iOS 17.5 beta 1: Here's everything new

Apple released the first beta of iOS 17.5 to developers today, after a month-long gap with no betas. Although the first beta of iOS 17.5 is a relatively minor update, there are a few things worth noting. Head below for more.

iOS 17.5 beta details

iOS 17.5 beta 1 has build number 21F5048f. It's now available to registered developers, who can update via the Settings app by going to General and then selecting Software Update. We expect iOS 17.4 to be released to public beta testers later this week or next week.

What's new in the first beta of iOS 17.5?

Web installation

In the European Union, iOS 17.5 brings support for installing apps directly from the developer's website. Apple announced its new “Web Distribution” feature last month, explaining that it allows developers to distribute their iOS applications directly from their website.

To use this feature, developers will have to sign up to the App Store's new commercial terms, meaning they will pay a basic technology fee of €0.50 for every first annual installation of over 1 million in the last 12 months.

Any application distributed over the web will still be required to meet Apple's authentication guidelines. Apps can only be installed from the website domain that the developer has registered with App Store Connect. Apple will also provide a number of APIs for integration with system functions to developers.

Although the first beta of iOS 17.5 lays the groundwork for this feature, there are currently no developers offering their apps via this new web distribution feature. We don't expect this to change until iOS 17.5 is released to the general public in May.

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Design changes

The first beta of iOS 17.5 also includes some small design changes across the operating system.

  • In the Apple Books app, Apple has redesigned the Reading Goal icon in the top navigation bar.
  • In the Settings app, there's a new glyph for the Access passkeys for web browsers menu under Privacy & Security.
  • The podcast widget has been updated to have a new dynamic color that changes based on the artwork of the podcast you're currently playing.

Undesirable new tracking system

According to the code I found 9to5MaciOS 17.5 appears to include a new system based on anti-stalking features for accessories like AirTags. This comes after Apple announced last year a partnership with Google to work on “new industry specifications to address unwanted tracking.”

Strings added to the Find My app reveal that iOS will recognize tracking accessories, even when they're not approved by Apple or Find My, and will help users disable them.

“This item is not supported on the Apple Find My network. You can disable this item and prevent it from sharing its location with the owner. To do this, follow the instructions provided on the website by the manufacturer of this item,” one of the new threads says.

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according to Aaron Peres on TwitteriOS 17.5 also includes an update for MDM users: “MDM solutions can now force a trial during automatic device enrollment.”

Find out anything else new in iOS 17.5? Let us know in the comments.

What's next for iOS 17.5?

It remains to be seen if Apple has more changes planned for iOS 17.5 beyond what was launched today. The focus is clearly on the European Union, as Apple continues to adapt to the European Commission's Digital Markets Act.

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iOS 17.5 will likely be released to the wider public sometime in mid-to-late May. This will be the last iOS 17 update released before Apple unveils iOS 18 at WWDC in June.

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