Apple TV 4: Using the App Store

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The fact that it is so easy to buy an app on Apple TV may concern people living in larger households. After all, you don’t want your children or housemates buying apps using your Apple ID. You probably don’t want youngsters downloading a violent video game or an explicit content provider’s app. Fortunately, Apple offers Restrictions on Apple TV. This feature can require a 4 digit PIN code to purchase or access apps based on a variety of settings, including age ratings. For more information, please read “Apple TV 4: Restrictions and Parental Controls“.

Now that you have installed an app, you can access it from the home screen. Hold down the Menu button or press the Home button (looks like a TV) to quickly access the home screen. Use the touchpad to select the app. Click the touchpad to launch the app.

Updating Apple TV 4 Apps

Developers are constantly updating apps to offer new features and fix bugs. Apple TV provides a simple process to update apps.

By default, apps are set to update automatically. I recommend turning this feature off. I have found that automatic downloads often compromise the performance of other apps. You may experience problems streaming video while an app is being updated in the background. When automatic app updates are turned on, you have no control over when this happens. Ideally, tvOS should be smart enough to do this when the network connection is idle. I haven’t found this to be the case. Furthermore, developers often introduce new defects and regressive bugs in updates. If you have an important app that you use every day, an update could break it. It’s better to control when apps are updated, but it isn’t as convenient. If you only plan on installing a few apps, leaving automatic app updates activated may be ideal. Those who download dozens of apps may find it a frustrating experience. You can turn off automatic app updates by going to Settings > Apps and turn off Automatically Update Apps.

Manually updating apps is a little more difficult, but it’s not rocket science. I recommend going by the adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. You may want to check for updates with certain games or other complicated, feature-rich apps. If your favorite content app is working fine, you may want to stick with the current version. After all, it’s possible that the updated version could actually be quite buggy!

The App Store makes it easy to find updates for installed apps. Launch the App Store from the home screen and select Purchased from the top menu. Select Recently Updated from the list on the left side of the screen. A list of recently updated apps will appear, with the date of their last update. You may have already updated many of the apps on this list, which I find to be a defect. The list displays apps that have been recently updated by the developer, not you. If you have already updated an app, it will still be displayed on the list. Nonetheless, the list provides information about when an app was updated by the developer, which is somewhat useful. Ideally, this list should be for available updates and exclude apps you have already updated.

You can go to an app’s detail page by clicking on the app icon in the center of the Purchased Apps screen. From here, you can ascertain whether the app has an available update. Simply click on the update button to install the update. Updated apps will have a blue dot next to their title on the home screen. (continue…)

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