Apple TV tvOS Apps

Apple TV tvOS Apps

The new Apple TV brings apps to your living room with the tvOS operating system. This article lists the top tvOS apps and contains a video with every Apple TV app available in the App Store.

TV devices, such as Apple TV, are steadily gaining a presence in homes across the world. The latest Apple TV runs the tvOS operating system, which is similar iOS for the iPhone and iPad. In fact, tvOS is based on core iOS code. This means that Apple TV is fully capable of running apps, just like your iPhone and iPad.

Previous models of Apple TV only offered “channels” and not apps. There was no App Store. Instead, Apple worked with developers and pushed new channels as they were made available. This kept the number of channels down, as developers just didn’t have the technology to develop apps or the market to deploy them. Furthermore, the technology only allowed for simple apps. At best, they could play video and retrieve data such as weather forecasts. The 2nd and 3rd generation Apple TVs were quite limited.

Apple launched the new and improved Apple TV 4 running the tvOS operating system. Along with tvOS, Apple created the App Store for Apple TV, providing a market for developers. Although the number of apps pales in comparison to the iOS App Store, they offer much more functionality than previous Apple TV channels. In addition to video content apps, the tvOS App Store offers games and other utilities. In fact, some tvOS games rival those found on game consoles.

There’s a lot of tvOS apps in the App Store — too many to list in an article. New ones are added every day. It’s a moving target. Potential Apple TV owners are often curious about apps available to Apple TV. Unfortunately, they can’t browse the tvOS App Store without an Apple TV. A quick overview of the top 10 free and paid apps can assist potential Apple TV owners. Make sure to watch the video (below) showing every Apple TV app in the App Store.

Top 10 Free Apple TV tvOS Apps

Updated November 29, 2017

Netflix1. Netflix: Watch TV shows, movies and Netflix original programming. Requires a paid monthly subscription.


YouTube2. YouTube: Watch videos posted by people from around the world. YouTube Red subscription (ad free experience and access to YouTube original programming) is optional.


Hulu3. Hulu: Watch recent and past episodes of popular TV shows and movies. Requires a paid monthly subscription.


CBS4. CBS: Watch popular CBS shows, including Big Brother, Bull and The Big Bang Theory. Requires a $5.99/mo subscription.


ABC5. ABC: Watch popular shows such as Dancing with the Stars, Modern Family and Quantico. Requires a TV provider subscription for activation.


Pandora6. Pandora: Listen to personalized radio stations for free. Subscribe to Pandora Plus for an ad-free experience, more daily skips and fewer pauses.


HBO GO7. HBO GO: Watch every HBO show and movie on demand. Requires a TV provider and HBO subscription for activation.


Watch ESPN8. ESPN Sports: Watch live sporting events, highlight clips, scores and sports shows. Activation requires TV provider subscription or high-speed Internet access from select providers.


DIRECTV NOW9. DIRECTV NOW: Watch live and on demand television with this “cable over the Internet” service. Requires a subscription after the free trial elapses.


NBC10. NBC: Watch popular NBC programs such as America’s Got Talent, American Ninja Warrior and This is Us. Viewers can watch recently aired shows for eight days without a TV provider subscription.


Top 10 Paid Apple TV tvOS Apps

Updated November 29, 2017

Alto's Adventure1. Alto’s Adventure: Embark on an endless snowboarding journey in this sophisticated scrolling platform game. A game controller is optional. Price: $0.99


Minecraft2. Minecraft: Apple TV Edition: Popular game where players build their own world from collected resources. A game controller is required. Price: $19.99


Hidden Folks3. Hidden Folks Fans of Where’s Waldo? are destined to enjoy this award-winning, hand-drawn puzzle game. Price: $1.99


Leo's Fortune4. Leo’s Fortune: Adventure game where the player hunts down a thief. A game controller is optional. Price: $4.99


Lara Croft GO5. Lara Croft GO: This award-winning puzzle-adventure game brings the Tomb Raider experience to your Apple TV. Price: $4.99


Oceanhorn6. Oceanhorn: Search for the protagonist’s missing father in this challenging action puzzle game. Price: $7.99


Badland7. BADLAND: Award winning action adventure platform game with amazing graphics and physics. A game controller is optional. Price: $0.99


AG Drive8. AG Drive: This fast-paced, futuristic racing game is an excellent challenge for the dexterous gamer. A game controller is optional. Price: $3.99


Hitman GO9. Hitman Go: Virtually assassinate opponents in this graphically stunning turn-based strategy game. Price: $4.99


Chameleon Run10. Chameleon Run: Fast paced auto runner game with excellent graphics and realistic physics. Price: $1.99


All Apple TV tvOS Apps

If you want a complete overview of every Apple TV app, YouTuber AskUncleDavecom has created a video with a full list of tvOS apps. It features screenshots taken directly from the App Store, as he searches and scrolls the entire catalog of apps.

As you can see, Apple TV offers tons of tvOS apps. While it pales in comparison to the iOS App Store, the selection of tvOS apps continues to grow. As the platform gains in popularity, the selection of apps will expand.

If you’re looking for a specific Apple TV app, please leave a comment below. I’ll search for the app and post a reply.

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17 thoughts on “Apple TV tvOS Apps

    • The Apple TV App Store doesn’t have a Pure Flix app, however, you can download the iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) version and use AirPlay to beam it to Apple TV. According to their website, they will launch an Apple TV app by the end of 2017.

    • I was doing some research for an upcoming article about free Apple TV movie and TV show apps. I found Godvo, which appears to have Pure Flix as one of their channels. The Godvo app works like a cable-tv box, without on demand. You basically tune in to one of many live streams. It’s all Christian programming and completely free.

    • Unfortunately, no. I just checked Science Channel GO and Discovery GO on Apple TV. They both require activation with a TV provider.

      You may want to look into some of the new over-the-Internet channel bundles such as Sling TV, PlayStation VUE and DIRECTV NOW. They offer a cable-like experience, directly on Apple TV. They are subscription-based services, but the fees are a fraction of what you’d pay for cable or satellite.

    • From what I understand, the only DIRECTV app for Apple TV is DIRECTV NOW. One has to pay a subscription fee to use it. It can’t be activated if you have a standard DIRECTV subscription (a home satellite dish installation). You can download the DIRECTV app for an iOS device and use AirPlay to beam it to Apple TV. You could also cancel your standard DIRECTV service and subscribe to DIRECTV NOW. I don’t recommend doing this…

      Overall, DIRECTV NOW for Apple TV isn’t as good as the standard dish-based service. There’s a lot of rules, missing channels and blacked-out programs. I’ve written a thorough review of DIRECTV NOW, with screenshots taken from Apple TV. It has a long way to go. It’s a shame, because they could really take advantage of interactive features in tvOS. Instead, they have used the interactivity to stick it to consumers. It’s not as expensive as the standard service. I guess you get what you pay for.

      One other possibility is that you can download each network’s tvOS app and activate them with your DIRECTV subscription. For example, Lifetime has an Apple TV app that you can activate with your DIRECTV subscription. Pretty much every major cable channel has one now. I’m not sure as to the rules with which TV providers can participate, but DIRECTV is usually supported. It’s a clunky solution that I personally feel doesn’t serve the end user well.

      The technology is here. We just have to wait (maybe a long time) for the networks and TV providers to get their act together. They are greedily clinging on to the legacy of cable/satellite.

  1. We have just launched our channel, PropagandaTV on Apple TV. Do you have any recommendations as to how to have our channel listed among new channels? Thanks, George Larrimore

    • Unless it gets into the top 10, it won’t be featured in this article, other than AskUncleDavecom’s YouTube video. He does a screen capture of every tvOS app in the App Store. Your app should show up when he does the next update.

    • I’ll have to check it out. For me, being at the top of the charts doesn’t mean much. I purchased an awful game that was an Editor’s Choice and at the top of the charts. It’s a futuristic space racing game, but they don’t use the accelerometer for steering. It’s unplayable unless you have a game controller. After several months, they still haven’t fixed it.

      My favorite Apple TV games are AirWings, Asphalt 8 and Riptide GP: Renegade. These games really show off the impressive gaming capabilities of Apple TV. If you compare the latter two games to the same game on every other platform, the Apple TV version blows them away. Yeah, it even beats game consoles. I run Riptide at the highest graphics level and it is still buttery smooth. Check out YouTube videos of the game on other platforms — blocky graphics and jerky motion.

      The problem is that Apple TV just doesn’t have enough market share to woo game developers. This is mainly because a lot of people can’t substitute Apple TV for cable. At best, it can be an adjunct to cable. I expect this to change in the coming years. I think Apple TV has the potential to be an amazing game console. It just needs more users to be lucrative for developers.

      I’ll check out Machinarium. It looks cool!

  2. Nice presentation Uncle Dave. I was able to find all the TV Apps I was looking for. I’ve decided to get an Apple TV 4. Thanks!

  3. Worry_Bead and FlippingBeadsGeometric now have tvOS versions to support Universal purchase. Any thoughts Apple TV users?

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