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 iPhone ecosystem in the European Union. 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 set for a release in the first week of March. Usually, Apple doesn’t give us any hint as to when a new version of iOS is coming, but things are a bit different this time around. This is because iOS 17.4 includes the necessary changes to the iPhone and the App Store required by the Digital Markets Act in the European Union.

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 App Store in the EU

One of the biggest changes included in iOS 17.4 is support for alternative app marketplaces for the first time. With this update, companies such as 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 messages in Safari that will ask users to choose a default browser
  • Support for alternative payment methods for in-app purchases
  • The ability to set default NFC and wallet apps for Apple Pay

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

Stolen Device Protection improvement

iOS 17.4 includes a change for Stolen Device Protection. Now, users can choose to always require a security delay when changing security settings. Previously, the only option was to enact the delay when away from familiar locations. 

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 available shortly after an episode is published. The interface is similar to the real-time lyrics feature in Apple Music. There’s support for searching in transcripts, tapping on specific words and jumping to that part of the episode, and much more.

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

New emoji

There are seven brand new emojis included in iOS 17.4:

  • Head Shaking Horizontally
  • Head Shaking Vertically
  • Phoenix Bird
  • Lime
  • Brown Mushroom
  • Broken Chain

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

Siri upgrade

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

The new option is available in Settings > Siri & Search > Messaging with Siri. Under the READ MESSAGES section, there’s a new Add Language… button that prompts of range 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 a conflict between the Apple Watch and Apple Vision Pro when gesturing.

iOS 17.4 tidbits

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

More to come?

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

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

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