Apple TV gets its biggest update in ages, here's what it adds (and takes away)

tvOS 17.2 now available with a number of key new features

Apple TV tvOS 17.2
(Image credit: Apple)

As we reported last week, Apple TV boxes have now started to receive the general tvOS 17.2 rollout and are getting new features and capabilities as we write.

There are also a couple of things being removed, but you shouldn't really worry about them as it's done to make the overall experience better.

Here we detail exactly what your Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD boxes can do now. Plus, the changes that have arrived on the Apple TV app for iPhone, iPad, Smart TVs and other streaming devices.

Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD: new features

Apple tvOS 17 already brought some neat features to Apple TV boxes, including the ability to use FaceTime on a big screen, and the interface has never looked better.

Now we get some major changes to the Apple TV app on the box, with a new sidebar that makes it a whole lot easier to find content – especially if you subscribe to the MLS Season Pass or third-party channels.

Apple TV home screen

(Image credit: Apple)

The new bar is contextual depending on the user who's signed in (ie. which profile is in use).  It more easily lists the Apple TV+ service, channels, apps, and gives you direct access to the store and your library of purchases. That's pretty important considering that another big change with tvOS 17.2  is that the iTunes Movies and TV Shows apps have been shut down.

When you do click on those apps on the original home screen, they now direct you to the Apple TV app – everything is now in the same place.

This makes it much easier to keep track of your purchases, rent or buy new films and shows, as well as instantly restart videos and series you're partway through.

Another thing that the sidebar brings is the ability to switch profiles quickly – that's also on the Apple TV app across Smart TVs and other streaming devices.

Apple TV app changes on mobile

The Apple TV for mobiles and tablets also gets a new Home menu – a unified guide that works like the TV sidebar. It presents a chart of the top shows, channels & apps, and new content that's easier to find and navigate through.

You might have to wait a little longer for the Apple TV app to update on your phone, though.

Apple TV app

(Image credit: Apple)
Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.