TV App Integration

The TV app provides global access to favorite, recently played, and recommended movies and television shows from across the system. Use this guidance to offer people a highly convenient and consistent entertainment experience.

Screenshot showing Watch Now and Up Next in the TV app in tvOS.

Watch Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is available on the Apple TV app. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse © 2018 Sony Pictures Animation Inc. All rights reserved. MARVEL and all related character names © & ™ 2019 MARVEL.

Beginning and Resuming Playback

The TV app automatically opens your app and sends it a notification when people initiate content playback within your app.

Ensure a smooth transition to your app. The TV app fades to black when transitioning to your app and doesn’t show your app’s launch screen. Your app should maintain visual continuity with this transition by immediately presenting its own black screen before starting to play or resume content.

Show the expected content immediately. People expect the chosen content to begin playing as soon as the transition to your app is complete. Jump right from your app’s black screen into content. Avoid presenting splash screens, detail screens, intro animations, or any other barriers that make it take longer to reach content. This is especially important when resuming playback.

Don’t ask whether people want to resume playback. If playback can be resumed, it should automatically do so without prompting for confirmation.

Play or pause playback when people press Space on a connected Bluetooth keyboard. Pressing Space to control media playback is an interaction people expect, regardless of the keyboard they’re using.

Make sure content plays for the correct viewer. If your app supports multiple profiles, the TV app can specify a profile when issuing a playback request. Your app should automatically switch to this profile before starting playback. If a playback request doesn’t specify a profile, ask the viewer to choose one before playback begins so this information can be provided in the future.

Loading Content

If loading takes more than two seconds, consider showing a single, black loading screen with a centered activity spinner and no surrounding content.

Avoid loading screens whenever possible. A loading screen is unnecessary if your content loads quickly.

Start playback as soon as possible. If a loading screen is needed, it should be visible only until enough content has loaded for playback to begin. Continue loading remaining content in the background.

Design black loading screens. Loading screens may appear during the transition to playing content. They should appear black so they blend with the fade-to-black functionality of the TV app.

Minimize content on loading screens. If you must include branding or imagery on a loading screen, do so minimally and in a way that maintains the black background and moves seamlessly to playback.

Exiting Playback

When people press Menu on the remote, they exit playback and remain in your app; they don't return to the TV app. Ensure that people aren't disoriented by this experience.

Show a contextually relevant screen. When exiting playback, display a detail screen for the content that people were watching and include an option to resume playback. If a detail screen isn’t available, show a menu that displays the recently watched content or show your app’s main menu.

Be prepared for an immediate exit. Prepare an exit screen as soon as possible after receiving a playback notification so people can see it even if they exit immediately after playback begins.

Offer a streamlined path back to the TV app. People should never need to press the Menu button on the remote more than three times to return to the TV app. The first Menu button press should exit playback and display a contextually relevant screen. The second Menu button press should display your app’s main menu or exit your app. The third Menu button press, if needed, should exit your app. When your app exits, the system automatically returns people to the TV app.