What’s New in tvOS

tvOS 12

This article summarizes the key developer-related features introduced in tvOS 12 and highlights the developer documentation that describes new features in more detail.


The new TVUIKit framework lets you present common user interface items from Apple TV in your apps. TVUIKit makes it easy for you to display TV interface elements like cards, posters, monograms, lockups, and caption buttons in your app. For more information, see the TVUIKit developer documentation.


TVML now supports conditionally displaying elements via data binding. For more information, see Binding and DOM Manipulation in the TVML developer documentation.

Network Framework

The new Network framework makes it easier to create network connections to send and receive data using transport and security protocols.

Use this framework when you need direct access to protocols like TLS, TCP, and UDP for your custom application protocols. Continue to use URLSession, which is built upon this framework, for loading HTTP- and URL-based resources.

For information about the Network framework and how you can use it to replace calls to low-level socket APIs in your apps, see the Network framework developer documentation.

Deprecations and Removed APIs

Periodically, Apple adds deprecation macros to APIs to indicate that those APIs should no longer be used in active development. When a deprecation occurs, it’s not an immediate end of life for the specified API. Instead, it is the beginning of a grace period for transitioning from that API and to newer and more modern replacements. Deprecated APIs typically remain present and usable in the system for a reasonable time past the release in which they were deprecated. However, active development on them ceases, and the APIs receive only minor changes to accommodate security patches or to fix other critical bugs. Deprecated APIs may be removed entirely from a future version of the operating system.

As a developer, avoid using deprecated APIs in your code as soon as possible. At a minimum, new code you write should never use deprecated APIs. And if your existing code uses deprecated APIs, update that code as soon as possible.

Deprecation of OpenGL ES

Apps built using OpenGL ES will continue to run in tvOS 12, but Open GL ES is deprecated in tvOS 12. Games and graphics-intensive apps that previously used OpenGL ES should now adopt Metal.

Metal is designed from the ground up to provide the best access to the modern GPUs on iOS, macOS, and tvOS devices. Metal avoids the overhead inherent in legacy technologies and exposes the latest graphics processing functionality. Unified support for graphics and compute in Metal lets your apps efficiently utilize the latest rendering techniques. For information about developing apps and games using Metal, see the developer documentation for Metal, Metal Performance Shaders, and MetalKit.