Everything you need to know about tvOS 11

Apple TV
Apple TV (Image credit: iMore)

Update: According to BuzzFeed, Apple will announce at WWDC that the official Amazon Video app will be making its way to the Apple TV.

tvOS 11 is assumed to be the name for the next iteration of Apple's operating system for its Apple TV set-top box. If Apple keeps to a similar program as the past few years, we'll see a preview of tvOS 11 during WWDC 2017 in June, with a release following at some point this fall.

While we wait, all we have is rumors and a healthy dose of speculation. Because of this, it's up to you to decide how much you want to know ahead of Apple's event, and how much you're willing to believe.

Apple Logo inside WWDC

Apple Logo inside WWDC (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

When can I get tvOS 11?

Assuming that Apple keeps to its usual patterns, tvOS 11 will make its debut at the 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). It's likely to first appear on Monday, June 5 during the keynote kicking off the conference, which will also likely showcase the next major revisions of iOS, macOS, and watchOS.

Apple will likely make the first beta version of tvOS 11 available to registered developers later that same day alongside betas for Apple's other new operating systems, but its probably not something that most people should take part in, especially not in the beginning. While both iOS and macOS are also likely to have public betas that launch sometime in July, as of yet, there has been no such program for tvOS. We'll have to wait until WWDC to find out if this will change.

Okay, but what about an official release date?

Unlike iOS, which has been made available a couple of days ahead of the release of new iPhones for several years now, tvOS only has one major update under its belt with last year's release of tvOS 10. The initial version, tvOS 9, arrived with the release of the fourth-generation Apple TV and wasn't compatible with previous versions of Apple's set-top box.

However, if last year is any indication, we'll see tvOS 11 release to the public at the same time as the new version of iOS. Last year, that date was September 13, just over a week after Apple's September 2016 events where it introduced the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. If Apple sticks to its patterns for iOS releases and releases tvOS 11 alongside iOS 11, it's likely we'll see the update on or around September 12, 2017.

Will it be easier to share my Apple TV with multiple people?

tvOS 11 is rumored to feature support for multi-user profiles. This feature would apparently allow you to create a profile on a shared Apple TV using your Apple ID. You could then set up your apps and sign into your different media services (Netflix, HBO, etc.) and use them as you'd like. When you're done, someone else could come along, use the same Apple TV, but select their own profile, which would load different iTunes content, app layouts, and use different accounts for Netflix and other media apps.

What about picture-in-picture?

While picture-in-picture video made its way to the iPad in 2015 with the release of iOS 9, it has yet to come to the Apple TV, which is likely connected to the biggest screen in your home, and thus a natural fit for the feature.

However, there are rumors that the feature will arrive on the Apple TV with tvOS 11. Just as it does on the iPad, the feature would apparently let you minimize the video in apps that supported it so that you can keep it playing while using another app. Want to focus on the latest episode of your favorite TV show while keeping an eye on the big game? That's the kind of thing you'd use this for.

What about an Apple subscription TV service?

Apple was once heavily rumored to be working on a streaming TV service, the likes of which we've now seen from Sling, DirecTV, and more. While talk of a skinny bundle-focused service has quieted down, new rumors have recently pointed to Apple potentially offering a bundle oriented towards premium TV channels, including HBO, Showtime, and Starz.

As for why Apple would focus on premium, the answer likely comes down to one word: deals. It's easier for Apple to make agreements with companies like HBO than it is for them to reach agreements with, for instance, every CBS affiliate around the country, which would be required in order to bring CBS programming to every customer of Apple's service in the U.S.

What else can you tell me?

Just remember that nothing is confirmed until Apple announces it. We'll find out what's really in store for tvOS 11 right alongside everyone else when Apple makes its announcements at WWDC.

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.