matter accessories require an Apple TV or HomePod running as a home hub. Passkeys Designed to replace passwords, passkeys use Touch ID or Face ID for biometric verification, and iCloud Keychain to sync across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV with end-to-end encryption. Playback speed A new optional feature for developers using Apple's native video player in tvOS 16 is to offer playback speed options of 0.5×, 1.0×, 1.25×, 1.5×, and 2.0×, or custom speeds (via MacRumors)

tvOS 16 playback speed

tvOS 16's native video player supports optional playback speeds

SwiftUI for tvOS Customize your app’s interface and provide even more functionality with SwiftUI. Create custom button styles and effects that accent your design, take advantage of standard gestures, such as Tap and Touch, and add consistency to interactions with the Focus APIs. Create ML framework Create ML is now available as a Swift framework on tvOS, along with iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. In addition to task-specific training APIs being available for many common model types, you can now define your own custom model and training pipelines by combining a rich set of ML building blocks with the new Create ML Components framework.

Other possible features

During the keynote, Apple did highlight some iOS features that may also make it to Apple TV with tvOS 16. These include 'iCloud Shared Photos Library' to automatically share/view photos of family and friends, a 'Personalized Spatial Audio' profile that uses the iPhone's TrueDepth camera to create a personal Spatial Audio profile (HRTF?) for AirPods, passkeys to replace passwords, improved SharePlay integration, and a Metal 3 API for improved game graphics (requires A13 chip or later so no supported on any Apple TV box).

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