iOS 17.4 beta is finally here, shaking things up for both Europeans and global users. The update includes third-party app stores in the EU, podcast transcriptions, clearer Music navigation, and over 100 new emoji.
Beta 1 of iOS 17.4 is out now
The first beta of iOS 17.4 packs a punch, bringing with it a bunch of features and improvements that cater to both global and EU users, mandated by the Digital Markets Act (DMA).
1. EU-specific changes
- European users gain the freedom to explore third-party app stores, breaking the previous App Store monopoly.
- Over 600 new developer APIs introduced for a smooth and secure user experience.
- APIs enable innovative features such as new payment options, enhanced security measures, and exciting functionalities like contactless payments using NFC chips.
- Customizable default browsers and integration of third-party web engines are now possible with the introduced APIs.
- Apple opens the door to dedicated game streaming apps like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce NOW.
2. Podcasts, Music, and Stolen Device Protection improvements
- Podcasts app refreshed with a new dialogue box icon and episode transcription feature.
- Music app receives a cosmetic tweak, replacing “Listen Now” with a more intuitive “Home” button.
- Stolen Device Protection, introduced in iOS 17.3, now offers a continuous enablement option based on user requests.
- Multilingual Siri responses are included in the update.
- Streaming catalog app integration for gaming
3. New emoji
iOS 17.4 embraces over 100 new emoji characters, including a lime, phoenix, brown mushroom, and various expressive faces. These additions are part of the Unicode 15.1 recommendation, showcasing Apple’s commitment to keeping emoji options fresh and diverse.
4. Unreleased devices
Code sleuths have uncovered references to unreleased devices within the iOS 17.4 beta. Notably, a landscape camera for the iPad Pro and the mention of a third-generation Apple Pencil with Find My support hint at exciting hardware developments on the horizon.
Apple has not officially announced the launch date for iOS 17.4. However, the tech giant needs to comply with an EU ruling by March 8th, hinting at a possible release close to that deadline. Speculation centers around March 4th or 5th, making this update highly anticipated for users worldwide.