Apple iOS 17.4 update suddenly launched to comply with EU Data Act deadline

A colorful icon featuring the number 17, set against a gradient blue background with a small 'iOS 17.4 guide' text and icon in the upper left corner.

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Following weeks of rumors, speculation, and unfounded information, Apple has finally launched its long-awaited iOS 17.4 update. Containing several tweaks and changes to improve the iPhone’s functionality and overall usefulness, this latest update also has some more notable changes specifically tailored for EU residents.

Now, the iOS 17.4 release date can’t exactly be considered a surprise since the EU had imposed a March 6 deadline for Apple to introduce changes complying with the Digital Markets Act. And it seems the world-renowned tech company’s done just that after bringing in several EU-specific, App Store-related tweaks. However, these aren’t the only significant changes. The update released to the rest of the world also contained its own significant improvements, which we’ve listed below.

iOS 17.4 update notes

If you’re in the US and want to know what the EU App Store changes are, you unfortunately won’t be able to see it directly through your phone’s update notes. Instead, the main tweaks you’ll be able to see include the following:

Emoji

  • New mushroom, phoenix, lime, broken chain, and shaking heads emoji are now available in the emoji keyboard
  • 18 people and body emoji add the option to face them in either direction

Apple Podcasts

  • Transcripts let you follow an episode with text that highlights in sync with the audio in English, Spanish, French and German
  • Episode text can be read in full, searched for a word or phrase, tapped to play from a specific point and used with accessibility features such as Text Size, Increase Contrast, and VoiceOver

This update includes the following enhancements and bug fixes:

  • Music recognition lets you add songs you have identified to your Apple Music Playlists and Library, as well as Apple Music Classical
  • Siri has a new option to announce messages you receive in any supported language
  • Stolen Device Protection supports the option for increased security in all locations
  • Battery Health in Settings shows battery cycle count, manufacture date, and first use on iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models
  • Call Identification displays Apple-verified business name, logo, and department name when available
  • Business updates in Messages for Business provide trusted information for order status, flight notifications, fraud alerts or other transactions you opt into
  • Apple Cash virtual card numbers enable you to pay with Apple Cash at merchants that don’t yet accept Apple Pay by typing in your number from Wallet or using Safari AutoFill
  • Fixes an issue where contact pictures are blank in Find My
  • Fixes an issue for Dual SIM users where the phone number changes from primary to secondary and is visible to a group they have messaged

iOS 17.4 EU update notes

For EU residents (or those who want to know what the region-specific tweaks are), we’ve listed the change notes below:

Apps in the EU
Residents of the European Union will now have new options to:

– Install apps from alternative app marketplaces
– Install web browser with alternative browser engines
– Manage your default web browser the first time you open Safari
– Use alternative payment options for apps in the App Store with the external purchases badge
– Some options require developer support

If you want a more in-depth breakdown of the specific changes included with this update, we’ve got you covered. Head over to our pages on the iOS 17.4 CarPlay 2.0 features explained and the iOS 17.4 iMessage PQ3 quantum security update explained for more.

Nico is a Tech News Writer for PC Guide. He is also adept at finding a good deal every now and then, stemming from his days penny-pinching as a broke college kid.