Today, a viral tweet highlights a somewhat frustrating limitation of the Apple TV software. Regarding the recent software update, tvOS expects users to be able to access an iPhone or iPad to perform actions such as accepting new iCloud terms and conditions or updating their Apple ID settings.
While most people who use the Apple TV 4K are deeply rooted in the Apple ecosystem, this is not the case for everyone. Until recently, Apple TV could be used almost independently. It was supposed to be a standalone device, not an accessory. Not so much anymore. What’s more, these changes mean that Apple TV users who have Macs but not personal iOS devices are also left in the lurch.
Most Apple TVs can be used without access to other Apple hardware. You can completely set up your Apple TV from scratch, install apps, and make purchases on your own. Typical Apple ID management duties can be performed from a web browser on a PC if needed at times.
However, there are some tasks that seem to be more common than ever in tvOS 16 that Apple TV expects you to do on an iOS device that’s signed in with the same account.
This viral tweet from @hugelgupf demonstrates perhaps the most egregious example: an iOS device is required to accept the new iCloud terms.
Instead of allowing users to read and accept the new terms on Apple TV on the TV itself, the box says that you must use an iOS device to do so. Specifically, an iOS device running iOS 16 or iPadOS 16 or later.
In addition to alienating people who don’t have other Apple devices at all, the minimum OS requirements mean someone with a new Apple TV but an older generation iPad, for example, will also be left in a quandary.
A similar prompt may appear asking customers to “update Apple ID settings” by bringing their iPhone close to the Apple TV.
In both cases, these hints can be temporarily dismissed. But they are often repeated until they are dealt with. Some system features may not be available until they are fixed. However, if you don’t have an iPhone or iPad handy – one that can run the latest version of the OS – this simply isn’t possible.
Because of these barriers, the Apple TV can no longer be considered a standalone device, even though a non-zero percentage of people have used it in this way over the years.
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