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tvOS 18: Release date, features, Apple TV compatibility, more

Updated May 21st, 2024 10:11AM EDT
HomePod with a screen release date
Image: Apple Inc.

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tvOS 18 is Apple’s upcoming new operating system for the Apple TV streaming media player and HomePod speakers. After a packed tvOS 17 update, it’s unclear what the company might unveil to revamp the existing features for this hardware, apart from minor tweaks.

With iOS 18 expected to feature a major revamp focused on AI, here’s what we know about tvOS 18.

What will Apple call the next tvOS update?

While it’s difficult to predict what Apple might call macOS system versions, it’s pretty straightforward with tvOS.

If Apple follows the trend, tvOS 17’s successor will be called tvOS 18. As of now, we still don’t know the internal codename for this operating system. But even when we do, it won’t matter, as it won’t change how the company will name tvOS.

tvOS 18 features

With tvOS 17, FaceTime comes to Apple TV 4K for the first time, allowing users to enjoy the app on their TV for even more engaging conversations with family and friends.Image source: Apple

Unlike hardware releases, it isn’t easy to know which software improvements Apple will bring to its new operating system since it’s all in-house. Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman says iOS 18 could be an “ambitious and compelling” upgrade, but we don’t have details about tvOS. We are also expecting big changes for macOS 15 and iPadOS 18.

Last year, Gurman said tvOS 17 would be another mild update, as Apple wasn’t planning anything significant for Apple TV users. Still, the company added FaceTime, a revamped Control Center, Find My to the Siri Remote, third-party VPN support, and Apple Fitness+ improvements.

Apple even gave tvOS 17 screen time during WWDC 2023. Let’s hope the same happens with tvOS 18.

Since tvOS relies very much on the company’s services, such as Apple TV+, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and Apple Fitness+, changes in these services would also mean new features for tvOS users. That said, we expect tweaks for Apple Music and continuing updates to the other services. You can also learn more about the Apple One subscription here.

Apple Music SharePlay

Image source: José Adorno for BGR

During tvOS 17.4 beta testing, Apple planned to add Apple Music SharePlay to Apple TV. Users would be able to add songs to a queue by scanning a QR Code. Unfortunately, Apple removed this feature, and even with tvOS 17.5, it didn’t bring it back.

It’s possible that Apple might be saving it for tvOS 18 instead.

tvOS 18 release date

If Apple follows the trend, the company will unveil tvOS 18 at the WWDC 2024 keynote. The conference will take place on June 10 at Apple Park. After that, tvOS 18 will be available for developers to try out.

Around July, a public beta will be made available, with the official release date expected to be September, around the iPhone 16 announcement. Since the company offered a public beta for HomePod owners last year, Apple could also do the same for the upcoming software this year.

tvOS 18 beta and public beta

tvOS 18 beta isn’t available to Apple TV users. Still, it’s likely that anyone can enroll in the program. Once the testing version is available, follow the steps below:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap System, then Software Updates
  • Select Get Beta Updates, agree with the terms, and select tvOS 18 Beta Developer or tvOS 18 Public Beta
  • Update your TV to the latest version available

Compatible Apple TV models

Apple TV 4K tvOS 17Image source: Apple Inc.

Since Apple introduced tvOS, the company has supported all Apple TV models, starting with the 2015 HD version. It’s unclear if Apple will drop support for this model to focus only on the 4K version.

Currently, these are the set-top boxes and smart speakers that are supported by tvOS 17:

  • Apple TV HD (2015)
  • Apple TV 4K (1st gen)
  • Apple TV 4K (2nd gen)
  • Apple TV 4K (3rd gen)
  • HomePod (2018)
  • HomePod mini (2020)
  • HomePod 2 (2023)
José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.