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iOS 17.4 beta: all new features

by Julie Clover

Apple is working on a new iOS 17.4 update that brings some major changes to iPhones (and iPads) in Europe. Some of the biggest updates will only be available to users in the European Union, but iOS 17.4 also has many features available worldwide.


In this article we have collected all the new features of iOS 17.4.

EU Changes

Apple has made significant changes to how the App Store and apps operate in the European Union to comply with the Digital Markets Act. These changes are included in iOS 17.4, but are limited to countries within the European Union.

Alternative App Stores and New App Store Terms

App developers in the EU can offer alternative app stores or install their apps through alternative stores, and Apple has developed an entirely new fee structure to accommodate this change. Developers can choose a new business structure that applies to both apps distributed in the ‌App Store‌ and apps distributed through alternative means.

App developers using the new system will have to pay a standard fee of €0.50 per user per year, with the first million installations offered for free. Apps distributed through alternative app stores will not have any commission. Applications distributed through the ‌App Store‌ will pay a reduced fee of 17 percent or 10 percent for small business program members or for user subscriptions older than a year.

Developers can opt out of the new system and use the existing system for the same 15/30 percent fee available elsewhere in the world. Apple has a fee calculator that helps developers determine what they will pay on an existing setup, a new setup, a new setup using alternative app stores, and a new setup using the ‌App Store‌.

If desired, users can set their preferred alternative app store as the default app store on their device. EU users will see this option in the Settings app.

There are a ton of behind-the-scenes changes that enable this feature in the EU, including updates to all sorts of system messages. For example, users in the EU will receive a pop-up warning when an app from an alternative app store contains malware, and there will also be new screens for checking information from an alternative app.

The Screen Time setting will allow parents to decide whether their children's devices can install apps from alternative app stores.

Alternative payment methods

Apple also allows apps to use alternative payment methods in their apps, and there is no longer a need to use in-app purchases. Developers who distribute applications through the ‌App Store‌ and use an alternative payment method, receive a three percent discount in your ‌App Store‌ fees.

Developers who distribute through alternative applications and also use an alternative payment method will not pay any fees to Apple other than the established fee of €0.50 per user.

With alternative payments, digital purchases of goods and services can be created directly within the app, or the developer can choose to link to their website for the user to make a payment. Apple requires developers to use a reputable and secure payment provider.

Third-party browser updates

After updating to iOS 17.4, EU users will see a pop-up when opening Safari window allowing them to choose a new default browser from a list of the most popular browsers on iOS.

Apple also allows you to use an alternative browser. and will not limit browsers such as Chrome to the WebKit engine only.

NFC access

Third-party payment apps and banks have access to the NFC chip in the ‌iPhone‌ in iOS 17.4 and can offer contactless payments directly to ‌iPhone‌ without using Apple Pay or the Wallet app in the European Economic Area. Users can set a default contactless payment provider, which is activated on tap payment terminals or by pressing the side button on ‌iPhone‌ pressed twice.

The option to set a default contactless payment provider is available in the Settings app in the EU, and this section will also provide details of all apps that have requested and accessed contactless payments.

EU users can also change the default Wallet app to ‌iPhone‌.

Gaming app changes

Streaming apps Game transfers are now allowed in the ‌App Store‌ worldwide, meaning services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce NOW can be offered as separate ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌ apps.

Apple previously allowed only cloud gaming services to be offered over the Internet, but now special apps are allowed that allow users to stream games from servers.

Mini-apps, mini-games, chat -Bots and plugins can now also use the in-app purchase system.

New emoji

New emoji characters have been added to the iOS 17.4 beta. these include lime, edible brown mushroom, phoenix, broken chain, vertical head shake (as in “yes”), and horizontal head shake (“no”).

These emojis are part of Unicode 15.1 update, approved in September 2023.

Messaging with Siri

The Automatically send messages option under Siri and Search has been renamed to “Messages using ‌Siri‌”, and it became possible to install ‌Siri‌ read incoming messages in a specific language, such as Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and many others.

This change does not update the primary language in which ‌Siri‌ listens and responds, but is limited to playing messages.

Podcasts and music

The Listen Now tabs in Apple Music and Podcasts have been renamed to Home.

Podcast Transcripts

The Podcasts app is now offers transcripts, similar to how song lyrics work in ‌Apple Music&zwnj ; application.

Podcasts also use ‌Apple Music‌ The Now Playing panel collapsed.

Safari

The URL/search bar in Safari is now wider than before.

Stolen Device Protection

In the Stolen Device Protection section of the Settings app, you now have the option to require a security delay always or only when away from familiar locations.

Next-generation CarPlay support

Next-generation CarPlay is scheduled to launch late 2024 in the US, and code in iOS 17.4 is mentioned eight new ‌CarPlay‌ applications.

  • Car camera:This application will display the image from the car's rear view camera.
  • Payment: For electric vehicles, this application will display the battery level, charging status, time remaining until the battery is fully charged, and more other.
  • Climate: This application will provide access to the car's climate control in ‌CarPlay‌, allowing you to adjust the temperature of the air conditioning or heating system, fan speed, heated seats, heated steering wheel and more.
  • Closing:This application will display if any car door is open and can also display vehicle warning symbols.
  • Media:This app will give you access to FM and AM radio station controls in ‌CarPlay‌, as well as other media options such as SiriusXM. It's unclear whether SiriusXM will offer satellite connectivity or remain limited to internet streaming. Users will be able to choose from a list of music genres such as Top 40 and Rock.
  • Tire Pressure: This app will display the air pressure of each of the vehicle's tires. and warns of low and high pressure, as well as flat tire.
  • Driving: This application provides a variety of driving-related data, including average vehicle speed, fuel efficiency or energy efficiency, total time and distance traveled on the trip, and more.

An image in the iOS 17.4 beta shows that ‌CarPlay‌ a “Goodbye” screen will also likely be displayed after the driver turns off the vehicle.

SharePlay

SharePlay music control comes to HomePod and Apple TV running iOS 17.4 and tvOS 17.4. With this feature, the user's family and friends can control the music played on the ‌HomePod‌ or ‌Apple TV‌, if the user has granted permission.

The person who owns the ‌HomePod‌ or ‌Apple TV‌ must have ‌Apple Music‌ subscription, but the person shared with SharePlay can play music using ‌Apple Music‌ without subscription.

Connect to ‌HomePod‌ or ‌Apple TV‌ To use SharePlay, you can scan the QR code on your ‌iPhone‌ device owner. (for ‌HomePod‌) or ‌Apple TV‌. Users can connect to the device while in the same location or remotely.

Live Activity Stopwatch

iOS 17.4 adds Live Activity to the stopwatch feature on &zwnj ;iPhone‌. When activated through the Clock app, the stopwatch now appears on the dynamic island and lock screen.

There are controls for pausing the stopwatch, clearing it, and starting a new lap.

Apple TV app

The “How to watch” section in ‌Apple TV‌ The app that shows you where to watch a movie or TV show now has a list interface rather than a card interface.

App Store

Shopping function in ‌App Store‌ now displays purchase history for Apple ID across the entire account. This includes TV and movie purchases, music purchases, subscriptions, and app purchases. This is the same interface that is available when accessing purchase information for any ‌Apple ID‌.

Applications are still listed, but in a new Apps section.

Clock Widget

There is a new city digital clock widget that can be added to your Home screen or Lock Screen.

Release date

Apple will release iOS 17.4 in March, likely in the first week of the month.

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