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Published on May 1st, 2018 | by Brad Gibson


BBC’s Apple TV iPlayer update adds ‘pick up’ watching feature

British Apple TV users of the BBC iPlayer app can now resume watching programs where they left off on another device following an update to the app. 

The new feature of one of the most downloaded Apple TV apps in the country lets U.K. consumers pause and recommence watching videos on another device — say, moving from an iPhone to an Apple TV — but only through signing in with a free iPlayer account on all those devices.

If watching only on Apple TV, it is not necessary to sign in to resume from a certain point, but programs will not be listed as previously watched videos in a category marked as ‘Continue watching.’

The updated app steps consumers through the sign-in process with an explanation video (see video below). Those without an iPlayer account can only sign up through a web browser and can opt out of registering as long as they realize the new feature will not be available to them. 

Consumers will confirm on a mobile device or computer the authenticity of their iPlayer account using a one-time use code and then gain full access to content on their Apple TV and the ‘pick up’ feature.

Once a program is paused on any device using the same account sign-in, it will now appear in a list of items marked ‘Continue watching’ on the main iPlayer Homepage (see image below).


The addition of the account sign-in is a first for the iPlayer app and is expected to be part of a future addition that will require users to register and confirm they pay a yearly TV license fee to view BBC content through a television or online. The license, what amounts to a British usage tax costing £150.50 (US$205) a year, is used to pay for BBC programs and services and to remain ad-free and independent.

The ‘pick up’ and sign-in features are the only visual additions to the update. A number of other much-talked-about features – such as closed-captioning – have yet to be added.

(A BIG thank you to reader and fellow journalist Sebastain Szwarc (@Behinder) for his help in obtaining screenshots and videos for this story.)

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as,,,, and He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the AOL, the BBC, Associated Press, and United Press International.

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