Photo: Peter Kotoff (Shutterstock)
While you might not think too often about the software running on your Apple TV, Apple releases a major update every year. In the fall of 2021, Apple will release tvOS 15, which will bring some quality of life improvements to the Apple TV: you can finally log into apps with Face ID on your iPhone, for example, not to mention support for spatial audio for AirPods Pro and AirPods Max and SharePlay support for watching movies and TV shows with your friends on FaceTime using your iPhone.
If you don’t want to wait until fall to try out these features, install tvOS public beta. However, since this is a beta, it won’t be exactly smooth as you can run into issues or freezes. Plus, there is no way to restore the latest Apple TV 4K model if something goes wrong. So you have to wait until a software update fixes a bug for you.
You can revert to the original 2015 Apple TV HD model and we’ll talk more about that below.
Sounds good? Then let’s talk about installing the tvOS beta on your Apple TV.
Here’s how to download the tvOS 15 public beta on your Apple TV
To gain access to tvOS public beta, you must sign up for Apple’s public beta program. Once you’re signed in, your Apple TV will be able to receive beta updates wirelessly. You don’t need to connect your Apple TV to your computer to do this – all you need to do is register your Apple ID for Apple’s public beta program.
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Open Apple’s Public beta program website on your computer and click on “Sign In”. Then sign in with your Apple ID (the same Apple ID you use with your Apple TV). Accept the terms and conditions to sign up for the program and that is all you have to do on the website.
Now switch to your Apple TV. First, make sure you’re using the same Apple ID on your Apple TV. To do this, open the “Settings” app and go to “Accounts“Section. Here you go to the”iCloud“,”iTunes and App Store, “or”game Center“Sections. Make sure your Apple ID is the same and you’re good to go.
Next, go to the Settings app system > Software update, activate the “Get public beta updates“And agree to the terms and conditions.
Once activated, your Apple TV will receive public beta updates for tvOS 15. To install the public beta, go to the settings > system > Software update and click on “Update software“Button. In the pop-up, select the option”Download and install” Possibility.
Now you can just let your Apple TV do it. It will download, install, and restart your Apple TV. Once that’s done, tvOS 15 will run.
What are the new features in tvOS 15?
If you own AirPods and HomePod minis, the tvOS 15 update will make your life a lot better. tvOS 15 finally supports Apple’s auto-connect feature for AirPods (you’ll see an on-screen notification that will help you connect your AirPods quickly). AirPods Pro and AirPods Max also get access to spatial audio for an immersive listening experience in supported apps. And you can use two HomePod minis in a stereo pair.
There is native support for the SharePlay feature as well. When you run iOS 15 on your iPhone and watch something with your friends on FaceTime, you can seamlessly move the media to the Apple TV while you continue the call on your iPhone. The playback and media controls will continue to sync with the rest of the group call.
And as mentioned earlier, you can use Face ID on your iPhone (using the iCloud Keychain) to sign into apps.
How to restore your Apple TV
If you’re having trouble with the tvOS public beta, you can try restoring your Apple TV HD (this won’t work with the 4K models).
- Disconnect the HDMI cable and power cord from the Apple TV and connect it to your Mac using a USB-C cable (best if you’re using macOS Catalina or later).
- Open the Finder on your Mac and select your Apple TV in the sidebar. Select the option “Restore” here.
- Follow the instructions to complete the recovery process.
If you’re using a Mac with macOS Mojave or older or a PC to restore your Apple TV, you’ll need to use iTunes (select Apple TV from the source list here).
What devices does tvOS 15 support?
tvOS 15 supports all three major Apple TV models that come with a Siri remote (with a touchpad). Here is the list:
- Apple TV HD (2015)
- Apple TV 4K (2017)
- Apple TV 4K (2021)