Apple Releases iOS 17.5 With Cross-Platform Tracking Detection

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Key Takeaways

  • Apple has released iOS 17.5 with cross-platform tracking detection.
  • It also lets EU users download apps from the web.
  • There are upgrades for macOS, watchOS, and other platforms.

Apple has released a host of updates including iOS 17.5, which adds both expected European app download changes and long-promised cross-platform tracking detection.

The iOS 17.5 upgrade can alert you to unknown Bluetooth trackers that are moving with you, even if they’re paired with an Android device. If it’s not yours, you can make the tracker play a sound and get instructions to disable it.

Google is implementing the equivalent feature in Android 6.0 and newer devices, so they can spot unwanted trackers that include Apple AirTags. The technology works with any tracker that uses the Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers (DULT) standard, including future models from Chipolo, Eufy, Jio, Motorola, and Pebblebee.

The standard was created after incidents with AirTags highlighted the privacy and safety issues linked to Bluetooth item trackers. Stalkers, thieves, and others could plant trackers on targets that would go undetected if the victim was using the ‘wrong’ platform. Both iOS 17.5 and Google’s Android update should make it harder to spy on users’ locations.

The update also lets European Union users download apps directly from the web, bypassing Apple’s App Store. Those titles need to be notarized by active developers, and creators will be charged €0.50 per year for every installation over 1 million. Still, this promises an important workaround for developers who either don’t like the App Store’s limitations or want to avoid Apple’s in-app purchasing fees.

The iOS 17.5 release, as well as macOS Sonoma 14.5, improves Apple News+ with an offline mode, a scoreboard for puzzles, and a new Quarterlies daily word game. WatchOS 10.5 is mainly a bug fix, but does add a new Pride Radiance face to go along with Pride Month this June.

There are also minor patches available for Apple TV (tvOS 17.5) and HomePod (Software 17.5).