iOS 17.5 beta 1 changes and features + new iPad Pro details

In this hands-on video, we review everything new in the initial iOS 17.5 developer beta. We also discuss how iOS 17.5 beta 1 reveals new details about the 2024 iPad Pro, scheduled to launch next month. Watch our in-depth walkthrough, and subscribe to 9to5Mac on YouTube for more.

iOS 17.5 beta changes and features

iOS 17.5 includes several new changes and features and a few noteworthy under-the-hood updates providing evidence for upcoming hardware releases. Although the update was released last week, new additions, like the new Apple News+ Quartiles game, was recently discovered.

Here’s a look at everything new so far in the initial iOS 17.5 developer beta.

Video: What’s new in iOS 17.5 beta 1?

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Build number

For those keeping score at home, iOS 17.5 beta 1 arrives with build number 21F5048f.

New Quartiles puzzle game for Apple News+ subscribers

Apple News+ subscribers will find a new game added to the puzzle collection within the News app called Quartiles. The premise of this word game involves creating as many words as possible from a set of 20 tiles. Words can be between one and four tiles long, and the score increases when multiple tiles are used for a word.

Each game also includes five Quartiles, which are words that include four tiles. Players receive a 40-point bonus for finding all four Quartiles.

Game Center Leaderboard integration for Apple News+ games

Launching alongside Quartiles in the Apple News app is Game Center leaderboard integration. Game Center integration doesn’t just apply to Quartiles but also to other games, like the Crossword puzzle. Gamers can compete with their friends or see how they stack up against the worldwide leaderboard.

Game Center Leaderboards Apple News+

New unwanted tracking system

iOS already contains provisions to alert users to unknown AirTags following them, but iOS 17.5 lays the groundwork to expand these alerts to include trackers not part of the Find My network. Users will be alerted when a tracker follows them and be prompted to visit the tracker manufacturer’s website to learn how to disable it.

Web installation for apps in EU

For EU users, iOS 17.5 implements the ability to install applications directly from a website. Of course, the process is much more involved than simply making an app available for download, as Apple has strict requirements for providing website-based app downloads.

Color-matched Podcast widget

If you have the Apple Podcast widgets on your iOS Home Screen, you’ll notice that the background of the widget will once again match the color of the now-playing podcast artwork.

iOS 17.5 color-matched Podcast widgets

Books app reading goal updated design

The Books app enjoys a subtle change in iOS 17.5 thanks to a redesigned reading goal indicator in the upper right-hand corner. Reading goals help track how much time you’ve spent reading each day, and you can adjust the goal directly within the app.

Books app reading goal

Passkeys Access for Web Browsers glyph

The Passkeys Access for Web Browsers permission under Settings → Privacy & Security has been updated in iOS 17.5 to include a corresponding glyph.

Passkeys access for web browsers iOS 17.5

New 2024 iPad Pro details

iOS software releases have provided lots of information about upcoming iPad Pro hardware, and iOS 17.5 is no exception.

New iPad models added to iOS 17.5

For instance, four new iPad models have been added to the initial iOS 17.5 beta, and they likely correspond to two sizes of iPad Pro with Wi-Fi and cellular versions.

The model identifiers for the new iPad Pros include:

  • iPad16,3 and iPad 16,4
  • iPad16,5 and iPad 16,6

Based on past model identifier naming, iPad16,3 is the 11-inch 2024 iPad Pro (Wi-Fi), and iPad16,4 is the 11-inch 2024 iPad Pro (Wi-Fi + Cellular). iPad16,5 is the 13-inch 2024 iPad Pro (Wi-Fi), and iPad16,6 is the 13-inch 2024 iPad Pro (Wi-Fi + Cellular).

New iPad Pro to feature new display technology

It’s long been rumored that the new iPad Pro will utilize OLED displays for the first time. Corroborating that, new display firmware has been identified in iOS 17.5, and these new firmware files have only been added for the above-mentioned 2024 iPad Pro models.

iOS 17.5 iPad Pro Display Firmware

2024 iPad Pro code names

Thanks to iOS 17.5, the code names for the new iPad Pro models have also been revealed. Vinca, a flower in the periwinkle family, corresponds to DP875, whereas Gaenari, a Korean goldenbell tree, corresponds to STUUP1.

OLED Panel suppliers

iOS 17.5 confirms that there are two suppliers for the OLED displays in the upcoming iPad Pro refresh, which is no surprise. Display firmware for both LG (LGD) and Samsung (SDC) has been identified.

iPad Pro 2024 LGD Firmware

11-inch iPad Pro in shorter supply

Analyst Ross Young previously reported that Samsung will only initially make the 11-inch iPad Pro panels, which could mean a constrained supply for 11-inch iPad Pro models. Interestingly, Samsung firmware (STUUP1) is only present for the 11-inch iPad Pro model identifiers iPad16.3 and 16,4, while LG firmware (DP875) is present for all model identifiers.

Display parity

Thanks to the adoption of OLED on both the smaller and larger iPad Pro models, the lineup should once again gain display parity between both models. The initial 2018 iPad Pro models had identical displays between the 11-inch and 12.9 inch versions, but the 2020 refresh yielded a dramatic difference between the two.

The 12.9-inch 2020 iPad Pro gained a Liquid Retina XDR Display, with mini LED technology, 1600 nits of brightness for HDR content, and nearly 2600 full array local dimming zones. Although not an OLED panel, the Liquid Retina XDR Display was a huge upgrade over the previous display, which the 11-inch model still had.

With the 2024 iPad Pro refresh, users won’t need to choose between inferior display technology or a larger display, which could prompt more users to opt for the smaller tablet.

OLED displays have come a long way

Apple has been using OLED displays on iPhones for years (since iPhone X), but the technology has steadily improved, especially in the brightness and contrast ratio areas. Several noteworthy releases in the iPhone lineup have led up to the upcoming launch of the 2024 OLED iPad Pro.

We can see how Apple’s display technology has improved on the iPhone and how this might translate to the iPad Pro. The 2024 iPad Pro display will likely be marketed as a Super Retina XDR Display. However, don’t put it past Apple to have a secret or two up its sleeve regarding the display technology, so that could result in some fancy new marking name as well.

iPhone X

The OG OLED display for iPhone, the iPhone X featured amazing black levels thanks to the technology and an impressive 1,000,000 contrast ratio. However, the device lacked support for HDR content and only had a max brightness of 600 nits. The iPhone X display was marketed as a Super Retina HD display.

iPhone 11 Pro

The iPhone gained HDR support with the release of the iPhone 11 Pro, which featured 800 nits of typical brightness and 1200 nits for HDR. It also featured a significant 2,000,000:1 bump in contrast ratio. As a result of these gains, Apple branded the iPhone 11 Pro display as a Super Retina XDR display.

iPhone 13 Pro

iPhone 13 Pro gained the iPad’s Pro Motion support for the first time and bumped the max typical brightness to 1000 nits.

iPhone 14 Pro/iPhone 15 Pro

iPhone 14 Pro featured a significant bump in peak brightness for HDR going from 1200 to 1600 nits. It also gained the ability to go even brighter when out in sunlight up to 2000 nits.

New Apple Pencil 3

It’s largely expected that a new Apple Pencil will launch alongside the new iPad Pro models. As we’ve reported previously, the Apple Pencil 3 will feature Find My Network compatibility to make it easier to recover when lost.

There’s also the rumor about interchangeable magnetic tips for different artistic applications and an update to PencilKit, PencilKit 3, that will add new capabilities to Apple Pencil. Few outside of Apple know what those capabilities are, but some features will likely require new Apple Pencil 3 hardware.

Apple Pencil squeeze gestures

The second-generation Apple Pencil included a double-tap gesture to switch between the current tool and the eraser, show ink attributes, color palettes, etc. Apple Pencil 3 will one-up this functionality by incorporating pressure-sensitive gestures for the first time.

iOS 17.5 Apple Pencil Squeeze Gestures

New events found in IOKit indicate that the Apple Pencil 3 will support multiple pressure-sensitive “squeeze” gestures, including Squeeze, LongSqueeze, and DoubleSqueeze. It’s looking like the Apple Pencil 3 will be a significant upgrade over the the 2nd-generation Apple Pencil, unlike the weird USB-C Apple Pencil release that we saw last year.

New Magic Keyboard

Details are sparse, but we will also be getting a new Magic Keyboard, as first reported by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. This new keyboard will reportedly be much more laptop-like and feature a larger trackpad.

In my video walkthrough above, I talk about how Apple might make this happen. Apple could nix the double-hinge of the first-generation Magic Keyboard and create a new single-hinge design that allows the iPad to always rest fully against the back of the Magic Keyboard second-generation. This would allow the keys to be pushed further towards the display, freeing up room for larger palm rests and a larger trackpad.

14-inch MacBook Pro vs iPad Pro Magic Keyboard

Gurman notes that the base of the updated Magic Keyboard would be made of aluminum, which should provide a more solid foundation. Along with the reduced weight of the iPad Pro, this may be enough to solve any issues with counterbalance that may arise by adopting a single hinge design.

Of course, the new iPad Pro should also include a landscape camera like the 10th-generation iPad, which will further support its laptop aspirations. Now, all we need is more bandwidth between the Magic Keyboard and iPad Pro to support higher-capability USB-C connections to fortify its laptop goals.

9to5Mac’s take

iOS 17.5 features several new user-facing changes and features that iOS users should enjoy, but the bigger story is the latest details on the iPad Pro that these updates reveal. According to reports, Apple will launch the iPad Pro in the second week of May, which means that we’ll be getting the iOS 17.5 update not long after that.

What do you think about iOS 17.5 beta 1? Sound off in the comments with your thoughts.

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