iOS 17.4 is now available – explore the six fresh features it introduces to your iPhone

Barely a month after the introduction of iOS 17.3, Apple has rolled out iOS 17.4, bringing with it some of the most significant updates ever seen in an iOS version. Notably, these changes are exclusive to the EU, where iPhone users can now explore third-party app stores, among other features.

But don’t worry if you’re not in the EU, there’s still a lot to look forward to. We’ve outlined the six most prominent features of iOS 17.4 below, which include the groundbreaking changes for EU users and enhancements that everyone can enjoy.

And if you’re unsure about how to get iOS 17.4, it’s quite straightforward. Simply navigate to Settings > General > Software update, and you should find the new update ready for download.

Source: Apple
  1. EU-Exclusive Access to Third-Party App Stores The most notable feature of iOS 17.4 is the ability to download apps from third-party marketplaces. This change, a response to new EU legislation, is exclusive to EU residents.

Interestingly, to access these third-party stores, not only must your Apple ID be set to a relevant region, but you must also physically be in the EU (though Apple notes that short-term trips elsewhere won’t block your access). This is presumably to prevent users from other regions from bypassing these regional restrictions.

In addition to third-party app stores, EU residents can now install web browsers using alternative browser engines (unlike other regions where all iOS browsers are essentially reskinned versions of Safari). You’ll also be able to manage your default browser the first time you open Safari.

Furthermore, alternative payment options are now available for some App Store apps, but this too is exclusively for EU resident

  1. Introduction of New Emoji A feature that everyone can enjoy is the addition of numerous new emoji in iOS 17.4. This includes a variety of symbols such as the mushroom, phoenix, lime, broken chain, and shaking heads emoji. Additionally, there’s a new capability to orient 18 existing people and body emoji in either direction.
  1. Apple Podcasts Transcripts iOS 17.4 introduces transcripts for Apple Podcasts, enabling you to follow along with episodes in English, Spanish, French, or German.

Additionally, you can search the transcript for a particular word or phrase and choose to play the episode from that point. This feature could be incredibly useful when you want to revisit a specific part of an episode.

Source: Apple
  1. Enhanced Stolen Device Protection With the introduction of iOS 17.4, the recently added Stolen Device Protection feature has been improved. You now have the option to activate a security delay (a delay before you can modify certain security settings) in all locations, not just when you’re away from familiar places.

  1. Detailed Battery Cycle Count Apple already provides battery health details on your iPhone. However, with iOS 17.4, if you own an iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, or iPhone 15 Pro Max, you can now access the battery cycle count, the manufacture date, and the first use date of the battery. This gives you a more comprehensive understanding of your battery’s usage history.

(Image credit: Apple)
  1. Upgrades to Siri Siri has become more intelligent with the release of iOS 17.4. You now have the option for Siri to read your messages in any supported language, without the need to alter the default language set for Siri. This means if you prefer your messages to be read out in a different language, this is now possible.

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