Forthcoming Apple TV Software Upgrade Includes Folders, App Switcher

Forthcoming Apple TV Software Upgrade Includes Folders, App Switcher

Good news for those who have the latest-generation Apple TV: a forthcoming version of the software will add folders, an improved app switcher, support for Bluetooth keyboards, and Apple's Podcast app. The excellent video below from 9To5Mac gives you a clear idea of how these new features will work.

Folders are created in a fashion similar to iOS: dragging an app on top of a second app. (And similar to iOS, one selects and drags app icons by first pressing and holding the remote's touchpad until the icons begin wiggling.) You can have an unlimited number of icons in a folder.

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In addition, a new shortcut for moving apps is built in. When the apps are wiggling, pressing the Play/Pause button brings up a list of options, including quick moves to folders or deleting an app.

Despite having written at length about the new Apple TV, I hadn't realized that it has an app switcher that one invokes by quickly pressing the Home button twice. Of course, this conveniently lets you access another app without first going to the Home screen. The app switcher has been redesigned in the forthcoming version of tvOS and will now be a carousel of overlapping screens similar to iOS 9.

Support for Bluetooth keyboards is another major—and welcome—feature. When doing searches and entering your login credentials, you'll no longer have to use the remote to select letter by letter.

Of course, when it comes to searching, Siri is ultimately the fastest way to go. Initially Siri was limited to searching five apps, but Apple promised that  Siri would soon be available in additional apps. Earlier this month it was reported that Siri searches have begun including results from two apps from PBS—the first instance in which Siri has gone beyond the original five apps. Expect many more to come.

The tvOS 9.2 beta also includes Apple's Podcasts app. It's a fully featured app that's very similar to the Podcasts app in iOS 9. According to the video demo below, it doesn't include video podcasts, though the demo notes that these are typically available on YouTube.



These are all welcome developments, and will greatly improve the interface. This beta version tvOS 9.2 was recently released to developers, and there's no word when the upgraded software will be available to everyone.

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Jim Karpen's picture

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.