This Week's Sponsor:


Ensure that if a device isn’t secure it can’t access your apps.  It’s Device Trust for Okta.

Amazon Prime Video Finally Arrives on Apple TV; Was It Worth the Wait?

All the way back in June, at Apple’s WWDC keynote, the Apple TV-related news was limited to a single note: Tim Cook announced that Amazon Prime Video would arrive on Apple’s streaming box “later this year.” Ending a long six-month wait, that promise was finally fulfilled today: Amazon Prime Video is now available on the Apple TV.

The app’s interface will be completely familiar to anyone who’s used the Prime Video app for iOS. There’s lots of content on-screen at once, which isn’t the most elegant look, but it’s functional at least. A host of different tabs line the top of the screen, making it easy to find what you’re looking for. These include the standard curated collections of content in Home, Originals, Movies, TV, and Kids, which are joined by Video Library, where you can watch prior Amazon purchases or rentals, while Search, Watchlist, and Settings round out the selections.

The greatest benefit of Prime Video’s app isn’t any noteworthy, innovative feature it has to offer – because there isn’t one – but its integration with tvOS system features.1 Thanks to universal search, you can use Siri or a standard text search to locate content from Prime Video without needing to open the app first. Also, in line with Tim Cook’s promise at WWDC, Prime Video integrates directly with the system TV app for discovering and tracking content.

Prime Video’s integration with Apple’s TV app is my favorite detail of this release. It means content watched on the service will be tracked in the Up Next queue of TV across tvOS and iOS. I’ve been a fan of the TV app since it launched last December, and have used it as a unified hub for shows and movies watched on Hulu, iTunes, CBS All-Access, and more ever since. The inclusion of Prime Video in that roster means the only major holdout left is Netflix. While the dream would be having one unified queue for content from all services, including Netflix, we’re at least one step closer today with Prime Video’s launch.

The timing of Prime Video’s release coincides with Apple’s release of tvOS 11.2 earlier this week, which adds a new Sports tab to the TV app. This enables tracking and watching games from various sports, and is a perfect complement to Prime Video’s release due to Amazon being the rights holder for Thursday Night Football games. Starting tomorrow night, users will be able to watch NFL games using the TV app and Prime Video.

One tvOS feature the app unfortunately doesn’t take advantage of is the ability to display interactive content when positioned in the Top Shelf of your Home screen. Similar to apps like YouTube, Prime Video simply displays a static image rather than presenting anything useful, such as direct access to your Watchlist.

“Later this year” is finally here. While it almost didn’t ship in the promised time period, and the app itself doesn’t contain any innovations that would seem to justify the extended wait time, the ending of this story is a happy one. Apple TV users can now watch their Prime Video favorites right on the big screen – just in time for the holidays.

Prime Video is available on third-gen Apple TVs and later. If you’re running a fourth-gen model or an Apple TV 4K, the app requires tvOS 11.1 before it can be installed. Also of note, Prime Video’s iOS app was updated today with full support for the iPhone X and Spotlight search.

  1. Certain system features are limited to users in select countries. ↩︎

Unlock More with Club MacStories

Founded in 2015, Club MacStories has delivered exclusive content every week for over six years.

In that time, members have enjoyed nearly 400 weekly and monthly newsletters packed with more of your favorite MacStories writing as well as Club-only podcasts, eBooks, discounts on apps, icons, and services. Join today, and you’ll get everything new that we publish every week, plus access to our entire archive of back issues and downloadable perks.

The Club expanded in 2021 with Club MacStories+ and Club Premier. Club MacStories+ members enjoy even more exclusive stories, a vibrant Discord community, a rotating roster of app discounts, and more. And, with Club Premier, you get everything we offer at every Club level plus an extended, ad-free version of our podcast AppStories that is delivered early each week in high-bitrate audio.

Choose the Club plan that’s right for you:

  • Club MacStories: Weekly and monthly newsletters via email and the web that are brimming with app collections, tips, automation workflows, longform writing, a Club-only podcast, periodic giveaways, and more;
  • Club MacStories+: Everything that Club MacStories offers, plus exclusive content like Federico’s Automation Academy and John’s Macintosh Desktop Experience, a powerful web app for searching and exploring over 6 years of content and creating custom RSS feeds of Club content, an active Discord community, and a rotating collection of discounts, and more;
  • Club Premier: Everything in from our other plans and AppStories+, an extended version of our flagship podcast that’s delivered early, ad-free, and in high-bitrate audio.