February 27, 2024

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iOS 17.4 is coming next month: here's everything new so far

iOS 17.4 is coming next month: here's everything new so far

iOS 17.4 is currently in beta testing with developers and public beta users. It comes with a number of major changes to the App Store and the EU iPhone ecosystem. Head below as we recap everything new in iOS 17.4, whether you live in the EU or elsewhere.

When will Apple release iOS 17.4?

iOS 17.4 is scheduled to be released in the first week of March. Usually, Apple doesn't give us any hint about when a new version of iOS will be released, but things are a little different this time. This is because iOS 17.4 includes the necessary changes to the iPhone and App Store required by the EU Digital Markets Act.

Apple's deadline to comply with the Digital Markets Act is March 6. This means Apple has to release iOS 17.4 on or before March 6.

New features in iOS 17.4

Changes to the EU App Store

One of the biggest changes included in iOS 17.4 is support for alternative app markets for the first time. With this update, companies like Epic Games will be able to create their own app marketplaces for iPhone users.

More changes in the European Union:

  • Support for browser engines other than WebKit
  • A new pop-up message in Safari asks users to choose a default browser
  • Support alternative payment methods for in-app purchases
  • Ability to set NFC apps and virtual wallet for Apple Pay

Here's a summary of our full coverage of the changes coming as part of iOS 17.4 in response to the Digital Markets Act:

Improved stolen device protection

iOS 17.4 includes a change to protect stolen devices. Now, users can choose to always require a security delay when changing security settings. Previously, the only option was to activate the delay when you were away from familiar locations.

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Transcripts in Apple Podcasts

By far my favorite change in iOS 17.4 is text support in Apple Podcasts. These transcripts are automatically generated by Apple and are available shortly after the episode is published. The interface is similar to Apple Music's real-time lyrics feature. There is support for text searching, clicking on specific words and jumping to that part of the episode, and much more.

The Now Playing bar at the bottom of the Apple Podcasts app has also been redesigned with iOS 17.4, matching the Now Playing bar style in Apple Music.

New emojis

There are seven brand new emojis included in iOS 17.4:

  • Shake head horizontally
  • Shake head vertically
  • phoenix bird
  • Lime
  • Brown mushroom
  • Broken chain

The image above gives a preview of these new emojis, courtesy Our friends at Emojipedia. There are also changes to the family emoji included in iOS 17.4 as well, such as new groups of family members.

Upgrade Siri

Siri has been upgraded in iOS 17.4 with support for reading messages in additional languages, not just the custom language Siri uses for all other tasks.

The new option is available in Settings > Siri & Search > Messaging with Siri. Under the Read Messages section, there's an Add New Language… button that prompts you for a set of language options.

Vision Pro

watchOS 10.4 and iOS 17.4 include a new toggle for Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 users that can disable Double Tap when you're wearing Vision Pro. The new setting is specifically to avoid conflict between Apple Watch and Apple Vision Pro when gesturing.

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iOS 17.4 Tidbits

  • In the Podcasts and Music apps, Apple has renamed the Listen Now tabs to Home tabs instead.
  • In Safari, the address bar is slightly wider than it was in iOS 17.3.
  • In the Settings app, there's a new Selectable Area label in the General > About menu.
  • The ability to say “Siri” instead of “Hey Siri” has expanded to Germany.

More is coming?

So far, Apple has released only one official beta of iOS 17.4. I expect at least two or three more betas to be released between now and the official release of iOS 17.4 in March. It's possible that Apple has more changes planned for these new betas.

What are you most excited to experience in iOS 17.4? Let us know in the comments.

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