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Apple's new release candidates betas arrive for everything but Mac and Apple Vision Pro

iOS 17

Apple's release candidate beta round arrived on Tuesday for iOS, iPadOS, watchOS and tvOS are release candidates, but macOS is conspicuously absent so far.

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 release candidates for iOS 17.5, iPadOS 17.5, tvOS 17.5, watchOS 10.5, and macOS Sonoma 14.5 turn up after the fourth betas, which Apple brought out on April 30. The third round was on April 23, the second on April 16, and the first surfaced on April 2.

The release candidates of the iOS and iPadOS 17.5 betas have build number 21F79, taking over from the fourth, 21F5073b, while the RC builds of tvOS 17.5 and HomePod Software 17.5 are build number 21L569, replacing 21L5567a.

The RC of watchOS 10.5 is build number 21T575, replacing 21T5571a. Apple's macOS Sonoma remains on beta 4, with build number 21O5580a.

The third and fourth developer beta cycle didn't really offer any real public-facing feature changes. However, they did include bug fix changes and performance improvements.

The second beta of iOS 17.5 included Apple's Web Distribution system, allowing authorized developers to distribute iOS apps to EU iPhones directly via website instead of a storefront. Apple provides access to APIs to deal with online distribution, system functionality integration, backup and restoration, and other functions.

Any apps that will ship via Web Distribution must also meet Apple's existing requirements for notarization, just like other iOS apps included in the App Store. The domain name the app will be installed from must also be registered in App Store Connect.

The betas 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 some code referencesto Web Distribution and other items to enable the side-loading of apps in the European Union, following the introduction of the Digital Markets Act.

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

Outside of these, there were relatively few user-visible changes in the betas. 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].