As spotted by Sigmund Judge on X (formerly Twitter), the latest beta version of tvOS 17.2 changes what happens when you hit the Siri button on the Apple TV remote. Rather than simply invoking Apple's voice assistant, it overlays a search bar on your screen that lets you "search for movies, TV shows and more" (above).
That might sound like a small tweak, but it could make it a quicker way to find things on the Apple TV box. Siri remains a notoriously hit-and-miss way to search for shows and it looks like the tvOS 17.2 software update will also let you filter your search results.
Apple hasn't completely pushed Siri to one side in its refreshed UI – you can still use the voice assistant to search for things, but you'll need to hold down the Siri button for a few seconds rather than tapping it once.
The update also brings big changes to the streaming box's Apple TV app. Beta testers have found that there's now a customizable sidebar that gives you quick access to apps that integrate with the TV app (which sadly doesn't include the likes of Netflix). You can also choose to hide unwanted channels and apps from this sidebar.
While there's no precise release date for the final version of tvOS 17.2, it's expected to land sometime in December, just in time for your festive TV marathons.
Another control boost
Apple's Siri remote has come a long way since the much-derided version that came with the Apple TV 4K (2017). And while this tvOS 17.2 update won't change its hardware, it could be a small but useful improvement to the way we use the remote.
Of course, the update doesn't address all of our complaints about the streaming box – and we'll need to have a longer play with that updated Apple TV app before we're convinced that its new sidebar experience is a big upgrade.
But despite its foibles and relatively high price tag, we still rate the Apple TV 4K (2022) as the best streaming device out there – and the recent addition of new VPN apps like ExpressVPN in tvOS 17 only strengthens its case compared to the likes of the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (2023).
All the Apple TV needs now is some cloud gaming apps like Xbox and GeForce – perhaps they'll eventually come in a later update like tvOS 18.
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Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.