If there’s one unsung feature of Apple’s streaming box, it’s the Apple TV app’s Up Next column, which alerts you to new shows, unfinished episodes, and sporting events without needing to jump around to various apps. Not every app is connected—most notably, Netflix is absent—but for the ones that are, it’s an excellent way to keep tabs on what you’re watching.
Ever since the TV app arrived in 2016, Up Next has been front and center when you launch it on any platform. All that is about to change. Soon, the first thing you’ll see is a “Featured” row of shows or films you haven’t watched. It’s not advertising per se, in that it appears to only populate with a personalized list from services you subscribe to, but it’s no less annoying.
In fact, on some platforms, including on the Apple TV itself, you can’t even see the Up Next row unless you scroll down. It may be a minor inconvenience, but it’s a fundamental change in how the app works. There’s nothing wrong with a Featured row—after all, Apple promotes its own TV+ shows and others all over the app—but it shouldn’t be the first thing you see.
Most users are not yet seeing this change until they update their operating system–to iOS or iPadOS 16.2 beta or tvOS 16.2 beta, etc. Some Macworld readers pointed out that there is a setting to change it on the home screen—what shows when the app is highlighted—but doesn’t appear to change it in the app itself.
Apple is following the trend among many streaming platforms, which now show recommended content first and your own list of selected material second. The aim is to aid in the discovery of new content, but it comes at the cost of making it harder to get to the content users have already confirmed they want to watch.