iOS 17.5 and macOS Sonoma 14.5 update adds anti-tracking feature, offline support for News+

May 14, 2024

Apple has released the iOS 17.5, macOS Sonoma 14.5 and iPadOS 17.5 updates. The new software comes with a cross-platform anti-tracker feature, and improves the capabilities of the News app.

What's new in iOS 17.5, iPadOS 17.5 and macOS Sonoma 14.5 

Apple has improved its Find My app to add support for cross-platform Tracking Detection. The company has published an article, where it says the feature was developed in partnership with Google, to detect unwanted location trackers that may be used to stalk people. The anti-stalking feature will notify users when a Bluetooth tracker that they do not own is moving with them. The phone will detect the tracker regardless of the operating system that was used to pair with the tracker. Users can locate the tracker by playing a sound, and access instructions to disable it.

The new anti-tracking feature works on iPhones running on iOS 17.5 or above, and Android devices with Android 6.0 or above. It supports AirTag and third-party Find My network devices, along with Bluetooth trackers made by Chipolo, eufy, Jio, Motorola, and Pebblebee.

Security fixes

iOS 17.5 ships with 15 security fixes, while macOS Sonoma 14.5 has about 22 patches, none of which were related to any known exploited vulnerabilities. The macOS Ventura 13.6.7 and macOS Monterey 12.7.5 updates are also available now with 3 security fixes and 2 patches respectively. The Safari 17.5 update addresses a WebKit issue that could have allowed an attacker with arbitrary read and write capability to bypass Pointer Authentication. The update for the browser is available for Ventura and Monterey users.

iOS 16.7.8 and iPadOS 16.7.8 is now available for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPad 5th generation, iPad Pro 9.7-inch, and iPad Pro 12.9-inch 1st generation. The updates fix a couple of security issues related to Foundation and RTKit. Apple says that it was aware that the RTKit issue, tracked as CVE-2024-23296, may have been exploited by attackers who had arbitrary kernel read and write capability, to bypass kernel memory protections. The exploit which has been described as a memory corruption issue was addressed with improved validation

Offline mode in News+ app

The Apple News app has gained an Offline Mode, which lets you access certain articles while you are not connected to the internet. According to an announcement from the Cupertino company, News+ subscribers can access Top Stories, Apple News Today audio briefings, full magazine issues and narrated articles from News+ publishers, and puzzles. The app downloads the content automatically, and will refresh them when your device is back online.

Apple News+ costs $12.99 per month, and is only available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia.

Quartiles word game in News app

Apple has added a new original word game in its News app. It's called Quartiles. The game lets players pick tiles that contain a set of prefixes and suffixes, to create a word. You get points based on word length. The puzzles are refreshed every day, i.e. daily puzzles. Users can access the Puzzles Scoreboard to view personalized stats and streaks for each puzzle, this also shows your solve rate and longest streak.

That doesn't sound very original to me, it's more like anagrams that you see in crossword puzzles. The game is exclusively available for Apple News+ subscribers in the U.S. and Canada. Quartiles can be accessed from the app's Puzzles collection, along with the daily crossword and mini crossword.

Quartiles reminded me of Wordle, Spelling Bee, and Connections, all of which are available via the New York Times app. Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised if clones of Quartiles emerge on the App Store and the Play store.

Apple is likely focusing its efforts on iOS 18, which is expected to be unveiled at the Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC24), that is scheduled to be held on June 10th. The company is said to be working on bringing AI features to iOS 18, which are reportedly powered by OpenAI's ChatGPT.

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iOS 17.5 and macOS Sonoma 14.5 update adds anti-tracking feature, offline support for News+
Here's what's new in iOS 17.5, iPadOS 17.5 and macOS Sonoma 14.5.
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  1. John said on May 14, 2024 at 4:16 pm

    Well I hope this Sonoma release ends up being more stable than past ones. I will wait to see if these new updates are indeed stable or just more issues that will require more updates.

  2. John G. said on May 14, 2024 at 10:21 am

    Thank you @Ashwin for your always good articles about the MacOS world! :]

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