Apple today released tvOS 15.4 for Apple TV HD, Apple TV 4K, HomePod and HomePod mini. New features include captive WiFi support, a new spatial audio menu, 'Up Next' tweaks, and Dutch language support.
Update: The article has been updated to include details on two other new features; Apple Watch purchases on Apple TV and HomeKit cameras in PiP.
New features on Apple TV
The biggest new feature is support for captive WiFi networks, meaning that Apple TV can log into shared WiFi networks at hotels, dorms/campuses, and other places that need authentication. It requires an iPhone.
- "Captive Wi-Fi network support on tvOS allows you to use your iPhone or iPad to connect your Apple TV to networks that need additional sign-in steps, like at hotels or dorms," said Apple.
It lets users bring Apple TV and HomePod on travels. Your iPhone or iPad must also be updated to iOS 15.4.
Apple TV now connects to captive WiFi networks. Illustration: FlatpanelsHD
Apple has improved its 'Up Next' feature. From the default video player, which is used in Apple's own video apps and some third-party apps (not Amazon, Netflix), you can now pause or swipe up on the remote control during playback to see your queue.
Also, in the Apple TV app there are now separate Up Next queues for Apple TV+ and channels in addition to the unified Up Next queue.
Apple TV+ and 'channels' like Paramount+ now have separate Up Next queues. Screenshot: FlatpanelsHD
Your Up Next queue can now be accessed while watching a show/movie. Screenshot: FlatpanelsHD
The AirPods spatial audio menu that can be accessed from Apple TV's control center by holding down the Home button on the remote has been redesigned to make better use of the space on-screen.
Also read: Spatial audio on Apple TV 4K: What it is, how it works & supported apps/games
Two other new features are the ability to use an Apple Watch (with watchOS 15.4) to complete purchases of apps and games on Apple TV as well as the option to put HomeKit camera feeds in Picture-in-Picture while watching a movie.
Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K can be updated to tvOS 15.4 from the settings menu now.
Apple TV's Spatial Audio menu has been revamped. Screenshot: FlatpanelsHD
New features on HomePod
Captive WiFi support has also arrived on the original HomePod and HomePod mini. Both speakers run tvOS.
Siri on HomePod now understands Dutch, paving the way for an official launch in the country. There is a new American Siri voice that can be selected from settings.
Apple is also testing Siri in Danish, Swedish and Norwegian on HomePod as part of a closed beta.
HomePod will automatically update to tvOS 15.4. You can check its current OS version from the iPhone/iPad's Home app.
Apple tvOS 15.4 – release notes
tvOS 15.4 lets you complete a purchase on Apple TV with Apple Watch, adds the ability to display HomeKit cameras in Picture in Picture while watching TV, and supports connecting Apple TV to Wi-Fi networks that require additional sign-in steps, like those provided by hotels or dorms. This update also includes performance and stability improvements.
- Use your Apple Watch, along with an iPhone or iPad, to complete a purchase on Apple TV.
- Keep an eye on your home — even while watching TV — by using Picture in Picture to always show a home camera feed.
Captive portal Wi-Fi networks
- Use Apple TV in more locations, like hotels or dorms. With your iPhone or iPad, you can now connect Apple TV to Wi-Fi networks that need additional sign-in steps.