tvOS 9.2: Hands-on with the new features

We have been covering the fourth generation Apple TV for a few weeks now. Detailing some of the devices top features as well as common tips like using the Siri Remote and pairing bluetooth devices. But now, Apple has seeded the very first beta of tvOS 9.2 to developers, which includes number of new features and improvements. The update is still pretty fresh, so we are going to dive in and take a look at some of the tvOS 9.2 newest features. 

tvOS 9.2: Hands-on with the new features

Say hello to Folders

For people that were looking for better organization on the Apple TV home screen, you’ll be happy to know that tvOS 9.2 has added folders. Nearly identical to how it works on iOS, you can create folders for similar or dissimilar apps. So, instead of having Netflix, HBO GO, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, spread across your homescreen, you can create a single folder to store all of them.

Adding Folders on Apple TV 4

To create a folder on tvOS 9.2, tap and hold an app until it enters wiggle mode. Once in wiggle mode, drag and hold the app over another app that you want to include in the folder. After a second or so the app will drop down creating a familiar gray folder. You can rename this folder to your liking.

Folder - Apple TV

You can also create a new Folder by going into toggle mode on any app, followed by pressing the Play/Pause button. This is will bring up the option either delete the app or create a new folder for it.

New Folder - Button

Of course, for people that have very few apps on their Home screen it’s not the biggest deal, but it is a handy feature and again aligns tvOS and iOS closer together.

Updated Siri

Siri, the infamous personal assistant, has been upgraded to support more languages on the Apple TV. The new languages include U.S. Spanish (for those in the U.S. only), French Canadian (for those in Canada only), UK English (for the United Kingdom) Australian (U.S. English). All these languages have now been added to the Siri language database.

You can select a language by going to Settings -> General -> Language (under the Siri heading).

Siri - Languages

App Switcher

The app switcher on tvOS 9.2 beta 1 has been slightly altered to more closer mirror the experience we are used to on iOS. Double tap the home button on the Siri Remote to bring up the new app switcher.

App Switch - tvOS 9.2

The old Apple TV app switcher took a departure from the iOS version due to its having a very large, centered thumbnail of the most recent app, versus the staggered layering with the most recent app to the right of the screen.

Old Switcher

Moreover, swiping left to right went forward on tvOS 9.1, whereas swiping left to right takes you backward to older apps on iOS. In tvOS 9.2 the swiping movement is exactly how it is on iOS 9.

MapKit

Unless you are a developer yourself, MapKit won’t do much for you immediately. But with the new MapKit framework being included in tvOS 9.2, developers of apps that you enjoy can start working embedding and creating maps for your benefit.

Podcasts

I am not a huge podcast listener, but I know there are tons of people who are, especially after the huge success of the Serial Podcast. The Podcasts app from Apple is now officially available in tvOS 9.2.

Podcasts - tvOS 9.3

Bluetooth Keyboards

Typing with the Siri Remote on the Apple TV is a pain in the ass. There is no way around it. The only way to make things better is to connect your iPhone using the Remote app. But if you want even more control over your typing, you can now connect Bluetooth keyboards thanks to an update with tvOS 9.2. To add a new Bluetooth keyboard, go to Settings -> Remotes and Devices -> Bluetooth. Make sure you keyboard is on and you should see it appear under the device list. Follow the steps and connect.

Remotes and Devices

It is a wonder why this wasn’t included during the initial release since you can do so on older Apple TV devices, but Apple must have had a reason to exclude it.

Check out our hands-on video of the new tvOS 9.2 features:

Don’t forget to Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos

Let us know what you think of the latest feature in tvOS 9.2 beta 1.