iOS 17.4 Review: What’s New in Apple’s Latest iPhone Update?

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iOS 17.4 Review: Big Changes for EU Users, Refinements for Everyone – A Deeper Look

Apple’s iOS 17.4 update might seem focused on regulatory changes, but it brings welcome tweaks and features beyond the EU-centric headlines. Whether you’re in Europe or elsewhere, let’s take a closer look at what this update means for the way you use your iPhone or iPad. Here is my iOS 17.4 review.

iOS 17.4 Review: Alternative App Stores and New App Store Terms (EU)

Apple App Store

The European Union’s Digital Markets Act is the driving force behind the most significant changes in iOS 17.4. Here’s what EU residents can look forward to:

Beyond the App Store

While the feature isn’t fully live yet, the groundwork is laid for installing apps from alternative app stores. This promises a wider variety of software and potentially different pricing models, giving you more control over your App experience.

Flexible Payments

Developers will gain the ability to offer their own in-app payment systems, circumventing Apple’s standard fees. This could result in more convenient payment options within your favorite apps and potentially even lower prices on subscriptions or in-app purchases.

Your Browser, Your Choice

The days of Safari as the unchangeable default are numbered in the EU. Set Chrome, Firefox, or another compatible browser as your go-to for web browsing. Plus, browsers gain the freedom to use their own rendering engines, potentially leading to faster, more powerful web experiences.

Tap to Pay Opens Up

Picture this – paying for your groceries with a tap of your iPhone, powered directly by your chosen banking app. NFC access for third parties makes this possible, expanding payment choices and potentially streamlining transactions.

iOS 17.4 Review: Worldwide Improvements—Something for Everyone

Let’s not forget the enhancements that benefit everyone, regardless of location:

Game Streaming Unleashed

Services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce NOW finally get the dedicated app treatment they deserve. This translates to better performance and a more native experience for mobile gaming enthusiasts.

New Emoji

Sometimes, only an emoji can convey the right feeling. iOS 17.4 adds the expressive lime, a humble brown mushroom, the intriguing broken chain, and the always-useful shaking head emojis for those moments words just won’t cut it.

Siri’s Multilingual Upgrade

Messaging with Siri

If you often communicate in multiple languages, Siri just became more helpful. Set Siri to read your incoming messages aloud in various supported languages, making it easier to stay on top of things even when switching languages. Additionally, the Automatically Send Messages setting under Siri & Search has been renamed “Messaging with ‌Siri‌”.

Podcasts Get Searchable

Podcast enthusiasts will love the addition of transcripts (for now, in English, Spanish, French, and German). Follow along with a podcast like reading a script, or quickly search for a particular phrase mentioned in an episode.

Protecting Your Conversations

iOS 17.4 future-proofs your iMessage chats with an advanced encryption protocol. It’s designed to withstand decryption attempts from powerful future computers, helping ensure your private conversations stay private. This makes iMessage the most secure messaging platform available to consumers.

iPhone 15 Battery Check

Owners of the latest iPhones will welcome a streamlined Battery Health interface. Get a quick status update on your battery’s condition, including info like its charging cycle count and date of first use.

The Little Touches That Matter

Beyond these highlights, iOS 17.4 polishes the user experience in several subtle ways:

  • Time at a Glance: The Stopwatch app joins the Live Activity club, showing its progress right on your Lock Screen or Dynamic Island for easy reference.
  • Apple TV Refinements: Finding your next movie or TV show gets easier with a redesigned interface in the Apple TV app.
  • Apple Cash Security: Generate virtual card numbers within Apple Cash for online purchases, adding an extra layer of security.
  • Budgeting Boost: Budgeting apps will now have better integration with Apple Card, Apple Savings, and Apple Cash, helping you gain a real-time view of your finances.

Of course, iOS 17.4 also addresses bugs and security vulnerabilities, as any major update should.

The Verdict: Should You Update?

The answer is a resounding yes! Everyone benefits from the security improvements, new features, and overall refinements in iOS 17.4. EU users are in for substantial changes once the new regulations are fully enabled, but for now, the update lays a foundation for a more diverse and competitive iOS landscape.

For more info, check out Apple’s official release notes.

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