Engineering An Apple TV App: Peruse These 5 Basic Guidelines Without Fail

Peruse These 5 Basic Apple TV App Guidelines For Engineering Fool-proof apps

In the first half of 2016, 10000 and more apps will flood the Apple TV app store.

Yes, the Apple TV App Store offers a goldmine of opportunity to mobile app developers. But, being super good at iOS app development is just one thing. It doesn’t guarantee your success at the Apple TV app store as well.

Although, a thorough grounding in iOS app guidelines may come handy, but that sort of knowledge won’t suffice if you are developing an app for an Apple TV. Because when you are developing an Apple TV app, it has to be designed exclusively for the Apple TV. And, to ensure this happens, the Apple folks have floated a different SDK altogether that demands a different Xcode. And as you know, a revolutionary remote has also been launched that’s gonna complement your app like never before. Plus, it has to have its own set of libraries.

Want to know more? Go ahead and read the complete guidelines over here to get a complete idea.

(For queries of any sort, get in touch with OpenXcell’s TV app developers and marketers.)

Here go the Apple ‘s Tv App Store Guidelines

#1. Download  Xcode 7.1 and tvOS before you plunge headlong into engineering an Apple TV app.

Whoa!  Wired towards developing  Apple TV apps  this year? Good.  But then, force your mind to take its first bus toward the Apple tvOS app development pages. Why? Because it’s crucial to  download the latest tvOS , that is the XCode 7. 1, on your Apple TV first before you could even think of  developing  tvOS apps.

#2. Develop with tvOS SDK and see that it’s not, anyway, linked with iOS frameworks or libraries.

For the uninitiated, the tvOS SDK contains several frameworks and technologies that iOS has already lined up. This includes Metal, UIKit, CloudKit and Game Center.  But then, ensure that the libraries and frameworks  used in engineering the tvOS apps are designed exclusively for tvOS,  including the third-party libraries and is no way connected  with frameworks or libraries built for the iOS. You may ask why? Because, though tvOS  is basically written on iOS, it’s distinct and some of the frameworks would find support only on tvOS.

#3. Draw on On-Demand Resources if you favor faster downloads.

A regular submission to the Apple TV app store consists of 200 MB in the main bundle and up to 20 GB of On-demand resources. (On-demand resources are basically app contents that are hosted on the App Store.) But then, if you are fond of smaller app bundles, faster downloads, besides  richer app content, home in on on-demand resources.

#4. Needless to say, Design and Images  should be given ultra-importance, if you wanna get your Tv app downloaded at all.

Be it a game or a media streaming app, or for that matter any app you intend to build upon during the course of this year, keep these design principles in mind while building their identity.

a. Tame Touch Experience

Yep! The true-blue touch experience the Apple TV provides via its revolutionary Siri Remote is what makes it so loved.  So, ensure that your app responds actively to the users’  taps, swipes, and clicks from any corner of your living room.  In short, the app should be interactive and engaging.

b. Resplendent, Clearer UIs

Apple TV is intuitively designed. Which means, you could operate it instinctively.  That said, you could try enhancing the viewer’s experience by adding layout grids, movement, and even transparency to add some more depth to the context.  Aside from that, ensure that when a user highlights (not selected) a specific item, referred to as UI in the development lexicon, make it really clearer so that the highlighted item is in focus even from a distance.

c. Immersive Content

Offer rich, cinematic experience  to the customers by offering engaging content, awe-inspiring imagery and fluid animations.

 d. 60-90 area size

apple TV app layout - 1

No matter what,  60-pixels from the top and bottom of the screen and 90-pixels from the sides shouldn’t be used for content. But then, you intend to use for content purposes, let me warn you, it won’t  be readable and chances of unintended cropping is also high in older TVs.

e. Display offscreen elements

Apple TV App Layout - 2

Partially display offscreen elements.  Where your app’s content doesn’t fit on a single screen, you can give a hint of the offscreen in small portions.

 f. Apps

tvOs’  specifically designed framework helps build games, utilities, and other apps that run natively on Apple TV.  And if you have already developed an iOS app, then developing a TV app would be a piece of cake for you, given that you already familiar with some of the interface elements and development frameworks that existed in the tvOS.

However, to bring about a great cinematic experience, by leveraging both television screen and a remote, here are some crucial design considerations:

Nail User Interaction

In iOS, the user is able to touch your app. However, in the case of Apple TV, the user touches the remote and not the app. So ensure that your app is intuitive and simple enough to make the users feel connected to your app through the remote.

Nail focus

app tv app layout - 3

Users normally sit on the couch  to watch television.  Going by this logic, design the interface elements of your app in such a way that apps are absolutely clear and in focus. Meaning, the apps shouldn’t get lost in the  crowd and establishes a connection with the audience through remote actions. And yes, when your element is in focus, it shouldn’t overlap other important information.

Nail shared experience

tv watching

TV viewing is a group activity. Isn’t it? So think of ways by which you could make your app appeal to a group.

g. Make the most of the HomeScreen

app tv app layout - 4

Your app icon appears on the Home Screen.  Needless to say, it should be impressive  enough to build a connection with the users. So, ensure that it’s unique, affecting, and memorable.

The screen resolution of an Apple TV is 1920 X 1080, which means a widescreen aspect ratio of 16.9. Keep this resolution figures in mind before you start with the UI detailing of your app.     

h. Leverage Top Shelf

Apple TV-top-shelf

The top shelf of your Apple TV Home screen, located just above the row of apps, is where the users position their top apps.  When one of the  apps is zeroed down, it showcases all content that’s there in the app.

So, ensure that your app highlights all the new, featured and useful content.

i. Take advantage of Focus and Pallax

When an icon, image, button or other interface elements are highlighted on the Apple TV, it means it’s in focus.  When any of these elements is brought into focus, with the help of your Siri remote,  it’s gets elevated to the foreground and it sways. After some time, all the other content would appear dim, while the focused element grows prominent. This sort of focus helps users establish better connectivity, clarity, and context for your app.

When an element is in focus, it’s the job of parallax to add depth and dynamism through visual effects. For this, it leverages layering, transparency, scaling, and motion to generate 3D effect which gives a sense of realism and vitality. Pallex is crucial for Home screen display and also for the top shelf content on the Home screen.  Image layering is unputdownable if there’s image-based content in your app.

#5. You can never deny the magic of Apple TV Remote ‘Siri’ and the power of its Interactions. Milk it to the fullest to create the difference.

Apparently the Apple TV remote brings out the best in your app. The touch surface, accelerometer, combined with gyroscope ensures an intuitive, immersive experience for the users. But at the same time, the developer needs to ensure that the remote buttons work consistently and predictably in your app or game.

#6. Dot the i’s and cross the t’s when it comes to your ‘App’s Apple Store Product Page’. In short, the success of your app lies in  details.

a. Name

Keep your tvOS app name as short as possible.  The shorter the better, because the users go by the first few alphabets while searching for apps.  In fact, users look for results every time they key in an alphabet.

Another thing that you need to account for is the app ID part. That is, if your tvOS app employs the same app ID as your iOS app, such apps have to have the same name. However, in the case of different IDs, you will have to coin a different name for your iOS app.  And, yes, of course, refrain from using phrases like Apple TV, tvOS or ATV in your name.

b. Icon

Layered images. Focus on them without fail while developing an tvOS app icon. Why? Because layered images support the parallex effect that adds to the vitality and depth to the icons.  For more information, go ahead and check the Apple TV Human Interface Guidelines.

c. Description

The tvOs app’s description should be such that it clearly points out  how the app is specifically engineered to suit the large screen  specifics. Plus, it should clearly state how the app would be  leveraging the Apple TV remote features spot on to ensure an immersive and intuitive experience.

d. Keywords

Your tvOS app has its own set of independent keywords.  Plus, it has got character limitations as well.  As in, the keyword character count shouldn’t go beyond 100. So, the point is: fit in only the most relevant keywords. Minus words such as TV, television and app.  And totally avoid phrases such as Apple TV, tvOS or ATV.

e. Screenshots

As it goes with iPhone apps, the tvOS also goes by the same fundamentals. Only five screenshots to be uploaded. And then, leverage them to the fullest.  All the screenshots appear on single screen. So users don’t have to swipe left to right or scroll from top to down.

f. About using the trademark ‘Apple TV’

It goes without saying that Apple TV is a trademark. Meaning, it shouldn’t be changed at any cost, whichever language you are dealing in. Apple TV has to remain Apple TV. Again, avoid phrases like Apple TV in the app name of keywords.

g. Universal Purchase or Single Purchase

With a single purchase, your customers should be able to have the best of both worlds. As in, he should be able to use apps on both iOS and tvOS. However, to ensure the universal purchase of your app in the iTunes Connect, you need to attach a platform to your existing  app record, or simply go ahead  and build a new app for both iOS and tvOS and then submit them for review.

Yep! This is a little complicated. So, why not just go ahead and attach a platform to the existing app record.

Anyway, once the new version of your app gets approved,  customers will be able to view the app on their iPhone, iPad, and on the new Apple TV as well.

Undoubtedly the future of television is apps.  So, without giving too much of thought to it, go ahead and make one. During the course of your app development journey, if you need any help, just drop in a word to us. And, yes, of course, don’t forget to go by these guidelines – word by word.

Source: Apple TV App Store Guidelines. 


Jini Maxin

Jini Maxin

Well folks, Appy Times are here. Though I am no appoholic, I am in an industry that breathe apps. So, despite myself, I keep waking up to smokin’ hot cuppa of app stories every day. So, do you like what I prattle here? Duh! Of course, you do. So just go ahead and scribble a line or 2 here in the comment box below, or share them on social media. Why? Because it will load me with just enough confidence to prattle a li'l (lot) more :)