Apple WWDC Keynote ads have come and gone, and the latest version of our favorite operating systems is now available to beta developers. Of course, I dug for all these little features that didn't get any Keynote love, including the ones on the Apple TV. Although smaller, here are six features that provide some much-needed customization and control.
Apple Aerial screensavers are one of our favorite features for the Apple TV because they offer amazing views on just about anything. From deep sea creatures, to stunning views of the city, to the view of our planet from the International Space Station, the screen savers on Apple TV are a joy to have on the big screen when we don't get bored of the latest shows.
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In tvOS 14, Apple has added a new setting that allows users to see which Aerial screen savers will appear and will not appear. Users can choose to show or hide screensavers in four categories: Landscape, Earth, Underwater, Cityscape. Here's how to find the latest setting:
One of the biggest tvOS 14 announcements was, of course, support for the HomeKit cameras on the big screen. The new integration provides live touch-only viewing in the control center, complete with support for full-screen viewing and even rich notifications.
Now, HomeKit support on Apple TV is certainly not new, as Siri voice controls and third-party apps have been available for several years now, including camera apps. However, the new implementation of the Apple camera adds something to which previous versions of tvOS did not have access to: audio audio.
The combination of integrated camera and audio views makes Apple TV one of the best ways to monitor action inside and outside your home. Simply set up your camera as a full screen view to watch kids playing outside or to do it as a personal screen saver in the background.
When it comes to gaming, Apple's Arcade TV ads revolve around the Game Center. Apple has been in the process of reviving the previously forgotten service, which offers achievements, and multi-player, in recent years, and in tvOS 14, includes support for resuming the saved progress for each user profile.
However, it doesn't just end there, Apple integrates Game Center directly into the Arcade app and the AppStore. As you browse through the list of available titles, you'll see a large area that highlights the progress of the game in certain games. Apple also offers an encouraging message, such as "You're in the role" and the total number of achievements unlocked for the game, along with a button to launch the game.
Even though it doesn't seem to be active yet, a new splash screen seen after opening the Arcade or AppStore on tvOS 14 also mentions how the Game Center integration will show the games your friends and family play. The recent push of the Game Center not only makes discovering games easier, but shows that Apple intends to make the service a much more social experience, which we hope will bring more features and, more importantly, games in the future.
The user profiles, apart from the progress functions of the aforementioned Game Center, are largely unchanged in tvOS 14. There is, however, a tiny improvement, which was extremely necessary and appears in the form of a notification. As with connecting to a Control Center user profile, tvOS 14 now displays a notification every time it wakes up.
This notification shows the active user, as well as a reminder of how to switch users by holding down the Home button on the Siri remote. Sure, it's not the biggest change, especially for those who don't share Apple TV with others, but it will no doubt help prevent those occasions when you can't figure out why the Apple TV shows the show differently. or movies in the Up Next area.
During the WWDC homepage, Apple, as usual, talked a lot about the importance of privacy and how its applications and services are designed with you. One such example is the latest anti-tracking measures built into the web browser, Safari, along with a new privacy report that will provide the number of blocked trackers and a list of URLs.
While tvOS 14 was not specifically mentioned, Apple has renamed a privacy setting specific to previous Apple ads as just Tracking in the settings app. Previously, the ad-specific setting was listed as Limit ad tracking and stated the following:
Ad tracking allows Apple to deliver targeted ads.
In tvOS 14, the setting has been renamed Allow applications to request tracking and now includes the following description:
Allow applications to track the activity associated with your unique in-app advertising identifier and share information about your use with affiliates.
The setting seems to be turned off by default and can be found by following these steps:
Along with Game Center enhancements, Apple has added four new restrictions to its gaming service. Now you can find settings to disable Nearby Multiplayer, Private Messaging, Avatar and name changes and profile privacy changes, all of which can help provide a safe gaming experience for everyone.
The last feature on our list is more of a PSA than a real feature, as Apple removed several AirPlay 2 audio output settings in tvOS 14. Previously, you could press and hold the play button on the Siri remote to access the switches for selecting a compatible speaker for audio playback, such as HomePod.
This shortcut has been removed altogether, as has the Settings option, which suggests that Apple may have something in store later on the road, such as the rumored ability to permanently set up a HomePod as a TV speaker. Of course, this could just be Apple's way of consolidating controls, as users can still select playback destinations through the Control Center.
Do you find any hidden TVOS feature that you might have missed or have a feature that you are excited about? Tell us in the comments below!
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