Newest Apple TV Software Update, tvOS 15, Launches Sept. 20 — Here’s What To Expect

The next version of Apple TV software, tvOS 15, should officially launch on Sept. 20th. That’s the date Apple specified for its iOS 15 release (which is what tvOS is based on) following the conclusion of its annual fall event. While much of the online showcase’s overall runtime was unsurprisingly dedicated to its latest smartphone lineup, Apple TV fans did receive some key news on the software that powers the company’s dedicated streaming boxes.

To kick off its online event, Apple spent a few moments praising its streaming service, Apple TV+. CEO Tim Cook highlighted the nominations and awards that several Apple TV+ titles have earned, especially breakout hit Ted Lasso.

For Apple TV users, though, the key date to watch for is Sept. 20, since that’s when the first public release is expected to go live. When it does, owners of eligible devices will have a few new features they can check out and explore. However, one marquee new trick, the multi-device SharePlay feature, won’t arrive with that first release.

Which Apple TV Models Are Eligible for the tvOS 15 Update?

The upcoming update to tvOS, version 15, will be available on the three most recent hardware releases. That includes the Apple TV HD (released back in 2015), the first-generation Apple TV 4K from 2017, and the second-generation Apple TV 4K, which launched earlier this year. In case you’re curious, we reviewed the newest Apple TV 4K a while back and found it to be a mighty powerful, if pricey, streaming machine.

What Features Are Coming to Apple TV with the tvOS 15 Update?

As for what features users can expect when tvOS 15 launches, Apple shared details on several new tricks at its Worldwide Developers Conference back in June. Here’s what’s coming when tvOS 15 is officially released:

  • For All of You: A new section in the Apple TV app meant to suggest content based on the interests of multiple users in your household.
  • Shared With You: Another new area of the app, Shared With You gathers together all the shows and movies your friends and family have shared with you via the Messages app.
  • Spatial Audio: Simulates a surround sound, home theater setup when wearing AirPods Pro or AirPods Max audio gear.
  • Smart AirPods Routing: Makes it easier to connect your AirPods for private listening.
  • HomeKit improvements: Expanded functionality when using HomeKit-compatible smart home devices, including support for multi-camera views.
  • HomePod speaker compatibility: Adds the ability to pair your Apple TV with the company’s HomePod mini smart speaker. Apple says you can pair two speakers for stereo sound.

What Feature Is Not Coming When tvOS 15 Launches?

Sadly, one key feature that Apple highlighted back at WWDC won’t be ready in time for the tvOS 15 launch. SharePlay, the company’s take on the Watch Party feature, is still in development and Apple announced back in August that it’s not quite ready for prime time.

SharePlay lets users on eligible devices like iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple TVs to all view content in sync with each other. Friends and family can, say, enjoy a movie together via Group FaceTime and chat and react in a shared viewing experience. The concept is similar to the Watch Party feature we’ve seen added to various streaming devices during the past year or so. Beyond movies and shows, SharePlay also works with a new Apple Fitness+ feature called Group Workout, which lets you exercise with friends and family via Group FaceTime call.

Of course, we’ll continue to keep an eye on SharePlay’s progress and report back as we learn more. In the mean time, Apple TV users itching for the latest software can check out tvOS 15 when it’s expected to go live on Sept. 20th.