Google TV has picked up a few updates in the recent past, including some not-so-exciting ones. However, it continues to power some of the best streaming devices on the market, especially if you’re invested in Google’s smart home ecosystem. Back in 2020, the company started offering an apps-only interface, which puts Google TV applications front and center, hiding away Assistant and personalized recommendations. Over this past week, one of our readers witnessed a new visual upgrade to this interface, with larger icons and a new grid format for apps while scrolling down from the banner.
It’s not exactly clear if Google meant for this change to go live right away, but it looks like people can manually enable it by updating the launcher app. From what we can tell, the feature seems to come with version 6.0.16 of Android TV Home, which is currently up on APKMirror. The changelog appears to corroborate the inclusion of these visual changes, though nothing specific is mentioned.
Google launched Apps only mode as a kind of alternative to guest mode, wherein your content recommendations won’t appear, but people can continue to access videos via individual apps. Other features like Assistant and search are also missing in this view. This is a godsend for households where the television is shared and you’re not comfortable with your personal content recommendations appearing for everybody. Ads and other promotional content will continue to appear, however, so there’s no escaping that.
Turning on Apps only mode requires you to navigate to the Settings page from the home screen of your Chromecast or other Google TV device, then select Accounts & Sign In. From there, tap your profile and enable Apps only mode.
Google TV isn't perfect by any means and has its fair share of issues. The increased frequency of ads for physical products is one such concern. But once you get over these little quirks, it's a breeze to use. If you're new to the platform, check out our list of handy tips that can enhance your Google TV experience significantly.