tvOS provides development frameworks for building apps that run natively on Apple TV, such as riveting games and rich media apps that support a range of video-on-demand, live-streaming, and set-top box experiences.
If you’re familiar with iOS app design, you already know much of what you need to know. Most of the same interface elements and development frameworks exist in tvOS. However, creating a stunning cinematic experience that works well on a television screen and with a remote has its own unique design considerations.
For guidelines specific to designing live-viewing TV apps, see Live-Viewing Apps.
Help people feel connected to your app through the remote. In iOS, the user sees and touches the same device. On Apple TV, the user sees the screen across the room while touching the remote in their hand. Look for opportunities to connect people with your app through the device they touch—the remote.
Consider the user's distance from the screen. Design interface elements appropriately, so they’re legible, easy to find, and aren’t overwhelmed by background images or adjacent items. Make sure it’s always clear what’s in focus and what happens as a result of actions taken on the remote.
Create a shared experience. People often enjoy TV in a communal environment. Consider how your app can appeal to a group, as well as what happens if the user is a different person each time your app is launched.
For developer guidance, see App Programming Guide for tvOS.