Apple tvOS 15 has arrived, for some. This year's update to the new Apple TV software platform is now available in beta, meaning that anyone who's signed up to Apple's beta program can download the new OS.
You might not want to, of course – Apple TV 4K devices can't be reset to earlier tvOS iterations, so you should only opt for tvOS 15 right now if you're ready to stick with what you get, potential teething issues of the beta and all.
There isn't a huge amount different with tvOS 15 compared to last year – at least partially because Apple tends to release smaller iterative updates throughout the year, too – but there are a few key features to get excited about, such as SharePlay and Spatial Audio support.
But how do you even install tvOS 15, and when will the finished product actually roll out to customers? You'll find everything you need in the guide below, whether you're an Apple TV owner, developer, or prospective Apple customer.
Install tvOS 15: public beta
The tvOS 15 public beta kicked off in early July. To gain access to the public beta, though, you'll need to have enrolled in Apple's Beta Software Program, enabling you to "access the latest features" in tvOS 15 (and any other Apple software betas) as well as give Apple timely feedback through a dedicated app (should you wish to).
You can sign up now at the link below.
Sign up here: Apple Beta Software Program
When can everyone install tvOS 15?
The finalized version of tvOS 15 went live in September 2020, after two months of public beta – and we expect a similar timeline in 2021.
That means September is likely when tvOS 15 will be available for everyone else to install on their Apple TV devices.
What's new for tvOS 15?
There's the introduction of SharePlay, an Apple-specific feature for co-watching TV streaming services with friends over FaceTime (which is getting some limited support on Android devices too). You'll be able to set it up for a host of streaming platforms over Apple TV like Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Twitch, Pluto TV, ESPN+ and Paramount Plus – though not Netflix – casting from your iPhone to Apple TV hardware while continuing to chat into your handset.
Spatial Audio support is coming to both tvOS and MacOS, making audio through the AirPods Max and AirPods Pro headphones more immersive, while adding dynamic head tracking – and you can even connect HomePod Mini speakers to Apple TV too.
Another addition is multi-user viewing recommendations that show up no matter whose user profile is selected. So if you're watching with roommates or family members, you'll have a handy place to look through things you all enjoy, and not be cursed with a single person's algorithm for deciding every movie night.
How to install tvOS 15 for developers
If you've downloaded a beta version of tvOS before, it's relatively easy: simply go to System > Software Updates on your Apple TV device, and tvOS 15 will be available.
If this is your first time accessing a tvOS beta, you'll need to head to developer.apple.com on your Macbook. The head to Discover > tvOS and find the blue Download button in the top right corner. You'll need to input your Apple Developer ID to proceed, enabling you to download the software to your desktop.
Check that your Apple TV device and Apple Mac are on the same wireless / Wi-Fi network, open Xcode and select the Apple TV device when it's shown. Input the code showing on your Apple TV, and then open Apple Configurator on your Mac. Select the Apple TV device, and then drag the tvOS 14 download file over the icon to start installation.
- tvOS 15: every new Apple TV feature
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Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.