TV Shows on Apple TV now sorted by recent episodes

The new Apple TV is now filling the "recent" slots on the home screen's top shelf and the iTunes TV Shows app's purchased tab based on the release dates of new episodes. Previously they were filled based on date of purchase. That meant if you bought a season pass to a new show, then several older shows, the "recent" slots would stay on those older shows, even if new episodes for the previous purchases were released. TL;DR: The new way is significantly better, and if you want the details as to why, go back to the iTunes TV Show section of my Apple TV review.

The reason Apple can make changes like this without pushing software updates is because things like top shelf and purchased slots are dynamic and determined on the server-side. That's how they update when you buy new things, or new content becomes featured. It's always been one of my favorite things about the Apple TV, and it's terrific that it remains that way now that tvOS is fully in the picture.

If you don't immediately see the chance, force quit the TV Show app by double-clicking the home button and swiping it up and away with the glass touch pad. Then relaunch it and wait moment for it to re-populate the recents list.

Can't wait to see what Apple TV improvements get pushed out next!

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

15 Comments
  • Apple needs to improve the local library interface. It's identical to the previous Apple TV and just awful for people like me with very large local iTunes libraries. And now with the new touch remote what used to be holding the down button to look through tons of TV shows is now countless swipes down. The interface at least needs to change to show title / season / episode. And PLEASE let Siri search it.
  • Since Apple became a big time player they no longer put any effort into serving users with locally hosted content. Home Sharing on Apple TV 4 is the same crappy experience we've had since the product was launched many years ago. Apple wants you to buy and rent new content from iTunes and from their business partners, and they probably consider Home Sharing content to be mostly pirated material so they intentionally neglect it. Fortunately, you have a great alternative. Install Plex on your Mac, and get the Plex app on your Apple TV. It's easy to set up and lets you access all your locally hosted content on your Apple TV with a modern interface. It has many features Apple lacks, such as the ability to access content directly from any folder, instead of just from an iTunes library, plus you can set up different users with access to different content. On top of that, you can also access your content remotely via their iOS apps. The quality of your experience will be limited only by how well you've curated your local content with proper metadata, It's basically what Apple should have provided years ago if their hands weren't tied by deals with content owners. Apple's holding all the cards for Siri support right now. When the Apple TV 4 was announced they claimed they were going to open up their API so third party developers could use it as well. But that was some time ago and we haven't heard another word about it.
  • I think Apple said the Search API, not the Siri API?
  • You're right, they specifically mentioned opening the API for "universal search" without specifying access to Siri. But given the Apple TV's terrible on-screen keyboard and non-support for the iOS Remote app (and it's keyboard) one could be forgiven for assuming users would be allowed to perform a universal search of third party app content via Siri. Otherwise, it's hardly worth offering it in the first place, isn't it? The distinction may lie in enabling Siri search functionality for third party apps without exposing the search data to third party developers. Regardless, it's been almost two months since the announcement and still no additional details on this API or when it will be available. It's going to be disappointing if we have to wait until WWDC before developers get access.
  • It could be worse. Many wanted Plex for years now.
  • I don't rent or purchase any content from iTunes, and none of the Apple TV's new features work with Home Sharing. So If not for the Plex app, I would have returned the Apple TV.
  • I appreciate the Plex option, but much of my local content was purchased from iTunes. Since I have it locally I have no desire to stream it, I want to play it from the local library. I employ smart playlists and like the way they work.
  • Ah, got it. Is this because you have bandwidth issues or an ISP data cap to contend with? I have a 20Mbps connection (typical throughput ~15Mbps) and streaming on aTV works very reliably for me. Regardless, your comment reinforces my decision to refuse to pay for DRM'd content. I've gone so far as to delete what little video content I'd purchased on iTunes and replace it with the non-DRM'd variety. You can probably tell I lost any "blind faith" in Apple some time ago.
  • One thing that has always pissed me off about the way Movies and TV Shows are displayed, since the ATV 2 days, is the fact that instead of my purchased content up top, it's a carousel of "top" shows I don't own. I don't care about that crap, and Apple never changed that. Also: were you guys hacked last night? This site, Fox, and Disney were all offline last night. As if all your servers went down at the exact same time.
  • It should show you your stuff on the left, new store arrivals on the right.
  • Only up to three items of mine, and there's a time limit. After a certain amount of time (without a new purchase) it becomes all new stuff.
  • I definitely noticed because it pissed me off that it wasn't like that when it was released. I'm hoping the episodes will be easier to navigate soon to.
  • When watching ABC or CBS that has commercials, I wish they put a mute button on the apple remote. My TV remote does not have one. Yes I can just turn down the sound on the remote, but a mute button is the best thing humans invented. Sent from the iMore App
  • another Apple innovation!
  • One thing for sure is that Supergirl is an awful TV show. Posted via the iMore App for Android