What Are New iOS 17.5 Features

Vineet Maheshwari

Apple has released the first beta of iOS 17.5 to developers this week, providing an early glimpse at the exciting new features and enhancements coming to iPhones in the near future. The upcoming update, which is expected to be the last major iOS 17 release before the unveiling of iOS 18 at WWDC in June, promises to deliver a range of improvements that will further refine the user experience and bolster privacy and security.

Web Distribution for EU Users

One of the most significant changes in iOS 17.5 is the introduction of Web Distribution for users in the European Union. This feature, which is a response to the Digital Markets Act (DMA), will allow developers to distribute their iOS apps directly from their websites, bypassing the App Store. Apple has stated that authorized developers will be granted access to APIs that facilitate web-based app distribution, system integration, and more.

While this move aims to provide greater flexibility for developers and users in the EU, it also raises concerns about potential security risks associated with sideloading apps. However, Apple has emphasized that developers will still need to adhere to the company’s guidelines and obtain approval to ensure the integrity of the iOS ecosystem.

Check: What Are New iOS 18 AI Features?

Enhanced Anti-Stalking Measures

iOS 17.5 is set to introduce a new system that addresses the misuse of tracking accessories, such as AirTags. The Find My app will be updated to identify and help users disable tracking devices that are not certified by Apple or the Find My network. This development follows Apple’s announcement last year of a partnership with Google to collaborate on an industry specification to combat unwanted tracking.

“This item isn’t certified on the Apple Find My network. You can disable this item and stop it from sharing its location with the owner. To do this, follow the instructions provided on a website by the manufacturer of this item,” reads one of the new strings added to the Find My app.

Design Refinements and App Enhancements

The first iOS 17.5 beta also brings subtle design refinements across various apps, contributing to a more polished user experience. These changes include:

  • A redesigned “reading goal” icon in the Apple Books app
  • A new icon for “Passkeys Access for Web Browsers” in the Settings app
  • A dynamic Apple Podcasts widget that adapts its color to match the artwork of the currently playing podcast

Additionally, the update includes improvements for Mobile Device Management (MDM) users, allowing MDM solutions to enforce beta versions during automated device enrollment.

Hints at Future Hardware and Features

Code changes discovered in the iOS 17.5 beta suggest that Apple is preparing to introduce a Battery Health menu on future iPad models, which will display information such as maximum capacity and cycle count. This feature, while not yet visible, is expected to debut on the rumored iPad Pro and iPad Air models set to launch in May.

Furthermore, references to a new “V4” version of the Apple Pencil have been found, hinting at the possibility of a fourth-generation Apple Pencil with additional capabilities, such as a “squeeze” gesture for certain actions.

Read: Why is my Airpod not showing up on Find My iPhone?

Release Date and Compatibility

Although an official release date for iOS 17.5 has not been announced, it is expected to become available to the public sometime in mid-to-late May. The update will be compatible with iPhone models ranging from the iPhone XR and newer, including the latest iPhone 15 series.

As the iOS 17.5 beta testing progresses, more features and enhancements are likely to surface, further refining the iPhone user experience and addressing key concerns related to privacy and security. With the inclusion of Web Distribution for EU users, enhanced anti-stalking measures, and various app improvements, iOS 17.5 is shaping up to be a significant update that will pave the way for the highly anticipated iOS 18 reveal at WWDC 2024.

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Vineet Maheshwari is a passionate blogger and relationship oriented digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience in SEO, PPC management, web analytics, domain investing, affiliate marketing and digital strategy. He has helped high tech brands connect with customers in an engaging manner, thereby ensuring that high quality leads are generated over time.
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