Apple TV 2021 killer upgrade just leaked — what you need to know

Apple TV
(Image credit: T3/Future)

The rumored Apple TV 2021 refresh is gearing up for gaming with news that the upcoming set-top box will support a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. 

The current line-up of Apple TV devices are hampered by the hardware, with Apple TV 4K capped at 60Hz. But 9to5Mac spotted references in the tvOS14.5 beta code that mention 120Hz support, bolstering the case for a new Apple TV this year.

We already know that Apple is shoring up the Apple Arcade game library, adding NBA 2K21, Fantasian, and a slew of classic iOS games to the service just last week. Given that the tvOS14.5 beta rolled out support for the PS5 and Xbox Series X controllers earlier this year, it's a safe bet to assume that Apple is focusing on gaming this year. 

The new Apple TV will need to ship with an HDMI 2.1 port to support 120Hz at 4K. 9to5Mac reported that such a device was in the works back in 2019, but we've yet to see it. But Cupertino is never one to rush things to market to play catch-up with competitors either, so it could be testing this internally and waiting for the opportune moment to launch a new gaming-focussed Apple TV. 

Just look at Apple's iPhones; the iPhone 12 series comes with a 60Hz refresh rate, while Android devices boast 90Hz to 120Hz — even budget handsets like the OnePlus Nord. And while Apple is rumored to be working on a foldable iPhone, it doesn't seem to be in any rush to release it.

But from what we've heard about the Apple TV 2021 refresh, the set-top box should be perfectly poised to win gamers over. Bear in mind, you'll need a TV that supports 120Hz, so head over to Tom's Guide's pick of best gaming TVs

Ideally, you want a 4K TV with 120Hz support if a next-gen console is on the cards, and the upcoming Apple TV refresh is just another reason to futureproof your setup.    

Shabana Arif

Shabana is T3's News Editor covering tech and gaming, and has been writing about video games for almost a decade (and playing them since forever). As well as contributing to Tom's Guide, she's had bylines at major gaming sites during her freelance career before settling down at T3, and has podcasts, streaming, and video content under her belt to boot. Outside of work, she also plays video games and should really think about expanding her hobbies.