iOS 16.2’s TV app: Random shows now take precedence over your watch list

A new Featured row at the top of the Watch Now section, populated with random shows, pushes down your Up Next queue with content you actually wanna watch.

tvOS 16.2 screenshot of the TV app showcasing the new Featured section above Up Next
Now the first thing you see is recommendations | Image: Reddit
  • What’s happening? Apple’s TV app in iOS 16.2 adds an intrusive Featured section in the Watch Now section that pushes your Up Next watch list below.
  • Why care? This is a usability regression. Shows from other apps recommended by the algorithm now appear above content found in your Up Next watch list.
  • What to do? If you’re thinking about passing on iOS 16.2 when it launches, Apple will likely bring this change to all users via a server-side update.

iOS 16.2’s TV app deprioritizes your Up Next queue

The TV app in the iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, tvOS 16.2 and macOS Ventura 13.1 betas has picked up a new Featured section, found above Up Next in the Watch Now tab. Disgruntled users took to Reddit to vent their frustration with the change.

In iOS 16.1 and earlier, the Up Next queue appeared at the very top of the Watch Now section. In other words, this is clearly a change for the worse.

Why we’re not fond of this change

The new section is similar to the Featured row found in the TV+ section. It also includes content from apps like HBO Max and Disney+, including services to which you aren’t subscribed. This isn’t a bug and there isn’t an option to turn Featured off.

Now, many people consider this a form of annoying advertising. In reality, however, this is pretty much how featured content has been traditionally showcased on other streaming services and devices. Of course, that doesn’t make this addition any less annoying—especially with the hero imagery in the carousel highlighting content from the Featured section vs. what’s in your personalized Up Next watch list.

Unfortunately, this means you now must scroll past random shows in the Featured section recommended by the algorithm just to get to your Up Next watch list.

The watch list is among the most important features of any streaming service so this is frustrating. Your Up Next, for example, includes any shows you haven’t finished watching and upcoming content you’ve manually added to this list.

When will iOS 16.2 launch?

At the time of this writing, Apple was testing iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2 and other upcoming software updates with its registered developers.

The company has not said when iOS 16.2 will arrive for public consumption but Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has learned that iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, tvOS 16.2, watchOS 9.2 and macOS Ventura 13.1 will launch for all users to download and install around the middle of December. Read: 45+ iPhone tips to save battery life