tvOS 13: All the news and features of Apple’s next TV operating system

After unveiling being unveiled at this year's WWDC 2019 conference, tvOS 13 is ready for developers to download – the second beta is ready to test on Apple TV and Apple TV 4K and all developers need to do is go to the software update section. 

The big differences for tvOS 13 are that it will finally offer multi-user support with personalized recommendations, as well as be compatible with both the Xbox One and PS4 DualShock 4 controller for Apple Arcade play. 

Here's everything we know about Apple's next TV smart platform after the official announcement: 

tvOS 13 release date

Disappointingly, the one thing we didn't hear at WWDC was Apple tvOS 13's release date – so it's still TBD. That said, however, developer previews have already started rolling out, with the second wave of code hitting on June 17.

When can you get your hands on it? Well, based on previous years, global availability on Apple TV and Apple TV 4K should roll out sometime in September or October – around the time Apple could launch its Apple TV Plus streaming service.

A screenshot of what Blue Planet looks like on Apple tvos 13

tvOS 13 will have personalized recommendations for everyone in your home – here’s what Blue Planet looks like. Image Credit: Apple

tvOS 13 news and features

New home screen and multi-user support

The most important update coming to tvOS 13 is the new home screen, which will offer better recommendations for everyone in the family. For this to work, each user in the home will need their own profile, including your kids, but when it's setup you'll see TV shows, movies and music recommendations personalized to you.

What's unclear at this point is if those profiles will need to be tied to an Apple account or if there will be one master account that has the payment info for everyone – attaching a credit card to a kid's account sounds like a potentially awful idea, but it seems likely that Apple will adopt Parental Controls for these accounts.

So how will you switch between accounts? Apparently, you'll be using Control Center.

Shown briefly on-stage during the keynote, Control Center on tvOS will be the brains behind the operation – allowing you to switch accounts, access settings and sync devices. That last bit is important because…

Apple tvOS will support Xbox One and PS4 controllers 

It was apparent that Apple Arcade would require controllers ever since it was announced last year – how else could you play 3D platformers like Oceanhorn 2? 

Now we know exactly which controllers we'll be using: the Xbox One and PS4 DualShock 4 gamepads.

Apple announced that Microsoft and Sony's first-party controllers would be compatible with tvOS in the next update, whenever it arrives.

There are still a few question marks here – like what functionality, if any, will the DualShock 4's touchpad have on the Apple TV – but it's the first time Apple has ever announced compatibility with Sony and Microsoft's gaming hardware on-stage at a WWDC, so that's big news in and of itself.

A screenshot of Oceanhorn on tvOS13

Here’s what OceanHorn looks like on tvOS13. Image Credit: Apple.

Apple Music lyrics and a new screensaver 

We knew Apple Music would play a key role at WWDC this year, just not on Apple TV. That said, however, we're happy it made an appearance.

New on tvOS 13 will be the ability to see lyrics on Apple Music in time with the song – a minor feature, but one that's nice to see all the same. To go alongside the new lyrics, you'll also see personalized song recommendations on the new home screen based on your listening habits to help you find that next hit.

The last new feature Cook mentioned was a new screen saver that Apple shot in 4K HDR. It's of a coral reef and it should turn a few heads when it arrives on tvOS 13.

  • Catch all the announcements from the event in our WWDC 2019 news hub


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