Apple's tvOS 13 Operating System is Available Now for Beta Testers

Mike Wheatley

Apple this week made the first public beta of its upcoming tvOS 13 software available to download, giving early adopters a chance to play with some of its new features ahead of a general release expected this autumn.


Apple has promised the new software will be a fairly radical update, with the most prominent change being a new Home screen that has been designed to make it easier to discover new content. The Home screen now comes with support for auto-playing news shows as the user scrolls through the list of titles, somewhat similar to how Netflix automatically plays trailers of its movies and shows as you navigate its menu.

The tvOS 13 update also introduces multi-user support for the first time. Again, the idea seems to have been borrowed from Netflix, as each family member can now create their own account with a personalised interface that comes with specific recommendations based on their own viewing habits. Users can also create their ‘Watch Now’ lists and music playlists, Apple said.

The software will also enable Apple TV users to play video games via its new gaming service, Apple Arcade, which will go live later in the year. Apple has promised unlimited access to over 100 exclusive video game titles for a single subscription fee, and the updated tvOS will ensure that controllers such as the Xbox Wireless Bluetooth Controller and the PlayStation DualShock 4 Controller are compatible with its hardware.

On the aesthetics side, Apple has teamed up with the BBC’s Natural History division to create a bunch of new screensavers with an “under-the-sea” theme. There’s also a new “picture-in-picture” mode that allows Apple TV users to browse other apps while watching their favourite films and TV shows.

Those who would like to test the new software will need to sign up for Apple’s beta testing program first of all. Once they’ve done that, they can download the update by going to the Settings app on their Apple TV and navigating to the “Software Updates” section under the “System” menu. From there, switch on the “Get Public Updates” function and the system should automatically download the new version.