Apple tvOS 17 now available in public beta

Mike Wheatley

Apple has announced that Apple TV media box owners can now check out the first release of tvOS 17 in public beta, which had previously only been accessible to developers.


The tvOS 17 update was first announced in June at Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC 2023. Since then it has been made available through a number of developer betas, ahead of its official launch scheduled for autumn. However, those who don’t want to wait for the new features can access them now by joining Apple’s program for beta testers.

To get tvOS 17, you’ll first need to sign up on Apple’s public beta website with an Apple ID. Then, simply head to the Settings app on your Apple TV, select the Software Updates function under System, and click the Get Public Beta Updates option and it will start downloading the new version.

The Apple TV tvOS 17 update brings some interesting new features, with one of the most exciting being the availability of FaceTime. Users are required to connect an iPhone or iPad to their Apple TV 4K box, as this device will serve as the camera. Once connected, the FaceTime interface will show up on the television’s much larger display, while the Center Stage feature will track the user as they move around the room. There’s also a Split View feature that makes it possible to use FaceTime while continuing to watch whatever TV show is playing.

The update also brings a newly revamped Control Centre, which provides easier access to key settings and information without needing to access the Settings app first. It also allows users to create shortcuts to whatever settings they wish to have at their fingertips. For example, users can quickly alter the Spatial Audio settings, switching from head tracking to fixed, and enable spatialised stereo sound.

For users who regularly lose their second-generation Siri Remote, they’ll appreciate the newfound ability to track it down, which is available in the Apple TV Remote section of the iPhone’s Control Centre.

There are other new features too, including new aerial screensavers, plus screensavers that use images from the Memories section of the iPhone’s Photos app. In addition, Apple is rolling out an “enhanced dialogue” function that’s designed to make it easier to hear what people on screen are saying above the background noise and music.

Accessing the public beta of tvOS 17 is easy, but bear in mind that the update is still in the testing process, so Apple may not have ironed out all of the bugs in the software just yet. Problems can arise and some apps may not work as expected, so those who want to avoid such issues may want to hold off until the general release later this year.