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10 tips and tricks for TVOS 10

The Apple TV was updated last week with deeper Siri integration, better HomeKit support and more. Here are some tips to get you started with the update.

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The fourth-generation Apple TV was just updated to TVOS 10, bringing several new and much-needed features to the media streamer, such as a dark mode, more Siri tricks and updated Photos and Music apps. It's also missing one of the most important features of the update.

Prior models of the Apple TV will not receive the TVOS 10 update, as much of the update is specific to Siri or third-party apps anyway.

If you own a fourth-gen Apple TV you already know it's capable of a lot. But here are some tips to help you make the most of the latest update.

But first, update

If for some reason your fourth-generation Apple TV has not been updated to TVOS 10 yet, don't fret. Pushing the update through is a piece of cake. Go to Settings > System > Software Updates and click Update Software.

Enable dark mode

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David Katzmaier/CNET

No one likes finishing a movie in a dark room and returning to the Apple TV home screen only to be blinded by the white background.

Fortunately, you can now change that. Go to Settings > General and click on Appearance to toggle Light and Dark modes. Now when you break away from binging your favorite show in the middle of the night, returning to the springboard won't temporarily blow out your vision.

Ask Siri to enable Dark mode

If you want to switch between Light and Dark on the fly, just tell Siri to switch the mode for you. Press the Siri button and say, "Light mode" or "Dark mode" and the UI will switch.

This is much faster than navigating to Settings and making the change manually, especially when the white background is blindingly bright. So you may want to get used to switching this way, as you may find yourself switching more often than you think.

Be more specific with Siri

Siri is more intelligent with the latest TVOS update, as well. Before, you could ask Siri for movies starring a certain actor, or from a specific era or genre or both. But you couldn't ask for movies about a specific topic. Now you can.

Say something like, "Show me documentaries about coffee." Or combine your queries to get even more specific, such as, "Find movies about boxing from the 1980s."

Control your smart home with Siri

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Chris Monroe/CNET

Apple beefed up its HomeKit integration with Apple TV, too. Before, the Apple TV worked sort of like a remote hub. Your iPhone would control the HomeKit-compatible devices when you were in range at home. But when you were away, the Siri commands you spoke to your phone would be sent to the Apple TV back at home and it would take care of business.

Apple TV still works in the same way, but now it also works more like iOS with HomeKit. Hold the Siri button on the Apple TV remote and say, "Turn on the lights" or "Lock the front door." Additionally, you can use the Apple TV to automate your smart home devices, such as turning on the lights or unlocking the doors as you enter a geofence around your home.

There is no special setup needed to get Home working with the Apple TV. Just setup your HomeKit-enabled devices using the Home app on iOS and the same commands that work from your phone will work with the Siri remote on Apple TV.

Search YouTube from anywhere

Previously, if you wanted to search YouTube, you would first need to open the YouTube app, scroll to the Search page at the far left and hold the Siri button or slowly type in a search. After the update, however, you can search YouTube using Siri from anywhere.

Just hold the Siri button and say something like, "Search CNET on YouTube" or "Find Rocket League gameplay on YouTube." After the YouTube app launches, you will immediately see your search results.

It's not a dramatically different experience from before, but it does cut a few steps out of the process. If Siri on iOS is any indicator, you can expect to see this level of Siri integration with third-party apps on TVOS in the future.

Jump to live TV

Another Siri trick that will help you get to what you want faster is the ability to jump straight to live feeds within certain applications.

For example, if you wanted to jump to the live feed in the CBS app prior to the update, you would need to find and open the CBS app and navigate to the Live tab. Now you can simply jump straight to it by saying "Watch CBS" to Siri. You can do this with the ESPN, MTV, FX and any other apps that have been updated and have a live stream.

Automatically install apps

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Screenshot by Taylor Martin/CNET

When you download a new app to your iPhone, that same app can automatically be installed on your iPad, on your Apple Watch and in iMessage. With TVOS 10, you can enable the same feature on your Apple TV. If you download or purchase a new app that has an Apple TV component, it will automatically install on your Apple TV.

To enable this feature, go to Settings > Apps and click Automatically install apps to toggle it on.

This will not retroactively install apps that are present on your iPhone or iPad, though, so you will need to head to the Purchased section in the App Store to download existing apps.

Search through photo memories

Much like the Photos update on iOS and MacOS, the Photos app on Apple TV learned a new trick: Memories. This section will gather all your photos from similar dates and locations into collections. Clicking on one of the collections will allow you to revisit those trips you took throughout the year.

In order for this feature to work, you will need to enable iCloud Photo Library in iCloud settings on your iOS devices. Once all your photos have uploaded, the Memories section will do its magic.

The best feature is still missing

If you have a cable subscription, you also likely have access to different streaming apps, such as MTV, Fox, FX, History Channel, etc. But one of the biggest frustrations I've had to date with the Apple TV is signing into each streaming app individually using the same credentials. Even worse is that some of these applications seem to log you out of your account at random (typically after a hard reboot of the Apple TV), meaning you're always needing to reach for your phone or computer to sign in once again.

A feature coming to TVOS 10 is Single Sign-on, which will allow you to enter your cable subscription credentials once and automatically be signed into all of the compatible streaming apps.

Sadly, this feature was not included in the initial TVOS 10 update and is labeled as Coming soon on the TVOS landing page.