New Evidence of Apple HomePod With Display Surfaces in tvOS 17.4 Beta 3

New Evidence of Apple HomePod With Display Surfaces in tvOS 17.4 Beta 3

Apple has been rumoured to launch a new HomePod that comes with a display for almost a year. Now, new evidence of it being in the advanced stages of development has reportedly surfaced in Apple’s software. Just months after the tech giant launched the second generation of HomePod in January 2023, reports of a display-fitted speaker, similar to the Amazon Echo Show, began making the rounds. The audio product is said to sport a 7-inch touchscreen display that will function as an entertainment system as well as an interface for video calling.

The hints came from the codes within the tvOS 17.4 beta 3 update that was rolled out on Tuesday (February 13). 9to5Google spotted the existence of an unnamed device registered as Z314, which is capable of running the OS, mentioned in the strings of codes of the update. This new device reportedly runs on the A15 Bionic chipset. Further, the publication also found that production versions of the device were under test and development is ongoing. This could mean whatever product the code refers to, is likely close to entering production.

While at first glance, all of this might appear to be unrelated pieces of information, the report claims that they point towards a new HomePod with a display attached. As tvOS runs on both Apple TV as well as HomePod, the device could likely point at either of the two devices. However, none of them require the A15 Bionic chipset. An earlier report has highlighted that Apple might be testing tvOS 17 on the iPad mini 6 as a display companion for the HomePod. Incidentally, the iPad mini 6 is powered by A15 Bionic chipset.

Apart from this, there were additional hints that point to the new HomePod. As per the report, the update adds the SwiftUI framework to the HomePod firmware. SwiftUI is a user interface framework for building user interfaces for Apple’s operating systems. HangTracer, a system to debug unresponsive UI was also added. The report points out that these additions would not be required for the HomePod unless Apple was planning to add a display interface to it.

In March 2023, tipster Ming-Chi Kuo first tipped that a display-fitted HomePod could be in the works. He highlighted that the new product could feature a 7-inch display and might launch in the first half of 2024. Tianma Microelectronics, an electronic technology company that supplies displays to other businesses, was said to be the exclusive panel supplier for Apple’s redesigned HomePod. More details of the purported smart speaker with a built-in display are likely to arrive in the coming months.


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How to delete apps on an Apple TV | Digital Trends

How to delete apps on an Apple TV | Digital Trends

Apple TV is easily one of the best streaming devices you can get, hands down. It’s a gateway to all your streaming services like Netflix and Disney+, and it can be used for gaming, fitness, music streaming, and other fun and helpful apps. But therein lies the problem — there’s almost too much to do with the Apple TV, so much so that over time, your device’s home screen can get pretty crowded with apps.

The good news is that you can clean things up pretty easily, either by offloading apps you don’t use, but want to keep in the background, or giving the ax to apps that you’re just done with. Here’s how to delete apps on Apple TV.


Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

How do I delete an app on Apple TV?

It’s time to cull your app herd, and it’s easy to do. But don’t worry, you canc any apps you delete without needing to purchase them again, but keep in mind that deleting an app will also remove its data, which may not be recovered.

Certain apps, like Apple’s own native apps such as Podcasts, Fitness, or Apple Music, can’t be deleted at all, but can be moved into folders to organize things better or keep them out of sight. But first, here’s how to delete an app from your Apple TV.

Step 1: From your Apple TV’s Home Screen, scroll over or down to find the app that you want to uninstall, and hover over it with your remote cursor.

Step 2: Press and hold down the remote’s Select button for a couple of seconds until a menu appears. On newer Siri remotes, that button is the center of the clickpad at the top of the remote. On older Siri remotes, you’ll want to press down on the middle of the touch surface without moving.

How to delete apps from Apple TV.

Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Step 3: The menu will give you options to Edit Home Screen, allowing you to move the app icon to another location; Move to…, which lets you create a new folder to group similar apps in (just like on your iPhone) or move the app to an existing folder; and finally, Delete App, which is why you’ve come here.

Step 4: Choose Delete from the new menu and you’ll have the option to delete the app or Offload the app (you can no longer hide apps on Apple TV via the Settings menus. Offloading apps keeps the icon on your device, but effectively removes the app). Select Delete and the app is gone.

How to delete apps from Apple TV.

Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Additionally, if you are using multiple Apple TVs on different screens, you’ll want to go to the Users and Accounts section in Settings, choose your profile, and enable the option One Home Screen. This will sync up any changes that you make to apps and your Home Screen on one device to all your other tvOS devices, so you don’t have to repeat the steps.

One final note — you can switch between light and dark modes on Apple TV using the Appearance option in the General section of Settings. This may make navigation easier, or could help you find the apps you are looking for more quickly. You can also use automatic mode, which switches to dark mode at night.

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SharePlay is coming to Apple TV and HomePod | Digital Trends

SharePlay is coming to Apple TV and HomePod | Digital Trends

Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

Get ready to give your friends and family even more control over what’s playing on your TV and speakers. Apple appears to be prepping SharePlay for Apple TV, as well as HomePod speakers. Per MacRumors — and confirmed on our own hardware — the latest developer betas for tvOS 17.4 and iOS 17.4 add functionality that lets others take over the music experience in the same manner that previously was only available on CarPlay.

Again, this is part of a developer preview and not yet in production software. So features could change. Or disappear. Don’t go rearranging your life around any of this just yet.

But the basic premise is simple enough. Just like in CarPlay, choosing the SharePlay icon will pop up a QR code, either on your iPhone or on Apple TV. Your friend or whomever then scans the code and is granted access to the Music app and can change things up from their phone, using your Apple Music subscription.

SharePlay on Apple TV.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

The usefulness of SharePlay on tvOS is maybe a little questionable given that there’s likely a remote control laying around that could be used pretty easily, but it’s still a good thing to see the feature expanding beyond CarPlay. And it’s definitely easier to use a phone to search for something to play than it is to use the remote to pick one letter at a time.

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SharePlay itself has been around for some time now, having made its debut with iOS and iPadOS 15.1 in 2021 and initially allowing users to share movies, music, and other content with each other during FaceTime calls. It expanded to CarPlay with iOS 17, allowing someone in the back seat to easily hop into the DJ role, which is good or bad, depending on who’s riding along.

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Apple tvOS 17.2 has a redesigned TV experience and no iTunes Movies or TV Shows apps

Apple tvOS 17.2 has a redesigned TV experience and no iTunes Movies or TV Shows apps

Alongside iOS, iPadOS and watchOS updates, Apple has rolled out the latest version of tvOS. The main change this time around is a redesign of the core Apple TV app.

You’ll now see a sidebar that blends content from Apple’s own services (such as Apple TV+, MLS Season Pass and a Store where users can buy and rent popular movies) with access to third-party channels and apps such as Disney+ and Max. It seems that Apple is aiming to improve navigation and discoverability without straying too far from the industry standard tile browsing format on the homepage.

On living room devices (i.e. Apple TV hardware and the eponymous app on smart TVs and other devices), the sidebar will include profiles. Apple says this will allow you to swiftly switch between users for more personalized recommendations across the app and in the Up Next section. Meanwhile, Watch Now has been rebranded as Home.

Apple

The Apple TV app’s Store tab is where you’ll want to go to buy or rent movies and TV shows. Starting today, the iTunes Movies and TV Shows apps on Apple TV 4K and HD devices will redirect users to the Apple TV app’s Store tab to find and manage their purchases. The same goes for the iTunes Store app on iPhone and iPad.

Meanwhile, you’ll now be able to answer FaceTime calls directly on Apple TV 4K devices. Apple has added support for FaceTime audio calls as well.

The tvOS 17.2 update is now available with a redesigned TV app | Digital Trends

The tvOS 17.2 update is now available with a redesigned TV app | Digital Trends

Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

It’s update day in Apple land. And in addition to the new hotness that is iOS 17.2 for phones and tablets, and MacOS 14.2 Sonoma for, uh, Macs, we also have tvOS 17.2 for Apple TV.

We’ve been running the beta track for a little while now and already have talked about updates to the sidebar in the TV app, as well as new functionality for the Siri button on the remote control. And they’re still there, which is good.

That first bit actually is part of a larger redesign of the TV app. It still mostly looks and feels the same, just with the sections now off to the side. It’s cleaner, though it will take just a little bit of time to get used to.

“The redesigned Apple TV app makes it easier than ever for users to watch the shows, movies, and sports they love through an intuitive interface that brings content to the forefront,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of services, said in a press release. “With so much available to watch, our aim is to ensure users always have their favorites at their fingertips.”

The new sidebar visible in the TV app on Apple TV in the tvOS 17.2 developer beta.
The new sidebar visible in the TV app on Apple TV is part of the tvOS 17.2 developer beta. Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

The updated app also extends to phones and tablets, adding a new “home” section that Apple says is “a unified guide for all the shows, movies, and sports viewers love.”

And that’s all true, provided that the service that’s being unified actually plays nice with what Apple is doing here. In other words — you still won’t find any Netflix content. But you will find shows and movies and live events from many other services, and it really is making the TV app a must-have.

The update also makes it easy to switch users on Apple TV. But there’s still a pretty good chance you’ll miss that part because unlike with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, which serve up the option to change users before you actually get into the app itself, you’ll have to seek it out before selecting whose shows and recommendations you’ll see. (I have the same complaint with YouTube TV.)

The tvOS 17.2 update is available now. Head to Settings, then System, to get it.

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Apple’s latest tvOS beta kills the iTunes Movies and TV shows apps

Apple’s latest tvOS beta kills the iTunes Movies and TV shows apps

Apple’s latest tvOS beta suggests the iTunes Movies and TV Shows apps on Apple TV are on their way out. 9to5Mac reports the set-top box’s former home of streaming purchases and rentals is no longer in the tvOS 17.2 release candidate (RC), now available to developers. (Unless Apple finds unexpected bugs, RC firmware usually ends up identical to the public version.) Apple’s folding of the iTunes apps into the TV app was first reported in October.

9to5Mac says the home screen icons for iTunes Movies and iTunes TV Shows are still present in the tvOS 17.2 firmware, but they point to the TV app, where the old functionality will live. The publication posted a photo of a redirect screen, which reads, “iTunes Movies and Your Purchases Have Moved. You can buy or rent movies and find your purchases in the Apple TV App.” Below it are options to “Go to the Store” or “Go to Your Purchases.”

The change doesn’t remove any core functionality since the TV app replicates the iTunes Movies and TV Shows apps’ ability to buy, rent and manage purchases. The move is likely about streamlining — shedding the last remnants of the aging iTunes brand — while perhaps nudging more users into Apple TV+ subscriptions.

The update also adds a few features to the TV app on Apple’s set-top box. These include the ability to filter by genre in the purchased section, the availability of box sets in store listings and a new sidebar design for easier navigation.

Apple has increasingly invested in video content as it relies more on its services division for growth. Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon debuted in theaters in October, earning critical acclaim and awards-season buzz for the months ahead. (It already became the first streamer to win a Best Picture Oscar in 2022.) Scorsese’s film is currently available to rent or buy in the TV app, and it’s scheduled to land on Apple TV+ “at a later date.” Apple’s high-profile original series include Ted Lasso, Severance, The Morning Show, Foundation and Silo, among others.

Apple TV with Zoom means it’s finally time to call your mother | Digital Trends

Apple TV with Zoom means it’s finally time to call your mother | Digital Trends

Zoom on Apple TV uses your iPhone as a camera (sweet dog blanket not included). Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

Zoom is now available on Apple TV, complete with Continuity Camera. That means you can use your iPhone camera as, well, the camera and your TV as the screen on which to see the folks on the other side of the call. And because Zoom is a cross-platform app, it means you don’t have anymore excuses for your Android-wielding family.

All of which means: it’s time to call your mother.

OK, so there have been other ways to call home via video, of course, even using your iPhone in conjunction with Apple TV. FaceTime has worked on tvOS with Continuity Camera with the rollout of tvOS 17. And it’s very cool. But if you’re looking to talk with someone who isn’t on an iPhone, or who just prefers a different app for this sort of thing? Zoom is going to be a very cool option.

And because we’re talking about Continuity Camera and not just static lens that’s pointed in your general direction, it’ll zoom in on most important face (or faces, if you’ve got the family on the couch with you), and even track your ugly mug if and when you start to drift a little bit.

There’s not much you have to do to get things going. It just requires Zoom on your Apple TV — which, by the way, is our pick for the best streaming device — and then a few taps to get things going (you don’t even have to log in if you don’t want to). Then you approve using your phone as the camera, and Bob’s your uncle.

One strong recommendation, though: If you’re at all serious about this sort of thing — whether using Zoom or any other video calling app with Apple TV, and whether you’re alone or with family — spend a few bucks and invest in a basic tripod that’ll hold your phone. Nobody wants motion sickness because you’re weaving all over the place. And going hands-free lets you pay more attention to what’s really important — the family on the other side of the call.

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Express VPN joins the growing ranks of VPNs on Apple TV | Digital Trends

Express VPN joins the growing ranks of VPNs on Apple TV | Digital Trends

Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

One of the bigger features added to tvOS 17, at least on paper, was the ability for Apple TV to run a VPN application. That’s a big deal because folks don’t tunnel their entire home network traffic through a virtual private network, both because they’re probably normal human beings who don’t attempt such things and because routers don’t always make that an easy thing to do.

And the news today is that ExpressVPN — one of the bigger players in the space — is now available for Apple TV. It joins a growing cadre of tvOS-capable VPN apps, which at the time of this writing includes VPNify, X-VPN, IPVanish, PureVPN, hide.me, LeapVPN, US VPN, and Anycast, for starters.

It’s been virtually impossible to be anywhere online in recent years without running into a VPN somehow — most prominently through extremely heavy marketing. That’s in part because VPNs allow you to make it look as if your device is based in some other country, which can allow you to watch something that’s, say, on Netflix in the U.K., but not available on Netflix in the U.S. It’s also because VPN providers have spent a ton of money on affiliates, getting websites and podcasters and other influencers to hit folks where display ads don’t. (Yes, we also have our list of the best VPNs for Apple TV.) They’re marketed as must-have services for privacy, though their necessity — even on public Wi-Fi networks — can definitely be debated. And to be fair, they’re a simple method to do some basic masking of where you are and what you’re doing online.

In any case, the floodgates have opened for tvOS and Apple TV. The VPN apps have arrived. There will be more. Fortunately, for now, they’re constrained inside the App Store, and you have to seek one out if you want to use it.

Subscriptions, available via in-app purchases, run from $13 a month to $117 a year.

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Latest Apple TV beta adds search via the remote’s Siri button | Digital Trends

Latest Apple TV beta adds search via the remote’s Siri button | Digital Trends

Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

Apple TV 4K is still the best streaming device you can buy, but there’s also one button the remote I almost never press on purpose. But that may finally be about to change.

In the latest developer beta for the tvOS platform, Apple has added a wee bit of functionality to the Siri button on the side of the Siri Voice remote. (That’s the little button on the right-hand side that has a microphone on it.) In the production software — that is, what most folks are running today — clicking the button activates Siri, basically the same as if she were on your phone. Say “Ted Lasso” and it’ll take you straight into the Ted Lasso show on Apple TV+ in the Apple TV app on your Apple TV 4K. Say “Opeth,” and it’ll start playing Opeth on Apple Music.

(That wording, by the way, is my repeated reminder to Apple that using the same name for a premium streaming service, and the same name for the app in which that service resides, and the same name for the hardware on which you will find both of those things, is particularly silly.)

A new search feature on Apple TV 4K.
Pressing the Siri button on the remote now opens a search box in some apps. Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

But in the latest developer beta — which is not final software by any means and is subject to change — pressing the button once opens up a search box on your television screen, and activates the microphone. You’re encouraged to speak your query, which will then look up results across supported apps, and then you choose where to go from there.

For now, unsurprisingly, things seem to be pretty contained within Apple’s apps. This all works from the home screen and appears to search across multiple apps — “Search Movies, Shows and More,” it says. It works within the Apple TV app and invites you to “Search TV.” Pressing it within the Apple Music app invites you to “Search music.” Pressing it in YouTube TV or Hulu … does nothing. That’s not a surprise, given that this feature is part of the developer beta and not in release software. (It also doesn’t yet work in Photos, Podcasts, or Arcade.)

Long-pressing the microphone button, by the way, still activates Siri as before, throughout all apps.

Again, this is all subject to change. (And in the back of my head it has me wondering if Apple will change the microphone button on the remote to a search button instead.) But for now? It’s a fun little addition, alongside the beta changes to the Apple TV app itself.

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How to turn off the Apple TV app’s auto previews on an Apple TV | Digital Trends

How to turn off the Apple TV app’s auto previews on an Apple TV | Digital Trends

Apple TV — the hardware — is one of the best streaming devices money can buy, giving you access to your favorite streaming services like Netflix and Prime Video, as well as apps, games, and more. But another reason one might use the Apple TV device is for the Apple TV app itself. Not only is it the hub from which you access the Apple TV+ streaming service and all its original movies, TV shows, and live sports, it can also act as an an aggregator to help you find shows and movies on your other services.

If you do use the Apple TV app, you might find the auto-play video previews that show up on the Apple TV home page or in the Apple TV app itself really annoying. First, If your sound is up, they can kick in and startle you. Plus, maybe you just want to scroll at your own pace and don’t like having content served up to you. Also, if you have small kids sitting waiting for you to return with the popcorn for movie night, you don’t want them exposed to previews for scary content like The Enfield Poltergeist. Or worse … The Morning Show.

Turning this off will stop the auto-playing of previews in several places, and we’re going to explain it all for you. But just to be clear, this does not affect the auto-playing of previews in any other streaming apps such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. They have their own steps for disabling them.

Read on for how to turn off auto-play previews on the Apple TV app on an Apple TV. Note that this how-to was done on tvOS 17.


Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Auto-play video previews on the Apple TV home screen

Before we start, it’s beneficial to explain the various auto-play video preview features on Apple TV, starting with the home screen. This is where all your apps like Netflix, Hulu, Apple Music, and yes, Apple TV, are found. If you use the Apple TV app, you likely have it placed for convenience in the top row of your most-used apps.

With the auto-play video previews feature turned On, and the Apple TV app icon in the top row selected, any content that has a video preview (not everything does), whether it’s an Apple TV+ original or from other sources, will auto-play a video preview, but without sound. With a swipe up of the Apple TV remote, the previews go full-screen and play with sound in all their glory.

Turning auto-play video previews Off disables the video previews when the icon is just selected, and still-shots of the suggested shows and movies will scroll by as normal. But, swiping up is like saying “I want to see the video previews anyway,” in which case the turned-Off auto-play is overridden and anything with a video preview will play full-screen and with sound.

The Apple TV+ home screen with an image from Invasion.

Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Auto-play video previews inside the Apple TV app

It’s similar when in the Apple TV app with the auto-play previews turned On. In the Watch Now section, any content that has a video preview will play, with sound. In the TV+ tab, it’s all original content, so it all will auto-play with a preview. Sports, Store, and Library do not show video previews.

Turning the auto-play previews feature Off disables the automatic playing of all video previews in both the Watch Now and TV+ sections inside the Apple TV app and there will just be still images and title information that you can scroll.

Now, with all of that out of the way, here are the steps for how to turn the auto-play video previews feature off.

The Apple TV main menu showing the Settings app highlighted.

Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

How to turn of auto-play previews on the Apple TV app

Turning off the Apple TV apps’s auto-play preview feature is super easy. Here’s how.

Step 1: From the Settings menu, scroll down to and select Accessibility.

How to turn off auto-play previews on Apple TV: the Accessibility seoection.

Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Step 2: Scroll down again and select Motion.

How to turn off auto-play previews on Apple TV: the Motion selection.

Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Step 3: Lastly, scroll down to highlight Auto-Play Video Previews and click the remote to switch it from the On to Off.

How to turn off auto-play previews on Apple TV: switching it to the Off position.

Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

That’s it, that’s all. That’s just one of the little Apple TV tips and tricks we’ve covered at Digital Trends. Now you can enjoy your Apple TV on your own terms without those annoying previews playing.

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