New Features to Check Out in iOS 17.4

New Features to Check Out in iOS 17.4

Apple’s iOS 17.4 update dropped recently with some of the biggest changes we’ve ever seen the Cupertino company roll out in a single release and many of the updates are focussed on users in the European Union (EU) region. This does not mean that users in other regions have nothing to look forward to.


New Features to Check Out in iOS 17.4 - img01


Many of the changes for the EU market users have been forced on the company after a ruling by Europe’s stringent Digital Market’s Act (DMA). The DMA rulings force major tech companies to comply with specific norms to reduce the monopoly of big tech companies like Apple and others.


Some of the major changes in the iOS 17.4 update include the ability to sideload apps from third-party app stores, new emojis, the ability to choose a default browser, and numerous security fixes. We look at these changes and what it means for the end users.


Major Changes For European Union Users

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(Image source: Apple)


iOS 17.4 has introduced several changes for users in the EU. One of the most far reaching changes enables app developers to offer app installs from alternative app marketplaces.


Earlier, users could only download apps on their iPhone through the Apple App Store. To comply with the latest DMA rulings, Apple now allows users to download third-party apps onto their iPhones. Not only this, users can also download apps from alternative stores in addition to the Apple App Store.


You should note that your Apple ID should be set to a relevant region within the EU and you should also be physically located in the EU to access these third-party stores. A statement released by Apple noted that short-term trips elsewhere won’t block your access.


This ensures that only residents of the EU can have access to these features and prevents any circumvention.


Apple has built a new fee structure to accommodate these changes for developers to opt in to, which takes into account apps distributed via the Apple App Store and those that are downloaded from other sources. 


As per this new system, Apple will allow app developers to offer their app to the first million users for free, after which they will have to pay a fee of 0.50 euros per user per year. Apple will not charge any commission for apps distributed to users through alternative sources.


In addition to these terms, Apple will also charge a reduced commission of 17 percent, or 10 percent for those in the small business segment or for user subscriptions after the first year.


While these new changes have been put into effect, app developers can also choose to continue with the old system that charges the 15 or 30 percent commission everywhere else in the world.


Apple has provided a fee calculator that will help developers arrive at the exact amount they are expected to pay whichever option they choose — the existing plan, the new plan, with the new plan while they offer apps through alternative sources, and with the new plan using the Apple ‌App Store‌.


While Apple has made these apps available to users from multiple sources, they have also put in  a lot of work to make these apps as safe as possible for the end users. One such feature for EU users is a pop-up notification if Apple detects malware in an app downloaded from an alternative source.


Apple has also introduced a “Screen Time” setting to allow parents to decide whether their children’s devices can download apps from alternate sources.


Alternate Payment Options

Apple has also rejigged the payment features on their platform that allow app developers to give their end users more choices when it comes to the payment mode. The first and most significant change is to the “in-app purchases.”


  • Developers who use the Apple App Store for distribution but use alternate payment modes will get a three percent discount in their App Store fees.
  • Developers who neither use the Apple Store for distribution nor for payments will have to pay only the fixed fee of 0.50 euros per user per year.
  • For alternate payment modes, developers can ask their users to pay directly on the app or link to their website. Apple has mandated developers to use secure payment providers for these transactions.


Third-Party Browsers

iOS 17.4 now allows EU users to choose to set non-Safari browsers as default. Users will now see a pop-up on the Safari browser that asks them if they would like to set a new default browser and also show them a list of the most popular browsers in iOS.


NFC Access in the European Economic Area (EEA)

Third-party payment apps will now have access to the iPhone NFC chips. This will allow users to use contactless payments without using the Apple Pay of Wallet app only in the EEA.


You can choose a default payment app for all your contactless payments which will automatically detect point of sale (POS) terminals offering this payment mode or click on the side button twice to use this mode.


EEA users will see an option to choose their default contactless payment app under “Settings.” This section will also display all the apps that you use for contactless payments. iOS 17.4 will also give EEA users an option to change the default Wallet app.


Music Recognition At Another Level

Some of you may remember what Shazam was used for — identifying a song being played around you just by listening to it. One of Apple’s major decisions in recent years was to acquire Shazam and include its capabilities in its native operating system and dubbed it as “Music Recognition.” 


iPhone users are now starting to see the benefits of this acquisition by simply going to the Control Center or asking Apple’s AI voice assistant what song is being played.


Apple’s latest OS – 17.4 takes this feature to the next level and makes it more useful by allowing you to open the song and play it for you. You can even add the song to your Apple Music which saves it and saves you having to rack your mind to remember the track or search for it again at a later time.


Other New Features

New Emojis

If you’re bored of the emojis you use during your daily chats on your iPhone, you’re in luck. iOS 17.4 comes with over a 100 new emojis (118 to be precise!) that will help you express yourself in newer and better ways. With the latest update, Apple has also offered new variations of several existing emojis.

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(Image source: Apple)

Apple Podcast Transcripts

Users will now be able to read along with podcast episodes using the new transcripts feature. You can read these transcripts in 4 languages — English, Spanish, French and German.


You can also search these transcripts for specific terms and phrases and continue to listen to the podcast from that specific point — a very handy feature if you’re trying to go back to a particular point in the episode.


More Battery Details

Apple already provides quite a few details when it comes to tracking your device battery health. With iOS 17.4 on iPhone 15, 15 Plus, 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max, you can now check when your battery was manufactured and when it was first used, giving you a deeper insight into how yourn battery has been put to use.


Siri Enhancements

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(Image source: Apple)


Apple has made Siri smarter with the iOS 17.4 update. You can now use Siri to read your messages in any supported language without changing your default language.

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