New Apple TV Hacked to Run Native tvOS Web Browser

Dutch developer jvanakker has hacked the new Apple TV to run a native tvOS web browser using a private API based on Apple's UIWebView class, sharing the code on GitHub as a fork of developer Steven Troughton-Smith's tvOSBrowser project. The demo video below shows Apple's website running on the fourth-generation box.


The simplistic tvOS web browser allows you to scroll through pages with the Siri Remote, and pressing the center of the touch surface brings up a cursor for clicking. Pressing the Menu button returns you to the previous page, while the Play/Pause button allows you to input URLs, according to GitHub.

Apple does not allow Apple TV apps to have UIWebViews, so this web browser would not be approved on the tvOS App Store, but the project is a good proof of concept. Apple TV users interested in testing the web browser can follow iDownloadBlog's guide to sideload the app using Xcode and modify a tvOS file to build it successfully.

Earlier this week, it was discovered that tvOS also includes support for iOS-like folders.

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

Top Rated Comments

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61 months ago

I don't understand why Apple is against having a browser. This would make it so perfect.

Have you tried a browser on a TV? It's not a particularly enjoyable experience. Both the Wii and Wii U have a browser... but I rarely use it because most websites just don't work well on a TV with a controller/remote?

Even this browser looks like a miserable experience.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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61 months ago
I don't understand why Apple is against having a browser. This would make it so perfect.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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61 months ago

I don't understand why Apple is against having a browser. This would make it so perfect.

It would be useful to have for a very few people in a very few situations. But the vast majority of people would never have a need for an awkward, keyboardless, giant browser (that takes the TV away from other uses) instead of the better browsers all around them that they're already used to. And for the vast majority of people who (think they) would use it, it would turn out to be terrible and they'd end up not using it anyway. And they'd blame Apple for remote-control web browsing being poor, and the media would run with it.

Plus, it would let developers deliver additional awful experiences to users: apps could launch out to the web browser for certain things; or even just not MAKE an app and decide AppleTV users can just go to the site.

I think Apple made the right call. Tech nerds like me want a bullet list of "everything a person can think of," but some things are just poor, and not worth the complexity of including. Every feature has a cost—skip this one.

It's also possible Apple has a browser coming... but I really hope not!
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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61 months ago
Having a browser would be useful for being able to connect the Apple TV to hotel wifi through their web portal, without having to call the IT desk, give them your MAC address, etc..
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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61 months ago

Now if the thing just have a good keyboard (virtual or bluetooth) we'd be set!

Gary

i think that's called a "mac mini?"
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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61 months ago
So Apple is purposively preventing AppleTV from acting as a browser? If so, then good to know. #dealbreaker
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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