Apple TV Apps Are About to get More Compelling Thanks to Less Restrictive File Sizes

Apple TV tvOS 10

Apple just raised the cap on Apple TV app sizes from 200 MB up to 4 GB, bringing them in line with iPhone and iPad apps. Apple told developers the change lets them give users a better overall experience. For end users, that means more immersive apps and potentially a step towards a 4K Apple TV.

In a note on the Developer’s Portal Apple said,

The size limit of a tvOS app bundle has increased from 200 MB to 4 GB, so you can include more media in your submission and provide a complete, rich user experience upon installation. Also, tvOS apps can use On-Demand Resources to host up to 20 GB of additional content on the App Store.

Apple’s fourth generation Apple TV—the model that supports third-party apps—is available in 32 GB and 64 GB versions, and until now there didn’t seem to be much of a reason to buy one over the other. With substantially larger apps about to come out, however, the 64 GB model now sounds like a better choice for Apple TV owners who like adding apps to their set top box.

Apple TV tvOS 10
Get ready for bigger apps and new titles on Apple TV

Apple may have enforced the smaller app size as a way to conservatively estimate how much app space Apple TV owners would need while maintaining enough overhead to handle video stream buffering. With more than a year of data to work with now, Apple likely discovered customers aren’t downloading more than a handful of apps, so they can afford to let developers make their products larger.

Apple TV May Finally Go 4K

The change could also be a precursor to a fifth generation Apple TV with a more powerful processor and 4K video support. The 4K UHD standard has been set for a year and more television manufacturers are supporting it, it’s more likely Apple is willing to support it. Apple is also the only real holdout on 4K in the mainstream set top home entertainment market.

What we’ll get one developers start taking advantage of the new 4 GB app size cap are titles that need to download fewer resources every time they launch, more immersive games, and potentially better graphics, too. We may also see apps developers previously kept off Apple TV because they didn’t want to rewrite them to accommodate the 200 MB size restriction.

Developers can learn more about the less restrictive app sizes at Apple’s website.

One thought on “Apple TV Apps Are About to get More Compelling Thanks to Less Restrictive File Sizes

  • AppleTV app developer here. This won’t make AppleTV apps any more or less compelling.

    The 200MB limit was only a restriction on the initial download size. AppleTV apps have always been able to use Apple’s on-demand resource system to host and download much, much more data (up to 20GB can be hosted now). The idea is that the initial download only has the resources the app will always need, and then the app downloads more data (levels, images, etc.) as needed, with the system purging the on-demand data when it’s no longer used.

    So now everyone’s AppleTVs will just fill up faster, as some developers will opt to just put their entire game/app in the 4GB initial download instead of using on-demand resources (which tvOS is free to automatically delete when no longer used, such as when you’ve beaten a level).

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