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How to enable Single Sign-On for the Apple TV on tvOS 10.1

If you’re running the tvOS beta, you can now log in to the Single Sign-On feature — if you have the right provider. Here’s how!

Apple quietly flipped the switch on its long-awaited Single Sign-On feature on Thursday night, but before you get too excited, a few caveats: It’s only for users of the tvOS 10.1 developer beta; it currently only supports four providers; and most (if not all) third-party apps don’t currently look for the Single Sign-On data, so they’ll still ask you to authorize on a per-app basis.

All that said, you certainly can test out Single Sign On if you fit all of those criteria, though you won’t find much to start.

What providers support Single Sign-On?

At present, Apple only has four providers in the U.S. available for beta users:

Of the four, Sling TV is the only one that most U.S. users can sign up for immediately; otherwise, if you don’t have one of these four providers, you won’t be able to use Single Sign-On just yet.

What are the privacy issues in regards to Single Sign-On?

In the TV Provider preferences pane, Apple offers a section called “About TV Providers and Privacy,” which offers users an overview of what information their TV providers will be able to see after logging in. In essence, here’s what you’re giving to your provider and third-party apps upon connecting them to your Apple TV:

  • Apps, Apple, and your provider can exchange information about your subscription account (to allow you to access various shows across apps)
  • Your provider can share your user ID, household ID, and account zip code along with information about your subscription package
  • Your Apple TV will store your provider name and user ID locally for authorization
    
Much like with iOS’s location permissions, when you open a new app, you’ll have to OK each one to use your subscription data; if you choose not to authorize that app, it’ll default to its original authentication method.

How to enable Single Sign-On

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Accounts > TV Provider.
  3. Choose your provider.
  4. Click on Sign In.
  5. Enter your username and password.

How to authorize an app with Single Sign-On

In theory, authorizing an app is as simple as opening the program and selecting OK to authorize the sharing of your subscription data.

That said, this feature is still in beta: Before your third-party app can talk to the Single Sign-On feature, it appears to need an update from its developers; this is because the app currently doesn’t know to look for the Single Sign-On data.

As a result, I’ve been able to find no apps currently that support the Single Sign-On feature — not surprising, given its beta nature. As the tvOS 10.1 beta progresses, however, we may see apps begin to push out updates that incorporate this feature.

How to find apps that work with your subscription

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Accounts > TV Provider.
  3. Select Find More Apps.

You’ll then be brought to an App Store collection that highlights compatible apps with your specific subscription. Keep in mind, however, that because the system is in beta, these collections may not show up in full.

How to turn off Single Sign-On

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Accounts > TV Provider.
  3. Select Sign Out.
    
After you sign out, apps will revert to individual authentication options.

Any questions?



Have any questions about Single Sign-On in its beta form? Let me know in the comments.



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