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

iOS 17.4 is currently in beta testing with developers and public beta users. It includes a number of major changes to the App Store and iPhone ecosystem in the European Union. Below we'll cover 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. Apple usually doesn't give us any hints about when a new version of iOS will be released, but this time things are a little different. That's because iOS 17.4 includes necessary changes to the iPhone and App Store required by the European Union's Digital Markets Act.

Apple's deadline to comply with the Digital Markets Act is March 6th. This means that Apple must release iOS 17.4 no later than March 6.

New features in iOS 17.4

Changes to the App Store in the EU

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

Additional changes in the European Union:

  • Support for browser engines other than WebKit .
  • New pop-up messages in Safari prompting users to choose a default browser.
  • Support for alternative payment methods for in-app purchases.
  • Ability to set default NFC and wallet apps for Apple Pay.

Here's our full overview of the changes coming to iOS 17.4 in response to reports from Digital Markets. Take action:

  • Apple announces support for third-party iPhone app stores in the EU, coming with iOS 17.4.
  • iPad users will lose the ability to use third-party app stores, browser engines, and more others.
  • Apple shares more details about the new default web browser prompt in iOS 17.4.
  • Apple will prompt users to set default browsers and allow third-party web engines on iPhones in the EU.
  • Apple announces reduction in fee structure for apps in Europe.
  • Apple now allows streaming apps games in the App Store.

Improving protection against stolen devices

iOS 17.4 includes a change to protect stolen devices. Users can now always request a security delay when changing security settings. Previously, the only option was to enable a delay away from familiar locations.

  • Learn more:  Apple is updating the anti-stolen device feature in iOS 17.4 beta with an option to always require a security delay.

Transcripts in Apple Podcasts

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

The Now Playing panel at the bottom of the Apple Podcasts app has also been updated in iOS 17.4 to match the panel's style “Now Playing” on Apple Music.

New emoji

iOS 17.4 includes seven new emoji:

  • Horizontal Head Shake
  • Vertical Head Shake
  • Phoenix Bird
  • Lime
  • Brown Mushroom
  • Broken Chain
  • li>

The image above gives a preview of these new emojis, courtesy of our friends at Emojipedia. iOS 17.4 also includes changes to family emoji, such as new combinations of family members.

Siri update

In iOS 17.4, Siri has been updated to support reading messages in additional languages, not just the language Siri has assigned to all other tasks. 

The new option is available in the “Settings” section > Siri & Search > Messaging with Siri. In the “READ MESSAGES” section, there is a new “Add a language…” button that offers a choice of different languages. 

  • Learn more: iOS 17.4 allows Siri to read. messages in additional languages, not just the primary language.

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 the Vision Pro. The new setting is designed specifically to avoid conflicts between Apple Watch and Apple Vision Pro when using gestures.

iOS 17.4 interesting facts

  • Apple rebranded the Listen Now feature in the Podcasts and Music apps; Home tabs use tabs instead.
  • In Safari, the address bar is slightly wider than in iOS 17.3.
  • In the Settings app, there's a new label in the “Identifiable Area” section ” Identifiable area.” General information» > About menu
  • The ability to say “Siri” instead of “Hey Siri” is now available in Germany.

Continuation?

At the moment, Apple has released only one official beta version of iOS 17.4. I expect there will be at least two or three more beta versions released between now and the official release of iOS 17.4 in March. It's possible that Apple has other changes planned for these new betas.

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

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