Apple and tvOS 17 bring FaceTime to the Apple TV with Continuity Camera

FaceTime on a display connected to Apple TV
(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple TV 4K is one of the best streaming boxes around, although it's also one of the most expensive. That extra expense can be justified by a number of things like tvOS, Apple Arcade support, and more. And now you can add FaceTime support to the mix as well.

Or at least you will be able to later in 2023 when tvOS 17 is released to the public. That's expected to happen around September time, but Apple previewed the software during its WWDC 2023 event on June 5. Complete with the addition of FaceTime.

You won't need to buy a new Apple TV 4K to make this all work either. That's because tvOS 17 will use your iPhone, and Continuity Camera, to make this particular brand of magic happen.

Camera, Action!

If Continuity Camera rings a bell that's probably thanks to the same feature that turns your iPhone into a Mac webcam without the need for any wires. It's also the feature that this writer suggested Apple should use to bring FaceTime to the Apple TV earlier this year, too. And it seems someone inside Apple Park agreed.

Apple details the feature in a press release, saying that "starting this fall, Apple TV 4K users can take advantage of the new FaceTime app on Apple TV and initiate calls directly from Apple TV, or start calls on iPhone or iPad, and hand them off to Apple TV." The press release goes on, adding that "FaceTime on Apple TV takes advantage of Continuity Camera support to wirelessly connect to the user’s iPhone or iPad, and leverages the device’s camera and microphone to bring participants together on the TV."

This all requires tvOS 17 to work, and that update is still a few months off from being ready for primetime. But once it does arrive people will be able to put FaceTime callers on the big screen for the first time — the only surprise is that it took this long to happen.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.