7 New Features and Changes Coming to Your iPhone with iOS 17.5 « iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

Apple released iOS 17.4 on March 5 with over 30 new features, but now it’s iOS 17.5’s turn for the spotlight. The update, currently in beta, gives us a few interesting updates and changes for iPhone, and there’s even a sneak peek at what could be coming in the stable build.

The iOS 17.5 beta build was first available to developers on April 2, with the first public version available a few days later on April 4. If you want to test new features before everyone else on your iPhone, you can install the iOS 17.5 beta on your iPhone right now.

As always, you may experience bugs on beta builds. For example, the first iOS 17.5 beta swapped user-facing text in Settings » Battery » Charging Optimization with code strings such as “CHARGING_TITLE” and “CHARGING_FIXED_LIMIT.”

1. Color-Changing Podcasts Widget

If you have the Podcasts widget on your Home Screen or Today View, its background color will now dynamically change to a color that corresponds to the currently playing podcast’s cover art instead of the standard purple background. This feature briefly appeared in the iOS 17.4 beta but never made it to any stable releases. Now, it’s back.

The Podcasts widget on iOS 17.4.1 (left) vs. iOS 17.5 (right).

2. New Reading Goals Counter in Books

In the Books app, the reading goal reminder at the top of the Home tab was written out as “Today’s Reading” with your set goal spelled out beside it. On iOS 17.5, it’s been moved from its location above the Continue and Top Picks sections to an icon next to your profile icon.

Instead of text, you get numbers that show today’s read time and your goal. When you make progress toward your reading goal, the circular outline around the numbers will fill in, giving you another visual indicator.

The reading goals indicator on iOS 17.4.1 (left) vs. iOS 17.5 (right).

3. Updated Flowcase Background in Books Store

In an even more minor change to the Books app, iOS 17.5 gives us a different version of the background color that appears behind a single book in the Books Store’s flowcase. The stage effect is now more noticeable with a brighter foreground and middle ground. The image below shows a gray background, but the updated stage effect for single books also applies to all the other colors.

The flowcase background in the Book Store on iOS 17.4.1 vs. iOS 17.5.

4. Icon for Passkeys Access in Security Settings

When you visit Settings » Privacy & Security, you’ll see an icon for the Passkeys Access for Web Browsers item. Previously, it had no icon. The symbol shown is the Passkeys icon, which features a person symbol with a key badge.

The Passkeys Access for Web Browsers menu on iOS 17.4.1 (left) vs. iOS 17.5 (right).

5. Anti-Stalking Features for Find My

Find My anti-stalking features are about to get even better.

Apple previously addressed stalking issues with Find My network accessories by issuing time-sensitive alerts whenever your iPhone detects somebody else’s AirTag, AirPods, or Find My network accessory traveling with you. An alert lets you know that the accessory’s owner may be tracking your whereabouts. Tapping the notification gives details about the tracker, such as identifying information and whether the owner marked the accessory lost. If you think they meant to track you without your consent, you can follow the instructions to disable the device.

In code found on iOS 17.5, 9to5Mac found the following additional alert that indicates your iPhone will soon be able to also identify unwanted tracking accessories that are not Find My certified. This could be one aspect of the joint Apple–Google universal tracking system for iOS and Android that was announced last year. According to Apple, Samsung, Tile, Chipolo, eufy Security, and Pebblebee have expressed support for the new specification.

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

Whether it becomes ready for iOS 17.5’s stable release remains to be seen.

6. Install Apps from Developers’ Websites (EU Only)

Apple gave the EU a ton of new features on iOS 17.4 to comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). With iOS 17.5, Apple gives them another one: web distribution. Now, users in EU countries can also sideload apps directly from an app developer’s website. Developers must clear a few hurdles first before they can host their own apps:

  • They must be enrolled in the Apple Developer Program for at least two straight years.
  • They must have an app in the App Store with over a million first-time installs in the EU over the past year.
  • They must agree to Apple’s notarization process, which includes providing clear data collection policies.

Apps installed from developers’ websites can be backed up, restored, and updated like other iPhone apps.

7. MDM Solutions Can Enforce Betas

If you have a mobile device management (MDM) profile installed on your iPhone that your company updates remotely, or if you’re a mobile device manager for your organization, know that iOS 17.5 adds a way for admins to “enforce a beta version during automated device enrollment,” according to Aaron Perris, MacRumors contributor and support lead at Havoc Repo.

Missing Features

There are still a few features absent from iOS 17.5 that we’ve seen in previous beta builds. These include:

  1. Stopwatch Live Activity: Early builds of the iOS 17.4 beta gave us a sneak peek at a potential new Live Activity for Clock’s Stopwatch feature. It seemed to work OK, so it’s unclear why Apple removed it.
  2. Apple Music SharePlay: Early builds of the iOS 17.4 beta also included a SharePlay feature that enabled Apple Music SharePlay music controls on HomePod and Apple TV. The primary user would generate a QR code that friends and family could scan to join the SharePlay session on a HomePod or Apple TV.

Just updated your iPhone? You’ll find new emoji, enhanced security, podcast transcripts, Apple Cash virtual numbers, and other useful features. There are even new additions hidden within Safari. Find out what’s new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.4 update.

Cover photo, screenshots, and GIFs by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.