Apple iOS 17.4 features rumors – what do we know so far?

What's new in iOS 17 with its .4 update?

Apple iOS 17.4 features rumors - what do we know so far? Image shows the iOS 17 logo next to a black question mark on a navy blue gradient background.

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Apple is gearing up to release the next installment of iOS 17, so we’re here to unpack the iOS 17.4 features rumors and spill what we know about this update’s exciting new capabilities. While some of the major changes are specific to the European Union (EU), there are plenty of updates that will be available to iPhone and iPad users around the world. The public beta teased the host of new emojis, access to game streaming apps, and advancements to Apple Pay that the full launch will bring, so here’s a bit more of what you can expect out of the new iOS following the iOS 17.4 release date.

What are the new features coming in Apple iOS 17.4?

Some of the expected features in iOS 17.4 include:

EU changes

Apple has made notable changes to the way the App Store and apps operate within the European Union as part of its compliance with the Digital Markets Act. This includes opening up iOS to alternative app marketplaces, with users in the EU able to change their preferred store to the default app store if they want to. This increased accessibility extends to the ability to download apps from outside the App Store too. While these changes are included in iOS 17.4, they are unfortunately limited to countries within the EU market, and there’s not yet any word on whether the changes will be made globally.

Third-party browser updates

iOS 17.4 also introduces a new feature for EU users who open Safari: they will now see a pop-up that allows them to choose a new default browser option from a list of popular alternative browser engines available on iOS. Additionally, Apple is no longer limiting alternative browsers like Chrome to the WebKit engine.

Cloud gaming apps

One upgrade that will be brought to the worldwide audience is that standalone cloud gaming apps are now allowed on the App Store. This means that cloud streaming apps previously only offered via web can now be natively downloaded: essentially, apps including Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce now benefit from better support. What’s more, not only can they be natively downloaded, but chatbots, plug-ins, mini-apps, and mini-games should now be able to use the in-app purchase system.

New emoji

iOS 17.4 introduces a range of new emoji characters as part of the Unicode 15.1 update approved in September 2023. Users can expect to see over 100 new additions including a slice of lime, an edible brown mushroom, a phoenix, a broken chain, and shaking head gestures for both vertical and horizontal movements.

Podcast App transcripts

Similar to how lyrics are displayed in the Apple Music app, Podcasts will now have transcripts detailing the verbal content of each show or episode. These can be generated by Apple, but creators will have the option to upload their own episode transcript.

Messaging with Siri

The iOS 17.4 update also brings changes to Siri’s messaging capabilities. The “Automatically Send Messages” setting under Siri & Search has been renamed “Messaging with Siri.” Moreover, users now have the option to set Siri to read incoming messages in different languages, such as Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and more. It’s important to note that this change does not affect Siri’s primary language for other tasks and is limited to message playback.

Stolen device protection

One of the other Apple iOS 17.4 features introduces a new option in the Stolen Device Protection section of the Settings app. Users can now choose to require a security delay always or only when away from familiar locations. This feature enhances the security of devices and provides users with more control over their stolen devices, through methods including needing Face ID or Touch ID with no passcode fallback to perform certain security actions, making your security even more personal to you.

iOS 17.4 iPhone 15 battery health tool

The iOS 17.4 software update, although currently in beta testing, has brought some changes to the Battery submenu that make it even easier to monitor your phone’s battery life and battery health. A new Battery Health menu on the iPhone 15 details your handset’s date of first use and manufacture date, as well as its battery cycle count. This menu will also see the battery’s maximum capacity percentage now being replaced to show the status of your battery, which will come up as ‘normal’ if everything’s functioning as it should.

is iOS 17 worth upgrading to?

Given the broad wealth of new features including widgets, bug fixes and security updates, and expanded accessibility that’s promised in iOS 17, it’s a fair bet to say that it’s an update worth upgrading to. However, if you’re struggling for storage space, or have an older gen iPhone such as the iPhone 8 or iPhone X that won’t get support for iOS 17, you might find that iOS 16 might tick the boxes for a little while longer.

Will the iPhone 11 get iOS 17.4?

First introduced in September of 2019, will the iPhone 11 be one of the lucky older gen iPhones to receive support for iOS 17.4? Well, luckily for iPhone 11 users, the iPhone 11 will get support for iOS 17.4. While this might be more significant for iPhone 11 users in the EU, this iPhone series will benefit from the wider implications of getting the 17.4 software worldwide.

Conclusion

Apple iOS 17.4 is set to revolutionize the iPhone and iPad experience with its plethora of exciting new features for both casual users and app developers in the EU and worldwide. With a scheduled release date in March, Apple enthusiasts worldwide eagerly await the arrival of iOS 17.4 and all the new possibilities it brings to their devices.

Marla writes across a wide range of topics across PC Guide, including AI, PC hardware, and news on the latest tech releases. She's a passionate writer that's interested in the future of technology.