Apple TV App Size Limited to 200 MB Local Storage, Has 2 GB RAM

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Earlier today Apple revealed the long-awaited fourth-generation Apple TV, which includes an App Store that allows developers to create apps and games for users to download. The new Apple TV also comes with either 32 GB or 64 GB of local storage. However, Apple's new App Programming Guide for tvOS, first spotted by developer Steve Troughton-Smith, includes some interesting insights into how developers can use that storage. For instance, apps are limited to 200 MB of local storage.

newappletv

Each app stored on Apple TV is limited to a maximum of 200MB. In order to create an app greater than this amount, you must break up your app into downloadable bundles. In Xcode, create tags and attach them to the required resources. When your app requests the resources associated with a tag, the operating system downloads only the required assets. You must wait until the assets are downloaded before you can use them in your app.

This means that each app is limited to a 200 MB shell that downloads the assets it needs to run whenever necessary. The new Apple TV, despite having a base of 32 GB of storage, does not have persistent local storage, which means that each time an app is in use it has to make a request to iCloud to re-download the assets it needs to run.

As noted by MacRumors' sister site TouchArcade, it's likely this decision stems from iOS 9's App Thinning, which reduces the size of apps so that users don't use as much of their local storage on their devices. Apple TV apps are universal apps, allowing developers to create one app that can work on iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and Apple TV. However, because the apps are universal apps, the overall storage size of the app includes assets that aren't entirely relevant for each device. For instance, an iPhone user would have no need for the iPad or Apple TV assets for an app on their iPhone, and an Apple TV user would have no need for iPad or Apple Watch assets on their Apple TV.

Additionally, as noted by Troughton-Smith, Apple has revealed in its programming guide that the new Apple TV has 2 GB of RAM. Normally, Apple declines to publicly reveal how much RAM its iOS-based devices include. For instance, the discovery of how much RAM is in each new iPhone model is regularly speculated about until a teardown or speed test from a third-party can determine it independently.

The new Apple TV will begin shipping in nearly 80 countries at the end of October. The new Siri Remote is only available in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Canada and Australia. Other countries will receive a remote that replaces the Siri with a Search app. The new Apple TV is priced at $149 for the 32 GB version and $199 for the 64 GB version.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 13, tvOS 14
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

Top Rated Comments

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63 months ago

I find it both insulting and incongruous that Apple should select a list of countries that remote Siri will be available to/from. As an apple evangelist since Apple ][+ days and loyal to the core (excuse pun) I have been very disappointed in the way that apple (the lack of caps is deliberate) have become more and more dictatorial. The days of "all things to all men" is apparently over as far as apple is concerned and one cannot help but look at the path they are following to be analogous to the way Microsoft went (and suffered for it). Apple should realise that although the principle of telling folk what they need rather than asking them what they want, is a successful formula but that does not mean that they should forget the loyalty that kept them going from thin days to days of plenty. Hopefully enough of this type of message will get through to whoever is the dictator at Apple and trigger an about turn before it is to late. Quote "To be a perfect King one has first to learn to be a perfect slave"

I don't even understand what it is you're upset about...
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
63 months ago
How this is worded is key in understanding what exactly is going on. While there is indeed a 200MB "shell" on the initial app bundle download, the remaining resources up to 20GB (it's right there in the developer doc ('https://developer.apple.com/library/prerelease/tvos/documentation/FileManagement/Conceptual/On_Demand_Resources_Guide/PlatformSizesforOn-DemandResources.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/TP40015083-CH23-SW1')!) are hosted on-demand on the App Store and downloaded as needed by the app.

Apple TV automatically handles the storing and priority of the data of the apps and stores them locally. But to say they are downloaded each time is incorrect. Only if for some reason another app has been given data priority and resources were deleted to make room.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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63 months ago
So what point is there in the 64GB model then?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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63 months ago
A nice thing to have? Sure. The future of television? Definitely not.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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63 months ago

Every time I launch Netflix, the Apple TV will have to perform a software update? That sounds incredibly inefficient.

Please correct me if I'm wrong in how I interpreted that...

Basically, it'll download and stream the assets it needs as it needs them. Something like Netflix should be fine because much of its content is streamed anyway. It'll likely affect games more than video or shopping apps.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
63 months ago

Every time I launch Netflix, the Apple TV will have to perform a software update? That sounds incredibly inefficient.

Please correct me if I'm wrong in how I interpreted that...

Yes and No. The current AppleTV does this already to a lesser degree. The idea behind this is, for something like a game, your device only really needs the assets for the current level that you're on, as well as the next level you're about to enter. There isn't really a need for the device to have all 10 levels of preloaded, when 8/9 of them are always going to be in an idle state at any given time.

Devs will just have to be efficient in their apps so that a single level (or screen, or page) doesn't regularly require large assets that will take too long to download. That's also where the 802.11AC speeds helps quite a bit.

As always with Apple though, the limitations force a bit of finesse from developers so that the overall experience isn't too hampered for the customer. No one wants another AppleTV 1 situation where you quickly run out of storage.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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