Apple Has a Killer New Word Game Puzzle Called Quartiles Hiding on iOS 17.5 « iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

Apple’s next software update, iOS 17.5, is relatively minor. Still, it includes one killer new feature for people who like word games: another lexical challenge to complement the crossword puzzles that Apple News already has.

Apple introduced its new Puzzles section to the Apple News app last year for iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS 14 Sonoma, giving News+ subscribers two daily puzzles to play: Crossword and Crossword Mini. Starting in iOS 17.5, iPadOS 17.5, and macOS 14.5 Sonoma, all currently in beta, News+ subscribers are also getting a new game: Quartiles.

If you know anything about statistics, you’d know that quartiles divide a dataset into four equal parts, each containing 25% of the data. They help to understand the distribution of a dataset and identify central tendencies and variations within it. If you apply the basic concept — splitting something into four roughly equal sections — to a word, you get a fun but challenging word game.

To play, head to the Following tab, tap “Puzzles,” and open one of the daily games. You’ll start with a tutorial when you first open a Quartiles word puzzle on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. It explains that one part of a word is a tile and that you can use one to four tiles to form words.

You start with 20 tiles in a grid and combine them to form words of one, two, three, or four tiles. Each puzzle has five quartiles, each of which gives you 8 points. Find all five to net a 40-point bonus for a total of 80 points. You also get one point for one-tile words, two for two-tile words, and four for three-tile words.

After you build a word on the Quartiles board, tap the checkmark button to score it. If it’s not a valid word, it will tell you. You can use a shuffle button to scramble the tiles, giving you a fresh perspective.

Your total score for the game shows above the words found, a list you can expand to view what words you’ve already put together. To see your current rank for the game, tap the ellipsis (•••) button and choose “Rankings.” Each game has five tiers ranging from 0 to 100 points.

If you’re like me, you’d like to find all five quartiles first, then move on to the smaller words. But you can go in any order. Once you reach Top Rank with 100 points, you can continue playing to earn even more points.

Once you solve all five Quartiles, you can no longer shuffle the tile grid to help you locate more words to build. However, you can tap the Quartiles button, which looks like two bars, to disable the Quartiles view so that you can shuffle again.

Tap the ellipsis (•••) button to find more options, like “How to Play,” which opens the tutorial again, and “Reveal All Words,” which does just what it says. However, according to the confirmation prompt: “Revealing all words completes the puzzle and excludes it from stats in the Scoreboard. A new streak will not start.”

From the Quartiles homepage, tap the Leaderboards icon to see the Daily Score and compare your numbers against those of your friends or global users. You can also use the drop-down menu to see the previous Leaderboards on Game Center.

You can play Quartiles puzzles offline with iOS and iPadOS 17.5’s new automatic downloads option for puzzles in the settings for Apple News. These automatic downloads include crosswords too. Turning it off will turn it off for all puzzles.

In-progress Quartiles puzzles will show up on your other Apple devices running older software, but you’ll be instructed to update to iOS 17.5, iPadOS 17.5, or macOS 14.5 if you try to open them.


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