tvOS 16.5 brings multiview and enables Thread 1.3 support on your Apple TV

tvOS 16.5 brings two new features to your Apple TV: The ability to watch four sports streams simultaneously and support for the updated Thread 1.3 standard.

A lifestyle image showing a home featuring a young woman sitting on the couch, smiling and watching Apple TV and holding Siri Remote in her right hand
tvOS 16.5 advances Matter and Thread support | Image: Apple

Launched on May 18, 2023, the tvOS 16.5 software update is available on the Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD.  tvOS 16.5 brings at least two new features to your Apple TV. One, already confirmed by Apple, allows a shared administrator in your home to pair and add Matter accessories. The other, called multiview, enables you to watch up to four video stream at once for supported sports content.

tvOS 16.5 brings Thread 1.3 support

Having done some spelunking, iClarified has corroborated that tvOS 16.5 enables support for Matter over Thread 1.3, major news for smart home aficionados.

And because tvOS now also powers the HomePod, it’s safe to conclude that HomePod software 16.5 brings support for Matter over Thread 1.3 to the Siri-powered speakers. Before, Thread support was limited to v1.2 of the protocol.

What Thread 1.3 does that version 1.2 doesn’t is bring together so-called border routers, which connect Thread-based networks to existing networks.

With Thread 1.3, a Matter-compatible device can join the user’s home network and run on a Thread network. You may not even need to buy a Thread border router.

Chances are, you already own one because the Apple TV 4K, HomePod and HomePod mini all double as Thread border routers for the smart home.

Multiview support for live sports

Marketing image showcasing the multiview feature on Apple TV 4K for watching four simultaneous sports streams
Multiview in action on the Apple TV 4K | Image: Apple

The multiview feature is available for sports content like Major League Soccer matches, Friday Night Baseball games, select MLS and MLB live shows, etc.

You can switch between quad-view and split-screen views, choose a stream to focus on, choose home and away radio feeds for matches, quickly switch back to the fullscreen view, and more. This feature is unsupported on the Apple TV HD.

How to update your Apple TV to tvOS 16.5

Your Apple TV should update itself automatically. To manually download and install tvOS 16.5, choose the Software Update feature in the Settings app.

  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD.
  2. Choose System from the main list.
  3. Choose the Software Updates option.
  4. Select Update Software, then choose Download and Install.

If you don’t get the option to download and install tvOS 16.5, your Apple TV is up-to-date. You can toggle automatic tvOS updates for your Apple TV by turning on Automatically Update in Settings > System > Software Updates.

The device will restart to prepare the update and install it. When tvOS 16.5 finishes installing, your Apple TV will automatically restart again.

tvOS 16.5 release notes

Apple mentions multiview in the tvOS 16.5 release notes:

  • This update adds Multiview support in the Apple TV app for watching up to four live sporting events at once on Apple TV 4K (available for MLS Season Pass and Friday Night Baseball) and includes performance and stability improvements.

Check out the following documents on Apple’s website for relevant information:

For the most part, the recent tvOS 16.x releases only fixed bugs, with an occasional new feature thrown in for good measure. For example, the previous 16.4 update only brought one new feature, Dim Flashing Lights.

What is Thread? How does it work?

Thread is a very low-latency mesh networking protocol designed for ultra-low-power devices such as appliances for the smart home.

The standard is an important stepping stone to Matter, another standard that promises interoperability between different smart home platforms like Apple’s HomeKit, Google’s Home and Amazon’s Alexa.

Some HomeKit accessories have already implemented support for Thread, including Belkin’s Wemo Smart Plug With Thread and Eve’s Light Switch.

According to the Thread Group, version 1.3 permits users to more easily connect, configure and use their smart devices with other smart devices and connect to their existing IP network, including Wi-Fi, Ethernet, cellular, etc. This benefits the user by improving the responsiveness and reliability of Thread-compatible products.

Other updates Apple released today

Aside from tvOS 16.5, Apple also launched iOS and iPadOS 16.5 today, plus macOS Ventura 13.4, bringing a new Sports tab to the News app on your iPhone, iPad and Mac. Plus, the Apple Watch software got refreshed via the watchOS 9.5 update.