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What new features are coming?

Key Takeaways

  • Enhanced anti-tracking capabilities are hinted at in iOS 17.5 beta 1, to notify users of unwanted third-party trackers.
  • EEA users are expected to get expanded app sideloading capabilities in iOS 17.5, aligning with EU regulations.
  • iOS 17.5 beta 1 hints at a new Apple Pencil squeeze gesture, suggesting Apple Pencil 3 may be on the way.

It’s been less than a month since Apple released the iOS 17.4 update to iPhone users, but the tech giant isn’t done its work just yet. Earlier this week, Apple released the first beta preview of iOS 17.5. So far, there aren’t any notable standout features that are easy to spot. Instead, it looks like we’ll have to rely on references to upcoming features and capabilities that were discovered inside the code.

Expect a couple additional beta releases to land in the interim, with a May or June timeframe likely for a broader release.


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Anti-tracking gets smarter

AirTags are a wonderful tool for helping track lost luggage, keys, and wallets. However, they’ve come under fire for their potential to be abused by bad actors. Thankfully, it looks like Apple is continuing to boost the anti-tracking capabilities within its ecosystem. As spotted by 9to5Mac, new code found in iOS 17.5 references the ability to notify users of unwanted third-party tracking devices.

Apple and Google have been at work on a joint venture to prevent unwanted trackers from unknowingly following users. A previous iOS update brought unwanted tracker alerts for first-party trackers, so it’s great to see this continue to be improved upon.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro front

More changes for the EU market

iOS 17.4 unlocked app sideloading on the operating system for the first time — for residents of the European Economic Area (EEA), that is. It looks like this is being further expanded upon in 17.5, where EEA users will be able to download and install apps directly from a developer’s website.

We knew this feature was on its way, with Apple having previously outlined its Web Distribution guidelines and requirements.

Mounting pressure from the European Union and its Digital Markets Act (DMA) have led to an ongoing feud between Apple and Brussels, the results of which are still developing.

Apple Pencil iPad-1

New Apple Pencil squeeze gesture

Code from iOS 17.5 beta 1, also found by 9to5Mac, makes reference to a new squeeze gesture for the Apple Pencil. The current Apple Pencil 2 supports a double tapping gesture, but doesn’t have the pressure sensors to make squeezing possible.

The release of an Apple Pencil 3 seems imminent, having long been rumored to arrive alongside brand-new iPad Pro models sometime this year. While nothing can be said for certain, a squeezable Apple Pencil 3 seems well within the realm of possibility.

Being the first beta release of the new update, it’ll probably be a few weeks before a stable version is officially released. Expect a couple additional beta releases to land in the interim, with a May or June timeframe likely for a broader release.

Apple’s WWDC 2024 conference is set to take place on June 10th. Rumor has it that iOS 18 will be a major refresh for the operating system, and so it’s likely that 17.5 will be the final major release to build upon the iOS 17.x platform.

If you want to try out the public beta for yourself, you’ll need to enroll your Apple ID in the program through the Apple Beta Software Program website. If you’re currently on iOS 16.4 or later, you can then go to Settings > General > Software Update > Beta Updates and choose the iOS beta you’d like to install.

A separate developer beta is also available for those interested in testing it out. It requires downloading the Apple Developer app from the App Store, and signing in with a registered Apple developer account, then following the same update settings, but selecting the developer beta instead. The two updates are usually identical, with the developer beta typically released a day or two before the public beta.

As always when playing around with beta software, it’s highly advisable to back up important documents and data in case anything happens to go wrong.


iOS 17: All the best iPhone features you can use right now

Need to catch up on what’s new in iOS 17? We have your back. Here’s everything you need to know about your iPhone’s latest software update.

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