tvOS 18: InSight, audio enhancements, subtitle upgrades, new screensavers and more

WWDC 2024
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple is adding several new features to tvOS 18 to make the viewing experience on Apple TV even better. The company announced the upgrades at WWDC 2024 on June 10. 

Later this year, tvOS 18 will roll out an enhanced dialogue option powered by machine learning to provide greater vocal clarity so you can hear everything the actors say. Subtitles are improving significantly by turning on automatically when the user lowers the volume or rewinds the scene. The next version of tvOS will also support 21:9 projectors for the first time, so cinephiles can watch widescreen movies as directors intended. New screensavers for the Apple TV 4K 2022 are also on the way, including a category that plays scenes from Apple TV Plus originals. 

Speaking of Apple TV Plus, the service is gaining InSight, a feature that gives more information about what's happening on screen. Swipe down on your remote and find out which actors are present in the scene and what song is playing. 

Here's everything we know so far about tvOS 18.

tvOS 18: What you need to know

  • Added: Enhanced dialogue
  • Added: Support for 21:9 projectors
  • Added: Auto-on subtitles at relevant times
  • Added: New screensaver categories, including scenes from Apple TV Plus originals
  • Added: InSight on Apple TV Plus shows and movies

tvOS 18 release date

Apple hasn't set a specific date for the release of tvOS 18, but it should be sometime this fall. 

Most likely, it will be September 2023, judging by previous releases. tvOS 17 came out on Sept. 18, 2023, and tvOS 16 on Sept. 12, 2022. 

A public beta will be available in July.

tvOS 18 features

WWDC 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

At WWDC, Apple announced five major updates to tvOS 18. 

In audio, tvOS 18 will add enhanced dialogue with support for TV speakers and receivers and AirPods. The feature uses machine learning to increase vocal clarity and crispness. 

Subtitles, which viewers are relying on more and more, will automatically turn on at certain times — when the language in a show or film does not match the device language when users mute, or when they skip back while watching something. This allows for a seamless experience so the viewer doesn't miss anything.

In visuals, tvOS 18 is adding support for 21:9 projectors. This support could also possibly come to ultrawide monitors, but Apple hasn't confirmed that yet.

New screensaver categories will be available on Apple TV: portraits, TV and Movies (scenes from Apple TV Plus shows and movies), and Snoopy animations. 

Lastly, the Apple TV Plus streaming service is adding a new feature called InSight, which is similar to Prime Video's X-Ray. Have you ever wanted to know the name of an actor or the title of a song playing during a scene? InSight is here to help. By swiping down on your remote,  you can quickly get information on all the actors currently on screen and the song title playing in the background.

tvOS 18 devices

While Apple did not specify which Apple TV devices will be compatible with tvOS 18, the software is likely to be compatible with all Apple TV 4K models. 

The three 4K Apple TV devices are the Apple TV 4K 2017 (1st generation), Apple TV 4K 2021 (2nd generation) and Apple TV 4K 2022 (3rd generation). 

tvOS 18 may also function on Apple TV HD (2015), but it's possible Apple may drop support for this model.

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Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.