What's coming to the Apple iPhone with iOS 17.4?

At the beginning of March 2024, Apple will roll out the update to iOS 17.4 for compatible iPhone models. This will be particularly exciting here in the EU, as the first iOS version will be released with the option to use alternative app stores and new contactless payment methods. But other innovations are also included in the update of the iPhone operating system. What has already been done so far from the various Beta versions is known, I have put it together for you in this post.

The Apple iPhone receives new functions with iOS 17.4: EU-specific changes such as app stores, app payment options, alternative offers for contactless payments and wallets, but also changes to podcasts, music, Siri, emojis, gaming, protection for stolen devices, etc .
The Apple iPhone receives new functions with iOS 17.4: EU-specific changes such as app stores, app payment options, alternative offers for contactless payments and wallets, but also changes to podcasts, music, Siri, emojis, gaming, protection for stolen devices, etc .

These changes in iOS 17.4 affect the EU

There are several major and minor changes within the European Union. The first consists of the option already mentioned at the beginning of downloading apps from other app stores. You no longer have to use Apple's own pre-installed App Store to install programs on the iPhone.

The second change concerns app payment. Both the purchase of an app and the payment of in-app purchases no longer have to be done via Apple's App Store. Developers can now also link to external purchasing and payment options. However, Apple combines both changes with a set of rules that are intended to make the changes unattractive for developers. More about it here:

A smaller, but also mandatory change that Apple only introduced reluctantly is the automatically displayed option to Setting a new default browser on iPhone. When you open the Safari app for the first time after updating to iOS 17.4, a selection of popular browser apps will be listed that you can choose from. 

In addition, Apple can no longer insist on using its WebKit engine and must allow others, such as Firefox's Gecko, Chrome's Blink or Opera's Presto. Previously, all browser versions for iOS had to work with WebKit.

Furthermore, the NFC chip (Near Field Communication) is finally being opened on the iPhone, which means that you can use it not only for Apple Pay and Apple's own wallet. Third-party providers and banks can now also use NFC communication with payment terminals and the “Tap to Pay” function of the iPhone with their app. In addition to expanded payment options, the use of alternative wallets is also possible - for example for digital keys, ID documents or other wallet contents.

Manually set familiar locations in Stolen Device Protection

Since iOS 17.3 You can set up protection for stolen devices on your iPhone. This ensures that certain changes are accompanied by a waiting period and a subsequent request for biometric data (i.e. Touch ID or Face ID). This ensures that stolen devices cannot be easily taken over by criminals, even if they know the unlock code.

However, the waiting time and double security query can be deactivated for “familiar places”. In iOS 17.3, these locations are still set automatically by the iPhone (they are places where you spend a lot of time and for a long time, for example your home or work). From iOS 17.4 you can also set the familiar places manually. You can find further details on the topic in this extensive article: Protection for stolen devices – How to use the iPhone feature!

Apple Podcasts app offers transcripts

If you are deaf and still don't want to miss the interview with this star or author, then from iOS 17.4 you can access the text version of the corresponding show episode in the Apple Podcasts app. The podcast transcripts can also help you find individual quotes more quickly, look up something that you didn't understand so well acoustically, or use a translator app to translate passages that you didn't understand into your native language due to a language barrier. So overall a good thing.

Siri can read incoming messages in multiple languages

In addition to the system language, Siri can now be equipped with a list of languages ​​that should be used to read out iMessage messages. As of iOS 17.4, you can now have chat content read out to you when communicating internationally.

Video game streaming via relevant apps

Previously, it was only possible to play video games rendered on servers on the iPhone and iPad via the websites of gaming streaming services. As of iOS 17.4 and iPadOS 17.4, Apple now allows you to use the apps from the respective providers. Offers like Xbox Cloud Gaming or Nvidia GeForce NOW should appear in the App Store from March.

Renamed the Listen Now tab to Music and Podcasts

The “Listen Now” tab in Apple’s Music app and Podcasts app becomes a “Home” tab. The play icon, which previously marked the tab in the toolbar, becomes a house.

New emojis from iOS 17.4

With the upcoming update of the iPhone operating system, new emojis will also be available on your device. These come from the Unicode update to version 15.1, which was already confirmed in September 2023:

  • Mushroom (cf. brown cap)
  • Phoenix
  • Broken link chain
  • Lime piece
  • “No” shaking of the head
  • “Yes” nod

Safari's address bar is getting wider

The address bar in which Safari displays the URL of the website being accessed will be a little wider.

SharePlay for HomePod

In addition to SharePlay in the car, there is also SharePlay for the home from iOS 17.4. If you use the Apple Music app on your iPhone to play music with the HomePod, you can open a QR code and have other people scan it with their iPhone or Android device. This gives them access to music selection and media controls even if they don't have an Apple Music subscription.

Preparing for new CarPlay features

References to new CarPlay content and functions have been found in the source code of the current beta versions of iOS 17.4. So there is e.g. B. new apps for setting car settings, accessing the car's rear view camera, displaying the charging status of electric vehicles, controlling air conditioning, heated seats, etc., checking doors, playing radio stations via FM , AM and Internet, for checking tire pressure, and finally an app with various usage data of the car, such as average speed driven, fuel or battery efficiency, total distance and distance of the last trip, etc.

However, these new apps won't be coming to CarPlay in March. It is assumed that the corresponding information in the upcoming iOS update only represents the preparation for a larger CarPlay update. This is scheduled to appear in 2024 and will probably only be available in the USA for the time being. We'll probably know exactly after WWDC24.Keynote in June. If there is already a report about this in the Apple newsroom, you will of course find out about it here in the blog.

Sources: 1, 2

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