tvOS 9.2: All the New and Hidden Features

BY Osas Obaizamomwan

Published 21 Mar 2016

While Apple has yet to release its very own television, it has been keeping us at bay with the fourth generation Apple TV. We have been covering the device since it debuted, and it has been a mostly, smooth ride. There were some much-needed updates and additions during its tvOS beta program and the final version of tvOS 9.2 should be a solid one. We previously covered tvOS’s top features like the Siri Remote, pairing bluetooth devices, and folders, but this article will review all of tvOS features, including some less covered items. 

All the new and hidden features in tvOS 9.2

tvOS has made a lot of improvements to the existing territory that the Apple TV currently sits in. And with the addition of an all new Siri remote and its own App Store, there were many new things that Apple needed to cover. Let’s take a look at all of those features.


When first released, the Siri Remote could only listen to prompts and certain commands, and it could not enter in information in any text field. If you have tried typing on an Apple TV before, you understand that typing can be an annoying process, even with the new remote. So, they added Dictation. During the normal setup process you have the option to enable Dictation and you will be able to dictate text using the Siri remote.
Dictation - Apple TVYou can also enable Dictation in the Settings -> General as well.

Settings - Dictation

Your voice inputs will be sent to Apple, so they can decipher what you mean and respond back on your device. So if you are worried about Apple “listening in” on your conversations you can minimize the intrusiveness by not enabling the dictation feature. But if you are using Siri at all, this probably isn’t a concern of yours.

Dictation is most useful when entering in passwords or account information. Simply hold down the Siri button (microphone icon) and speak your entry instead of swiping around trying to enter it in with the remote. You can also use Dictation in the Search section too.

Hold to dictate

Siri in the App Store

You can use Siri in the App Store on your fourth generation Apple TV. Now, with Siri able to search the App Store for you, it makes the entire discovery process so much smoother and faster.

You even ask Siri to download the app for you:

Download HBO Go

And she will take you directly to the download page, where all you need to do is click install.

Install HBO Gpo

These new additions add more value to owning the Siri Remote and the fourth generation Apple TV. The more dictation and Siri uses Apple can create, the more people will want the latest Apple TV with its Siri enabled remote.

tvOS Folders

This is the first tvOS that will include folders. The same folders that you have grown accustomed to on iOS now comes to the Apple TV. Since the addition of the tvOS App Store, the need for folders became glaringly apparent. For people who were looking for better organization on the Apple TV home screen, you’ll be very happy with folders.

Adding Folders on Apple TV 4

To create a folder on tvOS 9.2, tap and hold an app until it enters wiggle mode. Once in wiggle mode, drag and hold the app over another app that you want to include in the folder. After a second or so the app will drop down creating a familiar gray folder. You can rename this folder to your liking.

Folder - Apple TV

You can also create a new Folder by going into toggle mode on any app, followed by pressing the Play/Pause button. This is will bring up the option either delete the app or create a new folder for it.

New Folder - Button

Of course, for people who have very few apps on their Home screen, it’s not the biggest deal, but it is a handy feature and again aligns tvOS and iOS.


The Podcasts app from Apple is now officially available in tvOS 9.2. It seems like podcasts are having some sort of resurgence so it is will for Apple to add it to the Apple TV ecosystem for folks to listen to on their tvOS 9.2 devices.

Podcasts - tvOS 9.3

iCloud Photo Library and Live Photos

With tvOS 9.2 on Apple TV, users can now access their full iCloud Photo Library. Previously, only Photo Stream content was available via the Apple TV.

iCloud Photo Library is turned off by default, but can be enabled by opening the Settings app going to the iCloud section, and enabling iCloud Photo Library. You’ll need to enter in your iCloud password to enable it.

iCloud Photo Library

Also make sure to have iCloud Photo Library enabled on your iOS device.

iOS - iCloud Library

Now, if you have any Live Photos or photos not held in your Photo Stream folder you can view them on your Apple TV running tvOS 9.2. To view a Live Photo on the Apple TV click and hold the trackpad button on the Siri remote. Live Photos are great on the iPhone and look even cooler when they can be viewed on a much bigger screen.

Photo Library - tvOS

Updated Siri

Siri, the infamous personal assistant, has been upgraded to support more languages on the Apple TV. The new languages include U.S. Spanish (for those in the U.S. only), French Canadian (for those in Canada only), UK English (for the United Kingdom) Australian (U.S. English). All these languages have now been added to the Siri language database.

You can select a language by going to Settings -> General -> Language (under the Siri heading).

Siri - Languages

App Switcher

The app switcher on tvOS 9.2 has been slightly altered to closer mirror the experience we are used to on iOS. Double tap the home button on the Siri Remote to bring up the new app switcher.

App Switch - tvOS 9.2

The old Apple TV app switcher was visually different, due to its having a very large, centered thumbnail of the most recent app.

Old Switcher

The new app switcher is less obtrusive and truer to the its iOS counterpart.

Updated Scrubbing Controls

The need to fast forward and rewind is quite obvious for any device that plays videos or music. But due to the trackpad’s sensitivity on the Siri remote, rewinding and fast forwarding on accident is a common occurrence. One slight tap on the trackpad will have your video zooming one way or the other before you even know it. So, thankfully tvOS 9.2 addresses that issue by requiring the playback to be paused before scrubbing can even be activated.

Scrubbing - Apple TV

Bluetooth Keyboards

Typing with the Siri Remote on the Apple TV is a pain in the ass. While dictation has definitely helped with this issue, most would argue that typing in passwords via a keyboard is the easiest method. So now you can now connect Bluetooth in tvOS 9.2. To add a new Bluetooth keyboard, go to Settings -> Remotes and Devices -> Bluetooth. Make sure you keyboard is on and you should see it appear under the device list. Follow the steps and connect.

Remotes and Devices


Unless you are a developer yourself, MapKit won’t do much for you immediately. But with the new MapKit framework being included in tvOS 9.2, developers of apps that you enjoy can start working embedding and creating maps for your benefit.

Check out our hands-on video of all the new and hidden tvOS 9.2 features:

Let us know what you think of tvOS 9.2 in the comment section.