Apple's tvOS 17 arrives with new control centre, find my remote and more

Mike Wheatley

Apple officially unveiled the latest version of its TV operating system software tvOS at its annual WWDC developer conference, adding new features for the user interface and navigation.


The most obvious change is the redesigned tvOS control centre, which provides quick access to multiple settings such as audio output to AirPods or HomePod, a quick-search function, Wi-Fi settings and power options.

Apple provided a brief look at the new control centre on stage at WWDC, showing how users can quickly alter the Spatial Audio settings, switching from head tracked to fixed, and enabling spatialised stereo sound. It also introduced some new system status indicators, such as the user’s name and the time they have been logged in, and a way to switch user profiles quickly.

Apple also presented a quick reference to Dolby Atmos within the Spatial Audio settings menu, which gives users an easy way to confirm their Apple TV is outputting Dolby Atmos sound, and tweak the Dolby Atmos settings on AirPods.

There are fewer updates on the audio visual side, though there are some new references in the tvOS codebase to support for Dolby Vision 8.1, which will allow for a more cinematic visual experience using dynamic metadata across a wide range of content and video streaming platforms. Also new is the Enhanced Dialogue mode, which is designed to enable clearer speech over background noise such as explosions, similar to what Amazon Prime Video added recently.

To enable Enhanced Dialogue, users will need a HomePod 2 device to separate dialogue from the background sound effects by moving it into the centre channel. This isn’t possible without a HomePod, unfortunately.

Another new feature is Find My Remote, which will help those who have trouble finding their Apple TV Siri Remote after it slips behind the sofa cushions. Simply grab your iPhone - assuming that hasn’t also succumbed to the sofa - open the Find My iPhone app, and it will direct you towards the missing remote.


Last but not least, Apple said it’s bringing FaceTime to the Apple TV 4K, meaning users will be able to accept a call to their iPhone and open it up on screen through their Apple TV. In addition, FaceTime SharePlay is a new feature for Apple TV that allows users to watch content in sync with whoever is calling them. The content from the Apple TV app will play on the left-hand section of the screen, with the FaceTime call visible on the right side.