Apple Releases First Developer Betas of macOS Catalina 10.15.5 and tvOS 13.4.5

Apple has released the first betas of its macOS Catalina 10.15.5 and tvOS 13.4.5. The new betas come one week after the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.4 and tvOS 13.4 to the public.

tvOS 13.4.5

The tvOS 13.4 beta is compatible with fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models. The new beta can be downloaded to a compatible Apple TV that has the proper profile installed. A public beta of the new software should be available soon.

At the time of this article, it appears the new tvOS beta includes the usual bug fixes and performance enhancements. If we hear of any other new features, we’ll be sure to fill you in right here.

As usual, MacTrast and Apple both warn users to not install any betas on your daily driver Apple TV, instead only install betas on a device set aside for testing purposes.

macOS Catalina 10.15.5

The new developer build can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center by participants in the program, or as a software update for Macs that have the proper profile installed from the Developer Center.

So far, we don’t know what improvements the update carries, but it more than likely includes performance updates, security improvements, and bug fixes for issues that weren’t fixed in Catalina 10.15.4.

If anything new is discovered in the first beta of macOS Catalina 10.15.5 release, we’ll be sure to let you know in this space.

As usual, MacTrast and Apple both warn users to not install any betas on your daily driver Mac, instead only install betas on a device set aside for testing purposes.

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Home Before Dark — Inside the Show | Apple TV+

Home Before Dark is a new Apple Original about a nine-year-old journalist who helps solve a murder. Watch Friday on the Apple TV app with an Apple TV+ subscription:

A mystery inspired by the reporting of a real nine-year-old journalist. When a young girl and her family move back to the small town her father left behind, her pursuit of the truth leads to the unearthing of a long-buried cold case.

The series is created and executive produced by Jon M. Chu and showrunners Dana Fox & Dara Resnik; written and executive produced by Russel Friend & Garrett Lerner; and executive produced by Steve Golin for Anonymous Content, Joy Gorman Wettels, Rosemary Rodriguez and Sharlene Martin.

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Stories to believe in. Apple TV+ is a streaming service with original stories from the most creative minds in TV and film. Watch now on the Apple TV app:

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Trying — Official Trailer | Apple TV+

Before they become parents, they have to grow up. Watch all episodes of Trying on May 1 on the Apple TV app with an Apple TV+ subscription:

All Nikki (Esther Smith) and Jason (Rafe Spall) want is a baby—but it’s the one thing they just can’t have. How are they going to fill the next 50 years if they can’t start a family? They already went through The Sopranos in a weekend. After ruling out every other option, Nikki and Jason decide to adopt and are confronted by a world of bewildering new challenges. With their dysfunctional friends, screwball family, and chaotic lives, will the adoption panel agree that they’re ready to be parents?

Co-starring BAFTA Award winner Imelda Staunton, Ophelia Lovibond, and Oliver Chris, and written by Andy Wolton, Trying is a new comedy series from Apple TV+ and BBC Studios about a thirtysomething couple and their friends learning to grow up, settle down, and find someone to love.

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The Pick Your Streaming Service and Device Giveaway: HBO Now, Apple TV+, Hulu, Disney+, More

We have a giveaway for you today called The Pick Your Streaming Service and Device Giveaway. The winner can choose a streaming device, including, but not limited to: Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, and Google ChromeCast. And, a 1-year subscription to the streaming service of your choice — including, but not limited to: Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, and Disney+. Cool, right? To enter, register for our deal emails (which you should do anyway). If you’re already registered, click the Enter to Win button on the giveaway listing.


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Has tvOS 13.4 broken your Logitech Harmony Elite universal remote? There's a fix for that.

What you need to know

  • Apple released tvOS 13.4 to Apple TV users this week.
  • Some people noticed their Harmony universal remotes no longer work.
  • Harmony has a fix, but it’s more of a workaround.

You’ll be back up and running in no time.

If you installed tvOS 13.4 this week and noticed that your Logitech Harmony universal remote isn’t working properly, you’re not alone. According to a few Reddit posts, it seems to be a fairly common issue if you own a Harmony Elite controller. Users say that they now have non-functioning buttons, which seems less than ideal!

Thankfully, there’s a fix although it involves re-adding your Apple TV as a generic device.

First, the problem:

I updated my Apple TV 4K today to tvOS 13.4. After updating it, my Harmony Elite, which I’m connecting with Bluetooth, the back and menu button longer work. I have the Apple TV 4K set up in Harmony software as Harmony Pro BT Apple TV 4K. I tried re-pairing it but it did nothing. I also tried deleting the activity and re-doing it and that did not work either. Seems it’s no longer compatible.

It’s worth noting that those who have their Harmony Elite paired over infrared – rather than Bluetooth – don’t appear to be having any problems, although the added lag that brings to the table isn’t my idea of fun. Thankfully, a Logitech customer service rep chimed in with a fix that should have you up and running again – although it does involve re-adding your Apple TV to your remote entirely.

This fix? Reconfigure your Apple TV in the Harmony software, but as a new device with the Manufacturer ID of “Harmony Pro” and a model number of “BT Apple TV 4”.

A couple of Reddit threads suggest that works, although it isn’t clear whether it means you’ll need to reconfigure any automations that were set up. Hopefully not!


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Defending Jacob — Official Trailer | Apple TV+

Family is unconditional. Watch Defending Jacob April 24 on the Apple TV app:

In this gripping, character-driven thriller, a shocking crime rocks a small Massachusetts town and one family in particular, forcing an assistant district attorney to choose between his sworn duty to uphold justice and his unconditional love for his son.

Based on the 2012 New York Times best-selling novel of the same name, this limited drama series stars Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery, Jaeden Martell, Cherry Jones, Pablo Schreiber, Sakina Jaffrey, Betty Gabriel, and J.K. Simmons.

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Stories to believe in. Apple TV+ is a streaming service with original stories from the most creative minds in TV and film. Watch now on the Apple TV app:

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Apple Releases tvOS 13.4 to the Public – Compatible With Fourth and Fifth-Generation Apple TV Models

Apple on Tuesday released tvOS 13.4, the major update to the tvOS 13 operating system that runs on the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models.

The free tvOS 13.4 update can be downloaded to compatible devices via the Settings app by going to “System” -> “Software Update.” If automatic updates are enabled on the device it will automatically update to the new version.

tvOS updates are usually minor, focusing on bug fixes and performance improvements. Apple provides limited information on what’s new in tvOS updates.

In addition to general performance and stability improvements, tvOS 13.4 introduces minor design changes to the look of the TV app and adds Family Sharing integration, allowing users to access iTunes content purchased by family members without having to leave the app.

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Apple TV+: Just give it away, already

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Apple wants to teach the world to see TV improve

I think it’s fair to think that the Apple TV+ service hasn’t quite set the world on fire, and while many of its shows are good (and The Banker is just brilliant), the company has some way to go before it can be certain people will maintain their subscriptions later this year.

So, why not just give the service away?

A little Apple everywhere

With an estimated 20% of the global population currently on lock-down streaming media services are signing up plenty of customers.

In comparison to the previous week, Antenna tells us Disney+ sign-ups trebled as schools shut in reaction to the pandemic. HBO saw a 90% gain, Showtime 78%, Netflix 47% and TV+ saw a 10% uplift in new subscribers.

This isn’t at all surprising as stressed out workers suddenly find themselves needing to juggle working at home alongside parental responsibilities while also attempting to protect themselves and their families against a disease said to be more deadly than Spanish Flu, which infected a quarter of the global population.

No wonder people are seeking out a little entertainment.

Apple’s and oranges

Comparison between the different streaming services isn’t quite appropriate. Apple’s is clearly identified with its own platforms, and while you can get the service on most current smart televisions, Roku, Fire TV sticks and so on, most of its present users are likely to be Apple fans and recent product purchasers exploring the 12-month free access deal the company provides.

The thing is, the economics of the business are changing. Economies are tottering as productivity falls. The challenges we face are unprecedented.

People are dying before their time.

Traumatized as we will become, we will inevitably also become risk averse. This will challenge business. We will want:

  • Devices that last longer.
  • Products that are private, secure and regularly updated.
  • But when it comes to content, they’ll want access to as much high-quality content as they can find for the cost.

Apple has the first two bases covered, but its TV+ catalog is limited – dollar for dollar you get access to more content using any of the other big services.

That’s just the reality, and while it’s a reality Apple could have slowly overcome as it reached deals and alliances in the coming years, the consequences of the pandemic mean it must think a little differently if it’s going to build up its subscription base.

Big isn’t best

Don’t get me wrong – I’m confident that over time Apple’s streaming TV service will become yet another of its legendary products.

You should never judge the company by what you think you see, as its passion for incremental improvement means the grass is always greener a few steps ahead.

That means I’m also pretty confident the company has already planned those steps.

I imagine they’ll include combined music and movie services, alliances and deals with content providers, and continued investment into unique proprietary shows you just can’t find elsewhere.

I can also see sports coverage, augmented reality and new AR-based entertainment experiences coming down the pipe, particularly as a new edition Apple, TV box is also currently being discussed on the crazy rumor sites.

TV dreams

The company clearly has mass market ambitions with TV+.

It must do – why else has it reached deals with competitors to ensure its channels are available on their devices?

However, outside of its own walled garden Apple needs to work a little harder to bring consumers across.

Think about it: If you’re not an Apple user, or never have been one, then you’ll be used to what you have and won’t know what to expect from the company.

Customer loyalty is hard to shift.

That’s great when it works in your favour, but less useful when it works against you.

Apple has the problem of ensuring that consumers don’t judge its service too early. It doesn’t want to foster the preconception that its services are only for Apple fans – and that’s kind of how I think people see the service at the moment. That’s inevitable when it is its core customers who are enjoying a free year’s access with their Apple product.

Apple can change this

It can also get even more eyeballs watching its shows, many of which are really good. It can also do something some of the other streaming services can’t do, given that it owns its content and makes it available in 40 languages. There’s a pandemic going on, everyone is frightened, and we all need to chill out a little.

So, why not do the right thing, particularly for those who don’t enjoy the privileges of access that come with being in some parts of the U.S.A., and offer up access to its TV+ service for free until November as a mark of solidarity with a frightened population who are probably less likely than ever to sign-up for another regularly recurring subscription at this time?

Given the cash it has already spent on the experiment, I don’t think it has much to lose.

The way I see it is that once its free trials begin to time out come November lots of people will unsubscribe anyway, so the best protection against that is to increase the size of its initial base – while continuing to improve the actual product. And, as I said, I have a very strong hunch that if you judge the service on what you see now, you’ll be holding that opinion wrong.

The problem really is one of convincing people to switch it on in the first place.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.


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New Apple TV may have twice the amount of storage and a new 'Kids' mode

Since we’re all home, we might as well get a new Apple TV.

What you need to know

  • A new Apple TV may be on the way by the end of 2020.
  • The next generation is expected to have double the storage as the current Apple TV.
  • A number of updates to tvOS are also expected.

When Apple TV has been brought up lately, its mostly been to talk about Apple TV+ and all of the content rolling out on Apple’s new streaming platform. However, we’re finally starting to see some rumors about the next version of Apple TV and tvOS.

Reported by The Verifier, the next generation of Apple’s streaming box may be getting a boost in its storage capacity. While the current generation of Apple TV 4K includes storage options of 32GB or 64GB, the next generation is apparently going to be doubled to 64GB and 128GB.

This move would not be surprising, as Apple currently requires users to download Apple Arcade games to the Apple TV to play. Increasing the storage would allow users to store more games on their Apple TV than ever, and for families, may be more of a necessity than a convenience.

The site also reports that Apple is building a new ‘Kids’ mode for tvOS that will allow parents to set up a separate user account for their children that they can have parental control over. Parents would be able to ensure their kids have access to appropriate content and apps, similar to the parental controls that currently exist on iOS.

Apple is also expected to bring Screen Time to tvOS. The feature, which tracks how much time you are spending on your Apple devices and allows you to set up restrictions, is currently on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, so it is natural that Apple TV would be next.

It is also rumored that Apple may be looking to bring its first design refresh to the Apple TV+ interface. Specific details are unknown, but the report says that the company is working on a “redesigned Apple TV+ with a greater focus on content”.

As to when we can expect a new generation of Apple TV, the report says that it could come by the end of the year.


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Oprah Winfrey’s new Apple TV+ show, ‘Oprah Talks COVID-19,’ arrives for free streaming

Over the weekend, Apple introduced the first two episodes of its new Apple TV+ show, “Oprah Talks COVID-19,” for free viewing. In the first episode, Oprah Winfrey interviews actor Idris Elba, who recently tested positive for coronavirus, as well as his wife, Sabrina Dhowre, who is also positive. In the second episode, Oprah talks to longtime friend and supporter Reverand Wintly Phipps about the pandemic.

The interviews are conducted over FaceTime video calls with guests and are meant to offer hope and thought leadership, Oprah explained on Twitter.

“Like millions of people all over the world, I’ve been staying safer at home for over a week now. I know a lot of people are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, & uncertain,” Oprah wrote in a tweet. “[Because] of that, I want to offer some hope & gather thought leaders & people going through it to add some perspective,” she said.

In her interview with Elba, they talk about his decision to go public and his wife’s decision to quarantine with him, plus the result of her test. The shows have a more inspirational tone, compared with traditional news interviews.

“I think we all lose as human beings if we just think of this as a physical virus. I think it’s here to teach us, show us something about ourselves, as a world. This is a moment for our humanity to either rise or not,” Oprah says in one episode.

Though the majority of Apple TV+ programming is only available on a subscription basis, this COVID-19 show is available for free.

It can be watched across platforms, including via the Apple TV app for Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV, as well as through the Apple TV+ app for streaming platforms or via AirPlay-enabled TVs.

The program is one of several Oprah is involved with for Apple TV+.

In 2018, Oprah and Apple announced a multi-year partnership on original content for the Apple TV+ streaming service. That has already resulted in an Apple TV+ show that brings back Oprah’s Book Club as a series of author interviews. Another show, produced in partnership with Prince Harry and focused on mental health, has yet to arrive. A third, a documentary about sexual assault in the music industry, was canceled.

This new show, put together quickly in reaction to the COVID-19 crisis and using lower-production values, is the first show of its kind on Apple TV+, where the content is typically highly produced and made available in 4K. Apple hasn’t said how many episodes will arrive in total, but this is a unique situation.


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