In this review of tvOS 13 you can read what we think about this new update for the Apple TV. How do you like using multiple accounts and what are the other highlights? You can read it
tvOS 13 review
The Apple TV has been referred to as an Apple hobby project for many years. With the introduction of the Apple TV 4 (now called the Apple TV HD ) and tvOS , that changed, because it became a serious platform for developers to create apps and for which software updates would be released regularly. Still, it was a bit disappointing in both cases: the apps got off to a slow start and there were also few developments in terms of software updates. Only minor improvements were made, which have been overshadowed by innovations on the iPhone , iPad and even Apple Watch . Fortunately, tvOS 13see that things can also be done differently: handy new functions that really benefit you as a TV viewer. In this review of tvOS 13 you can read our findings of this new software update.
tvOS 13 review: New fresh design makes Apple TV more beautiful
The first thing that strikes you is the new design. The top row of apps is in a separate column, similar to the Dock on your iPhone , iPad, and Mac . When selecting an app, you will notice that the image of an app occupies the entire screen. This also brings new possibilities, for example with the Music app. As soon as you select the app (without clicking it), video clips will immediately start playing, right from the home screen. With a swipe up, the Apple TV switches to a full screen view, where you can swipe left and right to scroll through the featured music videos.
The Music app is one of the apps that shows the new possibilities of the home screen in a perfect way. We also see these extensive previews with the TV app and the Apple Arcade app. Developers also have the chance to take advantage of this, although we haven’t seen any apps that do that yet. We hope Netflix, Videoland and more will follow soon.
Other improvements we are happy with in terms of design are the adjusted app icons and the new animations. Opening the apps is now very similar to the animation that you already find in the TV app in the Movies tab. It not only looks nicer, but it also works a bit faster in our opinion. The rounded corners of the icons on the home screen make it all look a bit more friendly.
Finally multiple users
The Apple TV is (even more than an iPad) a typical device that is used by several people in the house. With the iPad, you can still see that several family members each have their own iPad, but two Apple TVs next to each other on the same TV is very unlikely. It is therefore strange that it has taken so long before there is better support for multiple users on the Apple TV . Apps like Netflix, Videoland and YouTube do offer multiple profiles of their own, but that was still missing for the standard apps.
In tvOS 13, Apple has finally done something about that. You can log in with multiple accounts and switch between them quickly thanks to the new Control Center on the Apple TV . You use the multiple accounts for the Music, App Store and TV app, so you can easily switch between different libraries, purchases and suggestions. That means that every family member can finally play his or her own Apple Music library through the Apple TV.
Nevertheless, there is still something to be desired regarding this function. The Photos app is the missing puzzle piece in multi-user support. Unfortunately, you can only link the Apple TV to one iCloud account, which is used to retrieve your photos. We would also have liked every user to have his or her own home screen. For now, all users still work with the same apps. You also notice this with games, so that every account on the Apple TV uses the same saved game files.
Another notable addition is the support for Picture in Picture on the Apple TV . In the TV app you can choose to play movies and trailers in a corner of the screen. Unfortunately, this function is still limited to the TV app, because we would prefer to see this system-wide in all apps that support video.
Also handy is the new lyrics mode. With a few presses of the Siri Remote you can turn your Apple TV into a true karaoke machine . We do find that activating the mode is still a bit cumbersome, because it works differently than was previously the case with the Apple Music lyrics . Once you get it up and running, it’s really handy to have it with it. You don’t activate the lyrics mode per song, because you can leave it on or off. This automatically plays each song with scrolling lyrics. The lyrics scroll with the music, making singing along a lot easier. Swiping the Siri Remote scrolls through lyrics and song at the same time.
Renewed apps are an improvement
Apple has also given a number of standard apps a new lick of paint. You can see that especially in the menus. For this, Apple uses the same style as with the TV app, with a pill-shaped menu bar. This makes all apps look the same in terms of layout. We also find it more comfortable to navigate. Especially the App Store on the Apple TV has been adjusted in a positive way. The app pages have been refreshed and you can now simply view the latest update descriptions. The menu structure is now the same as on the iPhone and iPad, with a subdivision for games, apps and the new Apple Arcade . Incidentally, Apple Arcade on the Apple TV also got its own app.
In our first impression of Apple Arcade , we already wrote that we prefer to have a separate app. You can also browse by genre within Apple Arcade on the Apple TV, for example puzzle games or games for the whole family. With the search function you can quickly find a title by name that is available via Apple Arcade.
Not yet tested: new screensaver
There is one feature that we have not yet tested. Apple promises 13 new screensavers of an underwater world in tvOS, in collaboration with the BBC. This feature was not yet in beta and we have not seen it in the final version, so we have not been able to try it out yet. From what we see from the images, the screensavers look beautiful again. On the Apple TV 4K they are also shown in HDR for an extra nice result.
- Good support for multiple users
- New refreshed design
- Nice previews of supporting apps
- Link Apple Arcade and game controllers
- Multiple users not working on Photos app
- Picture-in-picture only in TV app
Conclusion tvOS 13
The patience of Apple TV users has been tested in recent years. Many new functions were not added, but with tvOS 13 there are finally some leaps forward. The multi-user support is a very welcome addition, especially in living rooms where several people grab the Siri Remote to listen to their favorite music or watch movies. Combined with the new refreshed design and improved home screen, tvOS 13 is an update to be happy with. At the same time, it also shows that Apple still cares about the Apple TV as a hardware product and that there is also a future in it.
Do you also want to use the update after reading this tvOS 13 review? That’s possible, because tvOS 13 can now be downloaded for any suitable Apple TV. In our tip you can read how to update an Apple TV .