iOS 17.5: New features, release date, and more details

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Apple has officially started beta testing iOS 17.5 with developers and public beta users. The update brings a handful of new features and changes, and is expected to be released sometime next month. Head below for everything we know right now.

When will iOS 17.5 be released?

Based on previous years of iOS updates, I’d expect that iOS 17.5 will be released to everyone sometime in mid-May. Here’s a rundown of previous iOS x.5 update release dates:

So far, four iOS 17.5 betas have been released as of April 17.

  • April 2: iOS 17.5 beta 1, build number: 21F5048f
  • April 16: iOS 17.5 beta 2, build number: 21F5058e
  • April 23: iOS 17.5 beta 3, build number: 21F5063f
  • April 30: iOS 17.5 beta 4, build number: 21F5073b

What’s new in iOS 17.5?

While iOS 17.5 isn’t quite as big of an update as other iOS 17 updates, it still includes its fair share of new features and updates.

Web Distribution in the EU

Within the European Union, the latest iOS 17.5 update introduces the capability to install applications directly from a developer’s website. Apple unveiled this new “Web Distribution” feature last month, explaining that it allows developers to distribute their iOS apps straight from their own websites.

To utilize this functionality, developers must opt into the updated App Store business terms, which requires paying a Core Technology Fee of €0.50 for every first annual installation exceeding one million in the preceding 12 months.

Any application disseminated through the web will still need to adhere to Apple’s notarization guidelines. Apps can only be installed from a website domain that the developer has registered in App Store Connect. Apple will also provide a range of APIs for developers to integrate with system functionality.

Apple has confirmed that iOS 17.5 beta includes support for Web Distribution. However, there are currently no developers offering their apps via this new Web Distribution feature. We don’t anticipate this changing until the public release of iOS 17.5 in May.

New Quartiles game for Apple News+

In the Apple News app, Apple News+ subscribers in the United States and Canada will find a new “Quartiles” word game after updating to iOS 17.5. The game prompts players to select from a grid of tiles to form words.

Quartiles is the third game to come to Apple News+, following the addition of daily crossword and crossword mini games that were added last year.

iOS 17.5 also adds Game Center integration to all three of the Apple News+ games. With this feature, you can now see leaderboards for each of the three games for Daily Solve Time and Daily Score stats.

Design changes

iOS 17.5 beta 1 also includes a few small design changes that are worth pointing out:

  • The Podcasts widget has been updated to have a new dynamic color that changes based on the artwork of the podcast you’re currently playing.
  • In the Apple Books app, Apple has redesigned the “Reading Goal” icon in top navigation bar.
  • In the Settings app, there is a new glyph for the “Passkeys Access for Web Browsers” menu under “Privacy & Security.”

Find My network updates

Based on code discovered by 9to5Mac, iOS 17.5 seems to incorporate a new system centered around anti-stalking capabilities for accessories like AirTags. This development follows Apple’s announcement last year of a partnership with Google to collaborate on a new “industry specification to combat unwanted tracking.”

Strings added to the Find My app reveal that iOS will be able to identify tracking accessories, even those that are not Apple or Find My certified, and assist users in disabling them.

One of the new strings states, “This item lacks certification on the Apple Find My network. You have the option to disable this item and prevent it from sharing its location with the owner. To proceed, follow the instructions provided on a website by the manufacturer of this item.”

These changes come as Google started rolling out its new Find My Device network for Android on April 8.

New ‘Repair State’

iOS 17.5 Repair State Find My

In iOS 17.5 beta 4, Apple added a new “Repair State” feature to Find My. This feature lets users confirm with their Apple ID and password that they’re about to send their iPhone in for a repair. As a result, Apple technicians can confirm that the person owns the iPhone and then proceed with the repair without the need to turn off Stolen Device Protection and Find My.

Essentially, this ensures that users can still track their device using Find My while it’s being repaired. Previous, Apple required users to disabled Find My altogether.

Other iOS 17.5 changes

Wrap up

Whether Apple has more changes planned for iOS 17.5 beyond what was launched today remains to be seen. The focus is clearly on the European Union, where Apple continues to adapt to the Digital Markets Act being enforced by the European Commission.

More on iOS 17.5: 

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