If you’re an iPhone user, keeping up with the new iOS 17.5 features can be a bit of a challenge when you want to make the most of your device. A week after the company released the second beta, we now have the iOS 17.5 beta 3 version out for developers to test out before the official release. The iPhone iOS 17.5 beta 3 improvements should be the last round of updates before the final version is released sometime in May, so here are a few of the highlights of what you can expect once testing is complete.

iOS 17.5 update details

Image: The iPhone 15 Pro Max in White

Exploring iOS 17.5: New Features and A Sweet Little Game Too

If the rumors online are to be believed, iOS 18 could be announced in June during the WWDC 2024 event. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman believes it could be “one of the biggest iOS updates—if not the biggest—in the company’s history,” and we’re inclined to believe him. Apple has been working hard to take its AI offerings to the next level and this could be the moment we’ve all been waiting for, with a revamped Siri and additional on-device AI. The company is expected to save the best features for the next iPhone but a lot of potential changes could be seen just through a software upgrade.

Rolling it back and bringing our attention to the iOS 17.5 update details, let’s take a look at some of the biggest changes we’ve seen so far.

iOS 17.5: New Features for the EU

A lot of the conversation around the iOS 17.5 update details focuses on the accommodations Apple has made in adherence to the DMA. Users will now be able to sideload apps from the third-party website and alternate app stores but this does not represent a free-for-all ride where just anyone can introduce an app. The company will still require developers to go through their approval process to ensure that there are no harmful services that are allowed onto iOS devices.

“In eligible regions, you can distribute approved, non-marketplace apps from your website. To distribute your app, fill out a web form that outlines the qualifications, and if approved, Apple enables you to download a framework that facilitates the secure installation of your app from your website.”

Apple released a guide for developers on the iOS 17.5 update details that will allow them to set up their app for alternative distribution and sign up for the review process. The guide also indicates how to add the download button on the website and the criteria the webpage needs to follow. It’s a lot of rules but it is still a step for third-party developers who do not want to go the traditional app store route.

Apple News+ Subscribers Get a New Word Game

Whether you’re a daily Wordle player or you’ve been captivated by the new Strands game, NYT has set the standard for more intellectual games for daily users. Taking a page from their books, the Apple iOS 17.5 beta 1 version introduced a new game for subscribers called Quartiles. Here, you can choose between 1-4 word segments like “tal” or “ize” on your screen to create a full word to submit. It’s a nifty game that can give you an additional reason to stay subscribed to Apple News+.

Apple News+ is exclusively available in certain regions only but the puzzle games are further limited to the U.S. and Canada currently. 

An Upgraded Podcast Widget

Customization is always fun and a podcast widget feature that was removed from the iOS 17.4 beta has now been added to the list of new features with iOS 17.5. When you listen to a podcast now, the widget will change colors to reflect the artwork colors featured on the podcast tile. It’s not a game-changer but aesthetic changes always elevate the user experience of the device.

The Books App Brings Your Reading Goals to the Forefront

If you prefer reading over listening to podcasts, the Books app will now let you track your reading habits better. You can find a counter on the top right corner of your app homepage which will let you set a goal for how many minutes you want to read every day. The default 5 minutes can be brought down to 1 minute or turned up to 1,440 minutes if you’re turning it into a seriously obsessive lifestyle choice.

iPhone iOS 17.5 Beta 3 Improvements to Bring Anti-stalking Features

Apple and Google recently came to an agreement over their tracker features and the security concerns around it, both companies investigating how their devices might be misused to illegally track their users. If an Apple device detects an unidentified Apple tracker traveling with it, users will be alerted to its presence. This can help people feel more comfortable out in the world, giving them the ability to disable the tracker and stop it from sharing their location information. 

It’s an interesting update but still has the potential to be misused considering someone who has stolen an Air Tagged device could also possibly prevent you from tracking your device. Loopholes aside, security features are definitely the way forward. 

iPadOS 17.5 Beta 3 Developer Release Hint at iPad Battery Health Menu 

Going over the potential new features for the iPad, MacRumors suggested that we could see a menu for evaluating the Battery Health of the device. The feature is currently unavailable but the menu will help users understand the battery life of their device when unplugged and whether the performance is falling below expectations. The news page has noted that the menu could be released exclusively for upcoming iPad Pro and iPad Air models that are launched in May.

An Apple Pencil is also rumored to be ready for launch alongside the iPad but that remains unconfirmed. The iOS 17.5’s new features are primarily centered around beta 1 and 2 of the software, but the iPhone iOS 17.5 beta 3 improvements will be more clear once it is officially moved out of beta. From the developers’ notes, there appear to be some updates on accessibility, app tracking, and eSIM integration, all of which we’ll better understand in May.