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How FaceTime on Apple TV will work - and more on other tvOS upgrades coming soon

Apple announced the new FaceTime for Apple TV feature and other tvOS updates during WWDC. We've gathered everything you can expect from these features this fall.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
Reviewed by Min Shin
FaceTime with Apple TV

Video calls are getting an upgrade worthy of an Apple ecosystem, as the company announced new FaceTime for Apple TV capabilities that enable a user to place FaceTime calls on their iPhone and transfer these calls to their Apple TV -- or place a call directly from the TV using the FaceTime app on the TV.

Also: Here's what Apple doesn't want you to know about your iPhone's battery

But FaceTime isn't the only update coming to tvOS this fall. We'll also see a new Control Center, a new feature to find your Siri remote, and more. We've rounded up everything we know that is coming to tvOS to keep you in the loop.

How FaceTime on Apple TV will work

FaceTime on Apple TV will wirelessly connect the Apple TV to the iPhone or iPad and use the mobile device's microphone and camera while showing the images on the TV screen. This is possible with tvOS 17. When the device is aired with the Apple TV, users can access their contacts and call log on the TV.

The FaceTime on Apple TV feature will take advantage of the camera potential in iPhone or iPad, as it will support critical capabilities like Center Stage, where the subject is kept in the center of the captured image. If there is more than one person in the shot, the camera will adjust to keep the subjects perfectly framed in the center.

Also: iPhone envy? Here are 3 iOS features already available on Android

These FaceTime calls will also support Reactions that show up on the screen. These Reactions are animations that appear onscreen during a call when a person makes a predetermined gesture at the camera and will also be available with iOS 17.

Users also will be able to use SharePlay to watch their favorite shows together during a FaceTime call while everyone stays in sync, bringing a new look to family movie nights. 

When users decide to use the SharePlay feature during a FaceTime call, one or both sides can browse through streaming content on their device without the other side seeing what they're doing. When the parties collectively settle on something to watch, the person playing the content can choose to SharePlay with everyone on the call. 

Also: The Apple products you shouldn't buy this month

Apple will use the Continuity Camera feature to launch the FaceTime app on the Apple TV. Apple announced the Continuity Camera API would be available for developers to launch their own tvOS apps using the iPhone's or iPad's cameras on the Apple TV. Some examples of this include Zoom and Webex, as well as other videoconferencing services.

Apple TV will also provide third-party VPN support for developers, letting them create their own VPN apps for Apple TV.

More updates coming to tvOS

Aside from this, tvOS will get a wave of updates, including some highly-requested ones, like an option to locate the Siri remote. Here's a roundup of all the tvOS updates we know about so far:

Locating the Siri remote

The Apple TV remote, called the Siri remote, is a smart thing to behold. It's a great device on its own, standing out among plastic remotes from other streaming devices with its aluminum build and touch controls. But it's also the perfect shape to get wedged between the couch cushions, which happens -- a lot. 

Users don't have a way of finding a Siri remote if it's lost. I got mine a silicone case with space for an AirTag, so I can always find it, but no one wants to spend an extra $30 on a remote. Apple is finally answering Apple TV customers' requests and allowing them to find the Siri remote when lost.

Also: 7 ways AirTags can simplify your life (beyond tracking keys)

The best part? Locating the Siri remote works with Bluetooth, so those with older iPhones can take advantage of this feature; no UWB chip is required. The worst part is that the feature was built in all along, and Apple just now decided to make something more of it.

Redesigned control center

Apple made room on the dock for an extra app on each row of the home screen, and it redesigned the Apple TV Control Center, accessible on the top right corner of the screen.

Also: 5 useful iOS 17 features Apple quietly released at WWDC 2023

When you go to the Control Center after tvOS 17 is available, you can access more options like adjusting audio settings, setting sleep timers, and going to a HomeKit tab to view your smart home cameras. 

Enhance Dialogue

Have you ever had to rewind a show or movie a few seconds because you missed what they said? It's the reason I used closed captions, even when watching something in my native language. Apple is adding an Enhance Dialogue feature to the Apple TV, but it'll only be available when paired with a second-generation HomePod.

Also: StandBy Mode on iOS 17 turns your iPhone into a smart display - and I have questions

This feature will enhance and isolate the dialogue to the center channel, letting you hear it more clearly, particularly during scenes with a lot of background noise, like music and sound effects. 

Support for Dolby Vision 8.1

tvOS 17 will also support Dolby Vision 8.1, as confirmed earlier this month. This will give Apple TV 4K users a more cinematic experience when enjoying their video library. 

New screensavers, including your photos

Apple is adding more of its screensavers to its collection for the Apple TV, including locations at Monument Valley and the California coastal redwoods. But it's also letting users add Memories from their personal or shared photo libraries to share on their Apple TV. 

Also: How to mute a MacOS Apple Mail conversation (and why you should)

tvOS 17 will also store additional preferences in individual profiles, including language settings and AirPod pairings. This will create a more customized experience for users. 

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