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Apple A-Z » Apple Software

tvOS 16

tvOS 16

Apple didn't mention tvOS 16 during the WWDC 2022 keynote, but it does exist and has a few new handy features. Since Apple TV acts as the Home Hub, the biggest updates are for HomeKit and Matter support.

● HDR 10+ support for new Apple TV 4K
● Nintendo Joy-Con compatibility
● Matter support
● HomeKit architecture upgrade

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The Apple TV platform matured quickly after tvOS was introduced since it is a place meant for consuming content, not performing tasks. So, each successive update seemingly adds less and less each year.

The tvOS 16 update is so minimal, Apple didn't even mention it by name during the WWDC keynote. Not even the HomePod mini, which also runs a version of tvOS, was mentioned on stage.

However, that doesn't mean tvOS 16 is without any updates or changes. Apple managed to find a few areas of the operating system to improve despite its maturity as a platform.

HomeKit changes

Matter has arrived in HomeKit, and since the Apple TV and HomePod mini act as HomeKit hubs, tvOS 16 acts as an important part of the integration. More devices than ever will be able to be added to HomeKit homes, but support doesn't mean much for existing HomeKit products.

Matter launched in the fall of 2022 Matter launched in the fall of 2022

The underlying HomeKit architecture was also updated with tvOS 16.2, though users have to initiate the upgrade manually — and only once every Apple device in the HomeKit Home was updated. The initial wave of upgrades showed varying degrees of success. Some users couldn't operate their home while others noticed no discernable difference.

Apple pulled the upgrade option temporarily to prevent any further issues. The company says anyone who successfully upgraded their home should be fine and have avoided the bug.

The HomeKit architecture update returned with tvOS 16.4. As devices get updated and third-party accessory makers sync up with Apple's latest release, the issues presented by the buggy update should dissipate.

Other tvOS 16 updates

Apple has baked in support for the latest HDR 10+ format into its updated Apple TV 4K. This means users can connect the 2022 Apple TV to a new television with HDR 10+.

Apple also added a new Remote Control app to iPhones running iOS 16. The app is opened when the Apple TV Remote button is tapped in Control Center. It is a full app that shows up in the app switcher despite not having an app icon in the App Library.

Nintendo controllers now work in tvOS 16 Nintendo controllers now work in tvOS 16, other new OS

Nintendo Switch controllers can now be used with Apple devices, and this includes the Apple TV. Connect a pair of Joy-Cons, the Pro Controller, or third-party controllers using the Switch protocol to your Apple TV running tvOS 16.

Small UI refinements appeared across tvOS 16 as well. The Apple TV app will show live previews of Apple TV+ shows when at the top of the TV+ tab, and people in a family will show up in the Control Center as suggested users.

Apple released tvOS 16 to the public on September 12, 2022. It also includes the HomePod software update version 16.