The New tvOS 11

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For those that do not know, “tvOS” is the operating system that runs on the Apple TV.  This formula takes the iconic iOS-style design elements and then translates them to an interface made specifically for television.  tvOS is designed to put content first, with a familiar app design that’s easy to navigate through with a touch-based remote and Siri voice commands.

tvOS, like iOS, features a full app store that allows users to choose apps to install on their TV. The app store features well known content-based apps like Netflix and Hulu, but it also features games, weather, educational options, photo viewing apps, music apps, and more.

What’s New

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The new tvOS 11 update for the Apple TV will bring different changes to On-Demand Resources, or ODR for short.  According to the article “Apple formally announces tvOS 11” by Rich Woods, “This will allow developers to make apps that are small to download, but be able download more content as needed” (Woods).  This also increases the bundle size from 200MB to 4GB.

Additionally, tvOS 11 will have support for right-to-left languages.  Please note this feature has been included in iOS and Mac for years, and it is a little surprising it took this long to add it.

Home Screen Sync is a new option that can be enabled after connecting your iCloud account. You will be able to toggle Home Screen Sync on and off anytime by going under the General settings in the app. With Home Screen Sync enabled, you can rearrange your apps from any Apple TV running tvOS 11 and see the changes reflected on all other Apple TVs with the same iCloud account. Home Screen Sync also automatically installs apps across Apple TVs with the feature enabled.

Automatic appearance switching is the other new user-facing feature in tvOS 11. Apple TV gained a new dark mode in tvOS 10, but you had to switch between the light and dark appearance manually.  tvOS 11 gains a new automatic option that changes between light and dark mode based on the time of day.  Also to note, light mode is enabled at sunrise and dark mode is enabled at sunset, so you’ll need to enable your specific time zone for the feature to work.

Also, there are some new features coming to the update, however, they do not have any major significance for the user and apply more to possible developers.  For example, one of those minuscule features involves developers having the ability to place buttons that are not seen through the actual app, which can add background colors.

There is an element that should be highlighted, even though it is still a developer based update.  It involves a type of style called Preferred-User-Interface-Style, and this allows the developer to work more efficiently with different themes and choose a theme, if it is not chosen by the user.


tvOS 10 had clearly more content featured when it came out.  With tvOS 11 some of the features are nice, however, they wouldn’t make me go out and buy an apple TV.  This might be why Apple withheld a major press conference for tvOS, unlike iOS, macOS and watchOS.


Woods, Rich. “Apple formally announces tvOS 11.” Apple formally announces tvOS 11. Neowin, 07 June 2017. Web. 12 June 2017.




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