iOS 17.5 helps detect unwanted Bluetooth tracking tags


What's new in iOS 17.5
The iOS 17.5 update includes a new word game, additional alerts for tracking tags, fresh Pride wallpapers and more.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The new iOS 17.5 update brings cross-platform tracking notifications for unwanted Bluetooth trackers plus a new Quartiles spelling game and an Offline Mode for Apple News+ subscribers, Apple said Monday.

And that’s in addition to the new Pride and Unity Lock Screens and Apple Watch faces we can expect. As far as other Apple OS updates go, macOS 14.5 got compatibility with Apple News+ features and bug fixes, watchOS 10.5 incorporates new Pride updates and the rest are performance and stability updates.

iOS 17.5: Cross-platform tracking notifications, Apple News+ Quartiles spelling game and Offline Mode, plus Pride updates

Cross-platform tracking notifications

In Monday’s new iOS 17.5 update, Apple said Cross-Platform Tracking Detection notifies users about compatible Bluetooth trackers follow their movements. The iPhone giant collaborated with Google on a new industry specification called Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers. iOS 17.5 and Android 6.0+ will both bring the functionality.

Here’s how Apple’s iOS 17.5 release notes describe it:

Cross-Platform Tracking Detection delivers notifications to users if a compatible Bluetooth tracker they do not own is moving with them, regardless of what operating system the device is paired with.

In such cases, users will now get an “[Item] Found Moving With You” alert on their device. Apple further stated:

If a user gets such an alert on their iOS device, it means that someone else’s AirTag, Find My accessory or other industry specification-compatible Bluetooth tracker is moving with them. It’s possible the tracker is attached to an item the user is borrowing, but if not, iPhone can view the tracker’s identifier, have the tracker play a sound to help locate it, and access instructions to disable it. Bluetooth tag manufacturers including Chipolo, eufy, Jio, Motorola and Pebblebee have committed that future tags will be compatible.

Apple News+ updates

iOS 17.5 updates
The new Quartiles spelling game and Offline Mode come to Apple News+ subscribers.
Photo: Apple

Last month we wrote about the new, original Quartiles spelling game coming to Apple News+ subscribers with iOS 17.5 (and macOS 14.5). Apple said Monday a new Offline Mode will join it, allowing subscribers to access recent and personalized news content even without a Wi-Fi or cellular connection.

“We’re always working to improve the experience for our News+ subscribers,” said Lauren Kern, editor-in-chief of Apple News.

“Our new daily word game Quartiles is a fun addition to our popular crossword offerings. And Offline Mode makes it easy to access the hundreds of magazines, newspapers, narrated articles and more included in a News+ subscription — no matter where you are,” she added.

Quartiles game

Quartiles challenges players to form words by selecting tiles containing two to four letters. And users collect points based on word length. Like with the existing crossword puzzles, new Quartiles puzzles come out each day. And players can also choose to share a Quartiles puzzle with other News+ subscribers.

Quartiles joins the daily crossword puzzle and a mini crosswork puzzle added to the Puzzles collection in iOS 17. A new Scoreboard in iOS 17.5 and macOS 14.5 will add player stats for the games.

Offline Mode

Also with iOS 17.5, Apple News+ subscribers get Offline Mode on iPhone and iPad. It automatically downloads Top Stories, Apple News Today audio briefings, full magazine issues, narrated articles from News+ publishers and puzzles to access later without Wi-Fi or a cellular connection.

When the device is back online, downloaded content will automatically refresh, and downloads will be optimized to maximize space on the device, Apple said.

Apple Pride Collection updates

Apple Pride Collection
For the first time, you can customize Apple Pride Collection new watch face and wallpapers.
Photo: Apple

New iOS, iPadOS and watchOS updates will bring new Apple Pride Collection updates from Apple, as well. They include an Apple Watch face to go with the new Apple Watch Pride Edition Braided Solo Loop, plus dynamic iOS and iPadOS wallpapers “as a way to champion global movements to protect and advance equality for LGBTQ+ communities,” Apple said recently.

The new watch face and wallpapers will allow user customizability for the first time in watchOS 10.5, enabling color selection.

Install the iOS 17.5 update

To install the new update on your iPhone, open Settings and select General > Software Update and click Update Now. Enter your passcode when prompted. Your device will restart after the download completes.

Other new software updates from Apple include macOS 14.5 (new Apple News+ features and bug fixes), macOS Ventura 13.6.7 and macOS Monterey 12.7.5 (security updates), watchOS 10.5 (Pride watch face and bug fixes), HomePod 17.5 (stability and performance improvements) and tvOS 17.5 (minor performance upgrades and bug fixes).

Source: Apple


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