New Apple TV hacked to run makeshift Safari browser

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 1.34.27 PM

A new YouTube video (embedded below) showing the first browser designed for the new Apple TV has been published. The app uses a private API to render web content, so it’s not likely you’ll be seeing it on the App Store any time soon, but the project is open source and can be downloaded by anyone.

The browser takes advantage of the Siri Remote bundled with the new Apple TV hardware to navigate websites. Pressing the glass surface on the remote switches between two modes.


The first allows the user to scroll by flicking the glass, while the other mode displays an arrow that can be moved freely around the screen. Once the arrow is visible, pressing the glass surface again will click on whatever’s below the arrow.

The simplistic browser loads pages quickly and seems to work fairly well. For casual browsing it might be quite useful. Unfortunately, as noted above, it’s not likely to be released officially because it requires access to a private API to function.

Earlier this week, another Apple TV hack demonstrated built-in support for iOS-like folders on the home screen, which would make app management much more powerful.

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  1. Jonny - 7 years ago

    Now can this play youtube video embeds… say of sports games… asking for a friend.

  2. PMZanetti - 7 years ago

    Not sure why this falls under the category of “hack”. What is stopping Google from releasing a Chrome browser for AppleTV like on every iOS device?

    There hasn’t been much exposition on the limitations of the tvOS SDK.

    • Sebastian - 7 years ago

      Because it’s using a private API?

    • mahmudf2014 - 7 years ago

      Cause developers are not allowed to create browsers for tvOS. Or even open web links in apps. If any tries, they will get rejected.

    • Jonny - 7 years ago

      I think all of the Webkit stuff is not accessible (public API) for the developers.

    • chrisl84 - 7 years ago

      Apple doesn’t want web browsing on the Apple TV. A huge percent of people only use computers to check email and social media. If you can do all that on a 50+ in screen for 150 bucks, that big portion of the market isn’t going to buy computers anymore.

    • Jack Zahran - 7 years ago

      It’s a hack in the sense that they are using a private framework, that is, a set of program interfaces reserved for Apple’s internal use and generally not documented. Apple, can change them at will without supporting backward compatibility unlike the public frameworks. But, it’s not a real hack. The code is side-loaded, meaning, the user uses Xcode to create the App and loads it locally. Completely within Apple’s terms of use.

      A better solution would be to use a public web framework and build a real App you could distribute on the App store.