iOS 17.4 release date – is the new update out now?

Hey Siri, when is iOS 17.4 coming out?

Apple iOS 17.4 release date speculation. Image shows the iOS 17 logo underneath three pink question marks on a grey gradient background.

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If you’re looking to find out whether the iOS 17.4 release date has gone live then you’re in the right place. We’ve been following this hotly anticipated update from its initial unveiling through to its latter stages. After much speculation, we can say that the wait is now over. Let’s get into all the details below and what it means for your Apple device of choice.

iOS 17.4 release date

We’ll cut straight to the chase and tell you that iOS 17.4 is available right now, having launched on March 5, 2024. You can find out all the details surrounding its release in our dedicated iOS 17.4 launch piece. It’s available to download now and should see tweaks to Carplay as well as Apple Pay and Apple Cash for smoother app payments and other transactions through wallet apps. There should also be the usual battery health and audio improvements, too. Apple Cash gets a small update in the wallet app with virtual card numbers being able to be generated when you’re unable to use the app for any reason.

One of the main reasons we could narrow down the iOS 17.4 release date was due to Apple’s responsibility to comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act. Essentially, this EU act requires Apple to open up iOS to alternative app marketplaces so that it doesn’t act as a bottleneck in the digital community as a private rule maker. In a Newsroom article, Apple confirmed that “the new capabilities will become available to users in the 27 EU countries beginning in March 2024”, and this was right on the money.

The Digital Markets Act has a deadline of March 6, 2024. Therefore, it was safe to assume that Apple would have released iOS 17.4 sometime between Friday, March 1, and Wednesday, March 6. In this instance, they close the latter date of March 5 just before the cut of period. While it currently sounds like there are no benefits for international users outside the EU, that’s not the case in the slightest; not only will these changes be available globally, but there a load of other upgrades packaged into iOS 17.4. These include bug fixes all around, Apple Podcasts transcripts, some new options for Stolen Device Protection, NFC chip support for contactless payments, and not to mention, at least 100 new emoji to liven up your texting.

iOS 17.4 security – iMessage Post-Quantum Encryption

There’s a newfound reason security-based for installing the iOS 17.4 beta, and it comes in the form of increased iMessage protection. Apple has revealed what it’s calling its “most significant” cryptographic security upgrade for iMessage, giving the entire protocol a rebuild. The update, named PQ3, is a “groundbreaking post-quantum cryptographic protocol” that aims to future-proof and secure iMessage against future quantum computing attacks. According to Apple, this update will provide the “strongest security properties of any at-scale messaging protocol in the world”.

Does iOS 17.4 have new emojis?

Yes, there are over 100 new emojis, just one of the new features coming to iPhones with the launch of the iOS 17.4 update. New emojis are always a cherished feature of a new iOS update, and it looks like the ones being released this time around won’t disappoint. To name a brief few of what we’ve seen so far, joining your emoji keyboard is a slice of lime, a new mushroom, a phoenix, and nodding and shaking heads emoji.

What phones won’t support iOS 17.4?

Unfortunately, there’s always going to be a list of older generation iPhones that are no longer in the lineup to get the new iOS update. In this case, installation of iOS 17.4 won’t be possible on the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X. Only iPhones from the XS series onwards now carry support for iOS 17 and above.

What else is new?

Some smaller changes include being able to use a new default web browser instead of Safari as there will be a list of 12 to pick from the App Store. Speaking of the App Store, it will also see changes as the EU’s Digital Markets Act comes into play. In certain countries this will mean alternative app stores can be used with the way merchants interact with the hardware changing.

Automatically sending messages with Siri has been renamed to ‘Messaging with Siri’ with a switch that can be toggled to send messages quickly without having to confirm with the AI assistant first. What’s more, podcast episodes should be easier to find as the ‘listen now’ tab is being renamed to ‘home’. You’ll also find podcast transcripts available much in the same fashion as pulling up lyrics for songs so you can read along with the words as you go. Apple Music Playlists will also see changes as any songs found via music recognition in Siri will appear.

For those using CarPlay, there will be changes to Apple Maps, including new instrument cluster screens for supported vehicles whether you’ll be able to switch between the main screen and a new map configuration button in the upper right of the Maps’ app. It looks to make things considerably more efficient when planning journeys and making changes on route. Apple has all the updated information for CarPlay vehicles and the new instrument cluster experience. There’s even information now about tire pressure upcoming maneuvers, media playback, car camera, climate controls, and trips; it all sounds very encompassing.

The battery interface has also changed for the iPhone 15 range. It now shows not only the battery health and percentage but also the battery cycle count which is believed to supported 80% of its capacity after a thousand charges. You’ll also get the manufacture date and other trusted information such as first use, to more accurately keep track of how your cell’s doing.

Other highlights include changes to find my iPhone which includes Stolen Device Protection which delays real-time GPS when in unfamiliar locations to combat against fraud alerts. There’s also been a patch for accessibility features such as changing text size, increase contrast etc. which could have led to apps reading sensitive information. Early March has been some big changes to iOS apps and Apple’s ecosystem which makes this new update quite the refresh.

Conclusion

iOS 17.4 is an update that iPhone users across the globe are eagerly anticipating. With its exciting features such as the opening up of iOS to external app stores, an improved App Store experience, an expanded choice of search engines, and enhancements to Apple Music and HomePod, this update promises to greatly enhance the iPhone experience. While we can speculate that iOS 17.4 might be released on the 4th or 5th of March, it’s important to note that Apple’s release dates are of course still subject to change. Stay tuned for more updates and get ready to enjoy the latest and greatest features on your iPhone with iOS 17.4.

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.