Although Apple TV users have been able to reorder their app icons since Apple TV Software Update 5.1 three years ago, Apple traditionally always treated the top row of icons – Movies, TV Shows, Music, Computers, and Settings (and later iTunes Radio in the U.S.) – as immutable; even if you preferred to use other services, you were always stuck with those five in the top row.
The good news is that with the advent of the App Store and the fourth-generation Apple TV, this has all changed. While you can reorganize your icons in the same way as before – press and hold the touchpad button on the Siri Remote and then swipe to move your icon to a new location – you can now place any app you want in the top row of icons. As an added bonus, apps that are in the top row actually get access to the upper part of the Apple TV screen – known as the “Top Shelf” – in order to display additional content. At this point, many apps simply display static artwork, but a few are already making use of this Top Shelf area to display direct links to content, much like Apple’s own built-in apps. Once you’ve got an app icon in the top row, just highlight that app and then swipe up to the Top Shelf to get quick access to whatever shortcuts are appearing there. While the number of apps using the Top Shelf is limited right now, hopefully we’ll see more apps begin to use this area to display all sorts of useful and relevant information.