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iOS 17.4 Features: What’s New in iOS 17.4

by | Mar 7, 2024

Get ready for the newest update for iPhones and iPads in Europe! Apple has just released iOS 17.4, packed with exciting changes that will enhance your device experience. While some of the most significant improvements are specifically designed for users in the European Union, there are also fantastic new features for everyone around the world. In this comprehensive article, we’ll walk you through all the exciting additions and enhancements that iOS 17.4 brings to the table. Stay tuned to discover the latest and greatest in this highly anticipated update!

Exciting Features of iOS 17.4

1. Changes for EU Users

Apple is making some important changes to the way the App Store and apps work in the European Union in order to follow the rules of the Digital Markets Act. These changes are part of the iOS 17.4 update, but they only apply to countries in the European Union.

a) Alternative App Stores and New Terms (EU)

Changes for EU Users

For app developers in the EU, there’s now an option to offer alternative app stores or distribute their apps through other stores. Apple has also introduced a new fee structure for this change. Under the new system, developers will pay a standard fee of 0.50 euros per user per year, with the first million installs being free. Apps distributed through alternative app stores won’t have any commission, while those distributed through the App Store will pay a reduced 17 percent commission (10 percent for small business program or older user subscriptions).

Developers can choose to stick with the existing system, which has a 15/30 percent commission rate, if they don’t want to opt into the new system. Apple has a fee calculator to help developers determine their fees under different setups.

Users in the EU can select their preferred alternative app store as the default on their devices through the Settings app. Additionally, there will be system messaging updates to inform users about apps from alternative app stores, including warnings about malware and verification screens for app information.

b) Alternative Payment Options (EU)

Apple is now allowing apps to use alternative payment options, removing the requirement to use in-app purchase. Developers using alternative payment options will receive a three percent discount in their App Store fees. For apps distributed through alternative app stores and using alternative payment options, there will be no fees apart from the standard 0.50 euro fee per user.

With alternative payments, users can make purchases directly within an app or through a payment link to a developer’s website. Apple requires developers to use secure payment providers.

c) Third-Party Browser Updates (EU)

After updating to iOS 17.4, EU users opening Safari will see a pop-up allowing them to choose a new default browser from popular options available on iOS. Apple is also permitting alternative browser engines, expanding beyond WebKit.

d) NFC Access (EEA)

In the European Economic Area (EEA), third-party payment apps and banks now have access to the NFC chip on iPhones running iOS 17.4. This allows contactless payments without using Apple Pay or the Wallet app. Users can set a default contactless payment provider through the Settings app, and the section will provide details on apps granted access.

EEA users can also change the default Wallet app on their iPhones.

e) Web Apps (EU)

Initially, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) had limited functionality in the EU under iOS 17.4. However, due to negative feedback from EU users, Apple reversed its decision. Home Screen Web Apps will no longer be disabled, but they require WebKit. Web apps added from browsers that don’t support WebKit won’t work.

2. Changes to Gaming Apps (Available Worldwide)

Great news for gamers! The ‌App Store‌ now allows streaming game apps to be offered worldwide. This means popular services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce NOW can now have their own standalone apps for ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌.

Before, cloud gaming services were only accessible through web browsers, but now dedicated apps are allowed. These apps let you stream games directly from servers, giving you a seamless gaming experience.

But that’s not all! In addition to streaming games, mini games, chatbots, and plug-ins can now use the in-app purchase system. This means you can enjoy a variety of interactive features and enhance your gaming experience with ease.

3. New Emoji!

New Emoji

Get ready to express yourself with even more emoji options! In iOS 17.4, you’ll find some cool additions to the emoji family. Say hello to lime, a yummy brown mushroom, a majestic phoenix, a broken chain, and emojis for shaking your head up and down (like a “yes” nod) or side to side (for a “no” head shake).

That’s not all! There are also 18 people and body emojis that can now face in either direction, giving you more ways to represent yourself.

These awesome new emoji are part of the Unicode 15.1 update, which got the thumbs up in September 2023. So, get ready to spice up your conversations and have fun with the latest and greatest emoji offerings in iOS 17.4!

4. Chatting with Siri

Chatting with Siri

There’s a new name for the setting that handles sending messages automatically under Siri & Search. It’s now called “Messaging with ‌Siri‌.” Plus, there’s a cool feature that lets you choose the language for ‌Siri‌ to read your incoming messages in. You can pick from languages like Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and lots more.

It’s important to note that this change only affects how messages are played back by ‌Siri‌ and doesn’t modify the main language that ‌Siri‌ uses to understand and respond to your commands. So, you can enjoy personalized message playback without affecting your usual conversations with ‌Siri‌.

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5. Podcasts and Music Updates

Podcasts and Music Updates

There have been some changes to make things simpler in the Apple Music and Podcasts apps. The “Listen Now” tabs in both apps now have a new name: “Home.” This change makes it easier to find and access your favorite content.

In addition, when you collapse the Podcasts app, it now uses the ‌Apple Music‌ Now Playing bar. This means you can enjoy your podcasts with a familiar and convenient interface.

These updates aim to enhance your experience while enjoying music and podcasts, making it more user-friendly and enjoyable.

6. Podcast Transcripts for Easy Listening

Podcast Transcripts for Easy Listening

Listening to podcasts is now even more accessible with the latest feature in the Podcasts app. Just like how you can view song lyrics in the ‌Apple Music‌ app, now you can also access transcripts for podcasts. Transcripts show the spoken words of an episode and are highlighted in sync with the audio, so you can easily follow along.

The best part is that you can benefit from these transcripts in multiple languages. Currently, transcripts are available in English, Spanish, French, and German. Plus, you can search for specific words or phrases within the transcripts, making it super convenient to find the information you’re looking for.

With podcast transcripts, understanding and enjoying your favorite shows is made even simpler. So, dive into the world of podcasts and let the transcripts guide you through the episodes.

7. Adding Recognized Songs to Your Apple Music

When you use music recognition to identify a song, you can now easily add it to your Apple Music experience. Whether you want to include it in your playlists, add it to your Apple Music Library, or even in the Apple Music Classical section, the choice is yours.

This feature allows you to seamlessly integrate recognized songs into your Apple Music collection. So, when you come across a catchy tune and want to keep it close, simply use music recognition and enjoy it within your Apple Music world.

8. Enhanced Security for iMessage

 Enhanced Security for iMessage

Apple is stepping up the security game with the latest iOS 17.4 and iPadOS 17.4 updates. They have introduced a cutting-edge cryptographic protocol for iMessage called PQ3.

This new protocol, PQ3, is designed to protect your messages from a specific type of attack called “Harvest Now, Decrypt Later.” In this attack, a malicious person gathers encrypted data with the intention of decrypting it in the future using a powerful quantum computer. Regular encryption methods might be vulnerable to such attacks once quantum computers become more advanced. However, with PQ3, your messages are safe and secure, even against the computing power of future quantum machines.

Apple’s PQ3 protocol ensures that your iMessage conversations remain private and protected, giving you peace of mind while communicating with friends and family.

9. Battery Status on iPhone 15

Battery Status on iPhone 15

Apple has made some changes to the Battery interface in the Settings app for iPhone 15 models with the iOS 17.4 update. Now, you can easily check the health of your iPhone’s battery with a quick glance.

The Battery Health feature provides a readout that indicates the status of your battery. It shows a simple message like “Normal” to let you know if your battery is in good condition.

If you want more details, you can tap on the battery health readout. This will display information such as the battery cycle count, manufacture date, and the date it was first used. Previously, this information was tucked away in the General > About section of the Settings app.

In addition, Apple has updated the support information for the battery. Through extensive testing, they have found that the battery in the iPhone 15 can maintain 80 percent of its original capacity even after 1,000 complete charge cycles.

These updates provide you with valuable insights into your iPhone’s battery performance, helping you stay informed and ensuring your device continues to run smoothly.

10. Stolen Device Protection

Stolen Device Protection

In the Settings app, Apple has introduced a new feature called “Stolen Device Protection” in iOS 17.4. This feature allows you to add an extra layer of security to your device.

Within the Stolen Device Protection section, you now have the option to require a security delay. This means that when you unlock your device, there will be a delay before it becomes fully accessible. You can choose to have this delay always, regardless of your location, or only when you’re away from familiar places.

Apple has implemented this feature to provide users with the choice to enhance the security of their devices in any location. By adding a security delay, you can have peace of mind knowing that your device is protected even if it falls into the wrong hands.

With the Stolen Device Protection feature, you have greater control over the security of your device, making it harder for unauthorized individuals to access your personal information.

11. Live Stopwatch Activity

Live Stopwatch Activity

In iOS 17.4, the Stopwatch feature on your ‌iPhone‌ just got even better! Apple has added a new function called Live Activity to the Stopwatch, making it more convenient and accessible.

Now, when you open the Clock app and activate the Stopwatch, you’ll notice some cool changes. The Stopwatch will appear in the Dynamic Island, which means you can easily view and access it from your Home Screen. It will also show up on your Lock Screen, allowing you to keep track of time with just a glance.

With the Live Activity function, you have more control over the Stopwatch. You can pause it, clear the recorded time, and even start a new lap whenever you need to. These helpful controls make it easier to use the Stopwatch for various activities, whether it’s timing your workouts, monitoring your study sessions, or anything else that requires precise timing.

Enjoy the enhanced Stopwatch experience with the Live Activity feature in iOS 17.4, and make the most out of your time management needs.

12. Improved Call Identification

In iOS 17.4, call identification has been enhanced to provide you with more accurate and reliable information. Now, when you receive a call, your iPhone will display verified business names, logos, and even department names if that information is available.

This means that you can have a better idea of who is calling you, especially when it comes to important calls from businesses or organizations. The displayed information is verified by Apple, ensuring its authenticity and helping you make informed decisions about answering or rejecting calls.

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With this feature, you can easily identify calls from trusted sources and have more confidence in managing your incoming calls. Say goodbye to unwanted or unknown calls and enjoy a more secure and personalized calling experience with iOS 17.4.

13. Messages for Business

Messages for Business is a helpful feature that allows businesses to improve communication with their customers. With this feature, businesses can provide you with optional updates and information regarding your orders, flight details, fraud alerts, and other important transactions.

This means that you can receive timely notifications and updates directly through the messages app, making it more convenient to stay informed about your interactions with businesses. Whether you want to track your orders, receive flight updates, or stay alert about potential fraud, Messages for Business ensures that you receive the necessary information in a streamlined manner.

By opting in to this service, you can have better control over the information you receive and enjoy a more efficient and personalized experience when dealing with businesses. Messages for Business enhances communication and helps you stay connected with important updates regarding your transactions.

14. Improved Viewing Guide in the Apple TV App

Improved Viewing Guide in the Apple TV App

The Apple TV app has made a helpful change to the “How to Watch” section. Previously, when you wanted to know where to watch a specific movie or TV show, the app displayed a card-like interface. Well, now it has a list interface instead!

This means that when you browse through the “How to Watch” section, you’ll see a neat and organized list of options. This list will show you all the different platforms or services where you can find and watch the movie or TV show you’re interested in.

With the new list interface, it’s even easier to discover where you can access your favorite content. You can quickly scan the list and choose the most convenient option for you to enjoy your desired entertainment.

The Apple TV app continues to improve and enhance your viewing experience, making it simpler and more straightforward to find and watch your favorite movies and TV shows.

15. Easier Tracking of App Store Purchases

Easier Tracking of App Store Purchases

In the latest update, the ‌App Store‌ has made it simpler to keep track of your purchases. Now, the Purchase feature provides a comprehensive account-wide history of your Apple ID. This includes not only app purchases but also your TV and movie purchases, music purchases, and subscriptions.

To access this information, you can use the same familiar interface that you would use to check purchase details for any ‌Apple ID‌. The only difference is that apps now have their own dedicated section called “Apps” within the Purchase feature.

With this improvement, you can easily review your entire purchase history in one place, giving you a clear overview of your past transactions. Whether you’re looking for a particular app or want to see your media and subscription purchases, it’s all conveniently available within the ‌App Store‌.

Stay organized and keep track of your digital purchases with the enhanced Purchase feature in the ‌App Store‌.

16. New Widget for City Digital Clock

New Widget for City Digital Clock

Now you can add a cool City Digital Clock widget to your ‌Home Screen‌ or Lock Screen. This widget displays the time for different cities, allowing you to easily check the current time in your favorite places or different time zones.

With this widget, you can customize your ‌Home Screen‌ or Lock Screen with a stylish and functional clock that shows the time in different cities around the world. It’s a convenient way to stay updated with the time in multiple locations, whether you have friends or family in different time zones or you simply want to keep track of time in your favorite cities.

Make your ‌Home Screen‌ or Lock Screen more personal and informative by adding the City Digital Clock widget. It’s a great way to stay connected to different time zones and always be aware of the time, no matter where you are.

17. Virtual Card Numbers for Apple Cash Users

Virtual Card Numbers for Apple Cash Users

If you’re an Apple Cash user, there’s a handy feature in the Wallet app that lets you generate virtual card numbers for making purchases when ‌Apple Pay‌ isn’t available.

With this feature, you can create temporary card numbers that you can use for online or in-store purchases when ‌Apple Pay‌ isn’t an option. These virtual card numbers are linked to your Apple Cash account, allowing you to make secure transactions without revealing your actual credit or debit card information.

This is especially useful in situations where a retailer or website doesn’t accept ‌Apple Pay‌ as a payment method. Instead of using your physical cards, you can generate a virtual card number within the Wallet app and use it for your purchase.

By using virtual card numbers, you can enjoy the convenience of Apple Cash for a wider range of transactions, ensuring your payment information stays protected while making purchases.

18. Improved Integration of Budget Apps with Apple Card, Apple Cash, and Apple Savings

In the latest iOS 17.4 update, Apple has made it even easier for third-party budget apps to access real-time information about your Apple Card, Apple Cash, and Apple Savings accounts. This means that these budget apps can now provide you with up-to-the-minute reporting on your transactions, helping you stay on top of your budget more effectively.

With this improved integration, you can connect your favorite budget app to your Apple Card, Apple Cash, and Apple Savings accounts. The budget app will then have access to the most recent transaction data, allowing it to provide you with accurate and timely updates on your spending and savings. Also read How to Use Apple Pay on iPhone | 2024.

By having real-time information available, you can make more informed decisions about your finances and have a clearer understanding of your budget. This integration makes it easier for you to track your expenses, monitor your savings, and stay in control of your financial goals.

With the enhanced integration of budget apps with Apple Card, Apple Cash, and Apple Savings, managing your money becomes more seamless and convenient. Stay on top of your budget with real-time reporting, helping you make smarter financial choices.

19. Disabling Hand Gesture Reactions in Video Apps

Disabling Hand Gesture Reactions in Video Apps

In iOS 17.4, developers now have a new tool called an API that allows them to disable hand gesture reactions in video calls. In previous versions, there were default gesture reactions that would occur in all video calling apps, which sometimes led to awkward moments during serious calls when users made certain hand movements.

This became a concern for professionals like online therapists who had to explicitly mention this feature and its potential disruptions. Unfortunately, there was no way for them to disable the reactions on their end. However, with iOS 17.4 and macOS Sonoma, developers now have the ability to turn off certain effects like fireworks and confetti in their apps.

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Users already had the option to disable reactions on their iPhones, iPads, and Macs through the Settings app. Now, with the new API, developers can also provide this option within their apps, giving users more control over the presence of hand gesture reactions during video calls.

This update aims to make video calls more professional and suitable for serious discussions, ensuring that hand gestures do not accidentally trigger distracting visual effects.

20. New Option for Siri Activation

In iOS 17.4, there’s a new feature that allows French, German, and Spanish speakers to use the phrase “‌Siri‌” instead of “Hey ‌Siri‌” to activate their virtual assistant.

Now, instead of saying “Hey ‌Siri‌,” you can simply say “‌Siri‌” to get your virtual assistant’s attention. This change provides more convenience and flexibility for those who prefer a shorter phrase to interact with ‌Siri‌.

Whether you’re asking for information, setting reminders, or getting directions, you can now activate ‌Siri‌ by simply saying its name in French, German, or Spanish.

Enjoy a more streamlined way to interact with ‌Siri‌ using the “‌Siri‌” command in iOS 17.4, making it easier and faster to get the assistance you need.

21. Improved Apple Maps Integration in CarPlay Instrument Cluster

Improved Apple Maps Integration in CarPlay Instrument Cluster

If you have a supported CarPlay vehicle, there’s an exciting update that enhances the way Apple Maps displays turn-by-turn directions. Now, you have the option to view upcoming maneuvers right in your instrument cluster.

When using CarPlay, you can choose to show the turn-by-turn information on the main Maps screen or on the instrument cluster display. To switch between these display options, simply tap on the map configuration button located in the upper right corner of the main Maps screen.

This feature is available in vehicles that support the dual-screen Apple Maps CarPlay experience. So if you’re driving a Volvo S60, for example, you can take advantage of this functionality.

With this update, you can have a more convenient and customizable navigation experience while driving. By displaying turn-by-turn information in the instrument cluster, you can keep your eyes on the road and easily stay informed about upcoming maneuvers.

Enjoy the enhanced integration of Apple Maps and CarPlay in vehicles that support the dual-screen experience, making your driving experience safer and more convenient.

22. Exciting Updates Coming to Next-Generation CarPlay

In the near future, there will be a new and improved version of CarPlay launching in the United States. This next-generation CarPlay, which is expected to arrive later in 2024, will come with some exciting features. References in the code of iOS 17.4 provide details about eight new CarPlay apps that will be available.

  • Car Camera: This app will show you the live feed from your vehicle’s rear-view camera, giving you a clear view of what’s behind you.
  • Charge: This app is specifically designed for electric vehicles. It will display important information like your battery level, charging status, and estimated time remaining until your battery is fully charged.
  • Climate: With this app, you’ll have easy access to your vehicle’s climate controls right within CarPlay. You can adjust the temperature, fan speed, and even control features like heated seats and a heated steering wheel.
  • Closures: This app will let you know if any of your vehicle’s doors are open. It may also display warning symbols related to your vehicle’s condition.
  • Media: This app will allow you to control FM and AM radio stations, as well as other media options like SiriusXM. You can choose from various music genres, such as Top 40 and Rock.
  • Tire Pressure: This app will show you the air pressure for each of your vehicle’s tires. It will also provide warnings if the pressure is too low, too high, or if there’s a flat tire.
  • Trips: This app will provide you with helpful driving-related data, such as your average speed, fuel efficiency or energy efficiency, total time elapsed, and distance traveled on a trip.

Furthermore, an image found in the iOS 17.4 beta suggests that CarPlay will display a “Goodbye” screen after you turn off your vehicle.

These new features will enhance your CarPlay experience, making it more convenient and informative. Stay tuned for the launch of next-generation CarPlay and enjoy these exciting updates.

23. Fixing Bugs in iOS 17.4

In the latest iOS 17.4 update, there are two important bug fixes that address specific issues.

  • The first bug fix deals with a problem that caused contact images to appear blank in the Find My app. This issue has been resolved, so you should now be able to see the contact images without any trouble.
  • The second bug fix addresses a Dual SIM problem. Previously, there was an issue where the number used in a group message could unexpectedly change from the primary SIM card to the secondary one. This problem has been fixed, ensuring that the correct number is used consistently in group messages.

These bug fixes aim to improve the overall performance and functionality of your iOS device. By resolving these issues, you can have a smoother and more reliable experience when using the Find My app and participating in group messages.

Make sure to update to iOS 17.4 to take advantage of these bug fixes and enjoy a more optimized and trouble-free user experience.

24. Important Security Updates

In the latest iOS 17.4 and iPadOS 17.4 updates, there are several security improvements that you should be aware of. These updates specifically address vulnerabilities that could potentially be used by attackers to gain unauthorized access to user devices.

Apple has taken steps to patch two vulnerabilities that may have been actively exploited. One of these vulnerabilities is related to RTKit, while the other is associated with WebKit. By fixing these vulnerabilities, Apple aims to protect your device and ensure that it is not compromised by malicious actors.

To ensure the security of your device, it is highly recommended that you update to iOS 17.4 or iPadOS 17.4 as soon as possible. By installing these updates, you can benefit from the security enhancements and minimize the risk of potential attacks.

Keeping your device up to date with the latest software versions is an important practice to maintain a secure environment. Apple’s prompt response to these vulnerabilities emphasizes their commitment to user safety and security.

Take the necessary steps to update your device and enjoy a more secure and protected user experience. Also read iOS 17 Hidden Features You Should Try Right Now.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the iOS 17.4 and iPadOS 17.4 updates offer valuable enhancements to the security and functionality of your Apple device. By updating to these latest versions, you can experience improved performance, bug fixes, and strengthened protections against potential vulnerabilities. It’s highly recommended to update your device promptly to ensure you can enjoy the full benefits of these advancements.

We would love to hear from you about your experience with the iOS 17.4 and iPadOS 17.4 updates. Did you notice any notable improvements in your device’s performance? Have the bug fixes resolved any issues you were facing? Please share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.

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