The Most Useful New iOS 17.5 Features Teased in Beta 1 Update

Apple has just teased some of the most important new features coming to iOS 17.5. Here's what's new.

Apple has quietly released the first beta version of its iOS 17.5 update, giving us a first look at the next batch of new features coming to iPhones later this year.

While the Cupertino-based tech giant has only recently released iOS 17.4 into the wild, it’s already moved on to seeding iOS 17.5 beta 1 to its developer community.

The new Apple software is still some ways off being ready for general release, but the early stage release gives us a sneak peek at some of the new iOS 17.5 features in the pipeline, including more major changes to how apps are downloaded for the iPhone in Europe.

iOS 17.5 Lets You Install Apps Direct From Websites

The headline new iOS 17.5 feature builds on some of iOS 17.4’s big changes, now letting iPhone users in EU countries directly install iOS apps from developer websites.

Before iOS 17.4, Apple famously took a “walled garden” approach to iOS app distribution and security, which in practice meant it only allowed apps to be downloaded from its own iOS App Store after a stringent vetting process.

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In Europe, Apple’s tight-knit ecosystem fell foul of competition laws featuring in the EU’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA), which resulted in iOS 17.4 allowing third-party app stores on the platform for the first time.

In iOS 17.5, Apple appears to be going a step further and letting iPhone users download apps direct from developer websites – a move that should benefit smaller, independent app makers who’ll be able to host their downloads locally, rather than relying on app marketplaces.

Anti Stalking System is iOS 17.5’s Most Important New Feature

While Apple opening the door to direct web app downloads is undoubtedly big news, the most important new iOS 17.5 feature to our eye is the apparent rollout of a universal anti-tracking utility.

Not long ago, Apple said it was partnering with fellow mobile maestro Google to develop an industry standard aimed at combatting stalking.

According to code spotted in iOS 17.5 beta 1 by 9to5Mac, this now appears to be ready to start rolling out to Apple devices. More specifically, it will feature in an updated Find My app, which will let users recognize and disable non-Apple certified gadgets for the first time.

The string noted by the eagle-eyed Apple blog says: “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.”

How to Download iOS 17.5 Beta 1 Today

If you’re itching to check out the latest iOS 17.5 features, we’d encourage a certain amount of restraint: as we’ve said, the version currently available is the first beta of the new software, and it’s not meant for general use.

Instead, iOS 17.5 beta 1 is intended for developer use only, so that Apple’s community and partners can help it address bugs and also prepare their own products to support new iOS features.

Beta releases at this early a stage of their development are notoriously unreliable, and most iPhone owners would probably find them completely unusable.

However, if you are an Apple dev or early adopter aware of the very real risk that using iOS 17.5 beta 1 could wipe or even totally brick your device, here’s how to download the update today.

First, you’ll need to log-in to your Apple developer account. If you don’t already have one, or know what one is, then that’s probably a good indication that running iOS software in beta isn’t for you.

However, if you think you do fit the criteria then you can find out more about getting an Apple developer account on its support pages. Access is priced at $99 per year.

Assuming you’re all signed up and logged in, then you should be able to install iOS 17.5 by following a similar path to downloading a regular software update.

Just navigate to Settings > General > Software Updates > Beta Updates and you’re away. Just be aware of the risks outlined above, and be sure to backup your data if you’re installing a beta release on your main device, even just to check out quickly.

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Written by:
James Laird is a technology journalist with 10+ years experience working on some of the world's biggest websites. These include TechRadar, Trusted Reviews, Lifehacker, Gizmodo and The Sun, as well as industry-specific titles such as ITProPortal. His particular areas of interest and expertise are cyber security, VPNs and general hardware.
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