Apple issues its fourth round of developer betas

in iOS

The fourth round of developer betas for Apple's current operating systems has arrived, with new builds of iOS 17.5 and others now available for testing.

iOS 17
iOS 17

Developers taking part in Apple's beta program can get the latest builds from the Apple Developer Center or by simply updating their iPhone or iPad that are already running the betas, using the Settings app. Public beta versions generally appear not long after the developer versions, and can be signed up to via the Apple Beta Software Program website.

The fourth betas for iOS 17.5, iPadOS 17.5, tvOS 17.5, watchOS 10.5, and macOS Sonoma 14.5 arrive after the third from April 23. The second round was distributed on April 16, and the first surfaced on April 2.

The third iOS and iPadOS 17.5 betas have build number 21F5073b, taking over from the third, 21F5063f, while the fourth build of tvOS 17.5 and HomePod Software 17.5 is build number 4 21L5567a, replacing 21L5558d.

The fourth watchOS 10.5 developer beta build is number 21T5571a, up from 21T5560d, and macOS Sonoma 14.5's new build is number 21O5580a, versus last week's 23F5064f.

Alongside the mainline release betas, there are new release candidates for macOS Monterey 12.7.5 and macOS Ventura 13.6.7 also.

The third developer beta cycle didn't offer any new public-facing features, and the fourth betas aren't likely to either. They did make some bug fix changes and behind-the-scenes alterations, though.

The second beta of iOS 17.5 added Apple's Web Distribution system, designed to allow authorized developers to distribute their iOS apps to EU iPhones directly using their website, instead of a storefront. Apple supplies access to APIs to handle online distribution, system functionality integration, backup and restoration, and other functions.

Apps to be offered via Web Distribution must also meet Apple's requirements for notarization, like other iOS apps, with the domain name the app will be installed from registered in App Store Connect.

The beta also fixed an unexpected bug in iOS 1.4.1 that displayed the Palestinian flag in the keyboard's auto-suggestions when users typed in "Jerusalem" into iMessage. After the beta, the flag stopped being displayed in the suggestion box.

The initial beta for iOS 17.5 included code references to enable the side-loading of apps in the European Union, following the introduction of the Digital Markets Act. This included code references to Web Distribution.

There were also mentions first beta code of an expansion to anti-stalking measures for AirTags.

Outside of these, there were relatively few user-visible changes in the beta. What was found included adjustments to the Podcasts widget, and charging information changes under Settings.

AppleInsider and Apple strongly suggest users don't install test operating systems or other beta or RC software on "mission-critical" or primary devices, as there is the small chance of issues that could result in the loss of data. Testers should instead use secondary or non-essential hardware and ensure they have sufficient backups of their critical data at all times.

Find any changes in the new builds? Reach out to us on Twitter at @AppleInsider or @Andrew_OSU, or send Andrew an email at [email protected].

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