Apple's TV app is the replacement for its decade old Video app and can be used on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. 

The TV app, originally available in the US, now now available in the UK and essentially adds universal search to Apple TV and iOS devices for supporting apps.

CEO Tim Cook said Apple wants Apple TV to be "the one place to access all of your television... a unified TV experience" and that the new TV app will "completely change how you watch TV on your Apple TV as well as your iPhone and iPad".

It brings all the TV shows and movies from across all your apps and services into one place. It can also access your collection of rentals and purchases from iTunes.

Even better, when you install a new app on your Apple TV or iOS device, the TV app will sign you into that app with your cable single-sign on. Confused? No worries. Here's everything you need to know.

Appleapple’s new tv app explained what is and how does it work image 1

What is Apple's new TV app?

The TV app is meant to be your central hub for movie and TV show content. It shows stuff from iTunes, your library, and your subscription services and apps. In the US it's supported by services such as Hulu, Starz, HBO Now, or CBS, while in the UK partners include Amazon Prime Video, ITV, BBC, and Channel 5. 

Previously, on the iPhone and iPad, the TV app was called the Videos app, but with the release of iOS 10.2 in 2016, it was changed to TV, with the purpose of helping you discover new stuff to watch on your iOS device. Also, as part of the tvOS 10.1 update that launched in 2016, the Apple TV (fourth-generation) got the new TV app.

How do you get Apple's new TV app?


Download and install the latest version of iOS 11 on your device. (See Apple's instructions here.) Once the update concludes, search for the new TV app on your iPhone or iPad, if you don't already see it on your device's Home screen. If you've already downloaded the latest version, the TV will just replace the video app. You don't have to do anything. 

Apple TV (fourth-generation)

The Apple TV app works on Apple TV (4th Gen) or newer. If you bought the Apple TV at the end of 2015 or later you'll be fine. To ensure you have the app, download and install the latest version of tvOS on your Apple TV. (See Apple's instructions here.) Once the update concludes, search for the new TV app on your set-top box, if you don't see it on the Home screen.

AppleApple’s New Tv App Explained What Is And How Does It Work image 3

How does Apple's new TV app work on iOS?

Single sign-on

From the moment you launch the app on your iOS device (and pass the intro/welcome screen), you will be asked to sign in to your streaming app provider. At this point, you will sign in once and be able to access all supported apps included in your subscription. This is a new feature that Apple calls "Single sign-on". Read more about it from here.

Whether you sign in or not, the next screen you'll see is the home screen, with a navigation bar running along the bottom. It has tabs for the following screens: Watch Now, Library, Store, and Search.

Tap any of these tabs to access their respective screens.

Watch Now

The Watch Now screen in the new TV app lets you access all the TV shows and movies you're currently watching on the Apple TV or on your iOS device - so you can pick up where you left off. If you start watching something from an app or service like Hulu, it will appear in the Watch Now tab. But the app must support Apple's new TV app.

When you are finished an episode, the next available one will appear in the Watch Now screen. If you're watching, for instance, Westworld by HBO, tapping the episode will automatically open the HBO Now or HBO Go app and begin playing. You can find a different format by tapping the More button (ellipses icon) next to the Play button. Whatever the streaming service, it will always take to the relevant app rather than try and ape the experience in the Apple TV app. 

Watch now also suggests different things to watch. You can browse through different categories, too, like TV Shows, Movies, and Collections.


Apple's new TV app on the iPhone and iPad has a Library screen so you can find all the movies and TV shows you've already purchased or rented on iTunes. You can browse your content by movies or TV shows, recently purchased, or genres. When you are ready to watch something, just tap it and then select the Play button.

You can also download a movie or TV show from here, to your device, for offline-viewing. Just tap the download button after you select the TV show or movie. To access your downloads, go to the Downloaded section in the Library tab of the TV app. When you tap a downloaded movie or TV show, it will automatically open and play.


Let's say you want to watch Westworld but don't have any of HBO's apps installed. You could get them from the Store screen in the TV app, as it shows all the apps that support your cable provider. You will also see a section spotlighting apps that don't require a cable subscription and trending titles that you can purchase or rent.

When you find an app you want to add to your device, tap Get to download it. After you launch an app that supports the TV app, you will be asked if you want to connect it to the TV app. Tap Continue to add it.


Tap the Search tab and manually enter any TV show or movie title in the text field. Apple will then see where that show or movie is showing be it the BBC or ITV or Amazon for example. You can also use the Search tab to see trending movies and TV shows.

AppleApple’s New Tv App Explained What Is And How Does It Work image 4

How does Apple's new TV app work on Apple TV?

Siri Remote

You can decide whether the Siri Remote's Home button should open the new TV app or take you to the Apple TV Home screen. If you'd like to set this, open the Settings app on your box, select Remotes and Devices, and click Home Button. Now, decide whether the Home button will launch the new TV app or the Apple TV Home screen.

AppleApple’s New Tv App Explained What Is And How Does It Work image 5

Explore the TV app

To find the content you want, use these four tabs in the TV app: Watch Now, Library, Store, and Search.

  • Watch Now: This tab has two sections, Up Next, which displays your current shows and movies, while the one below features recommendations for new content across your apps.
  • Library: To find a list of all shows and movies that you purchased or rented in the iTunes Store, open the Library tab and select TV Shows or Movies.
  • Store: Use the Store tab to install apps that support the TV app, like ones you can subscribe to individually and ones that work with your cable or satellite TV subscription.
  • Search: Use Siri or the Search tab to find TV shows and movies by title and cast. If you ask Siri to play one of your current shows or movies, it starts where you left off. You can also use the Search tab to see trending content.

Watch a TV show or movie

Open the TV app from the Home screen (or by pressing the Home button on the Apple TV), then select a show or movie from Up Next section to continue watching it. Alternatively, you can scroll down to What to Watch or another section to choose a different show or movie. When you find something, just tap Play to watch.

Connect apps to the new TV app

The new TV app doesn't support all streaming services, but it does automatically connect with supported apps like Hulu. All you have to do is launch the TV app and click Continue on the pop-up that asks if you would like to connect apps like Hulu, HBO Now, and Showtime. You can always remove the connection under Settings.

Add TV shows and movies to Up Next

The Up Next highlights the latest episodes of your favourite shows and allows you to jump back into something you were watching without losing your place. Here's what to do if you want to "add" a TV show or movie to Up Next:

  1. Open the TV app or an app connected to it (like Hulu or HBO Now).
  2. Click Play on a movie or TV show.
  3. Alternatively, open the TV app.
  4. Then, navigate to the Watch Now tab.
  5. Select a TV show or movie from Up Next to continue watching.
AppleApple’s New Tv App Explained What Is And How Does It Work image 7

Play a video from your library

All your purchased content is already available on the Apple TV. Simply open the TV app, navigate to the Library section, and swipe to browse your library. From there, select a title and click Play.

AppleApple’s New Tv App Explained What Is And How Does It Work image 6

Buy TV shows and movies

You can also buy movies and TV shows from the TV app. Just open the TV app, navigate to the Store section, scroll down, choose a title, and click the Buy or Rent button.

What services are supported on the Apple TV app?

In the UKthe service is launching with 10 partners : BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, My5, Amazon Prime Video, Hopster, MUBI, Curiositystream, Classix, Shudder, Sundance. However, Channel 4's All4, Sky's Now TV and Netflix aren't currently part of the offering. 

In the US the service works with Hulu, CBS All Access, Showtime, HBO NOW, plus some smaller services. Netflix isn't offered on the app. 

Where is Apple's new TV app available?

Apple's TV app is now available in the US and the UK, but only for Apple TV (fourth-generation), iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.