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How to install tvOS 14 – and when Apple will let you do it

tvOS 14 available for developers

(Image: © Apple)

UPDATE: Apple tvOS 14 is available on all Apple TV devices and apps from September 16, after confirmation at Apple's September live stream event. We also got a look at a new iPad, iPad Air 4, Apple Watch 6, Apple Watch SE, and Apple One subscription service. For our original article on developer access and the temporary public beta, read on below...

Looking to download and install tvOS 14? The latest iteration of the Apple TV operating system has now been announced, after a WWDC keynote detailing the updated Apple TV OS.

There's not as much going on as with the tvOS 13 update last year, but those after the (largely gaming related) changed to the operating system – mainly support for the Xbox Elite Series 2 and Xbox Adaptive controllers, as well as a new quick resume feature for games – will now be able to get them. Maybe.

First off, the tvOS 14 preview is now available for developers to install on their Apple TV devices. We won't get a public beta build of the tvOS 14 until July – meaning that, if you're a regular old TV-watcher just wanting their Apple TV software update, it's best if you wait a few weeks before coming back to this article.

That's because the developer preview is likely to still feature bugs or unfinalized features, and you'll need a developer account with Apple to access it.

  • WWDC 2020: everything announced at the keynote

Install tvOS 14: for developers (available)

If you're a developer looking to install the current build of tvOS 14, this is the way to do it. Keep in mind these steps will only work with the fourth-gen Apple TV HD or fifth-gen Apple TV 4K.

If you've downloaded a beta version of tvOS before, it's relatively easy: simply go to System > Software Updates on your Apple TV device, and tvOS 14 will be available.

If this is your first time accessing a tvOS beta, you'll need to head to developer.apple.com on your Macbook. The head to Discover > tvOS and find the blue Download button in the top right corner. You'll need to input your Apple Developer ID to proceed, enabling you to download the software to your desktop. 

Make sure you've downloaded the Apple Configurator app from the App Store and have the most recent iteration of Xcode running on your Mac too.

Check that your Apple TV device and Apple Mac are on the same wireless / Wi-Fi network, open Xcode and select the Apple TV device when it's shown. Input the code showing on your Apple TV, and then open Apple Configurator on your Mac. Select the Apple TV device, and then drag the tvOS 14 download file over the icon to start installation.

Apple TV 4K (2017)

Apple TV 4K (2017) (Image credit: Apple)

Install tvOS 14: public beta (not available)

The public beta will arrive some time in July. To gain access to the public beta, though, you'll need to have enrolled in Apple's Beta Software Program, enabling you to "access the latest features" in tvOS 14 (and any other Apple software betas) as well as give Apple timely feedback through a dedicated app (should you wish to). 

You can sign up now at the link below, though you won't have recourse to use it until July comes around.

Sign up here: Apple Beta Software Program

Install tvOS 14: everyone else (not available)

The finalized version of tvOS 13 went live in September 2019, after two months of public beta – and we expect a similar timeline in 2020.

That means September is likely when the tvOS 14 will be available for everyone else to install on their Apple TV devices.