iOS 17.4 Beta Update: Major Enhancements

ios 17.4 beta

Apple is gearing up for the much-anticipated iOS 17.4 beta update, introducing significant changes for iPhone and iPad users in Europe and worldwide. Let’s dive into the key features of this upcoming release.

EU Changes in iOS 17.4 Beta

Apple has implemented noteworthy changes in the App Store and app operations within the European Union to comply with the Digital Markets Act. These alterations, featured in iOS 17.4, primarily impact countries within the EU.

iOS App Store General Feature Black

app store

One of the major updates involves Apple’s adjustment to the App Store fee structure, allowing EU developers to opt for alternative app stores. Under this new system, developers will pay a standard fee of 0.50 euros per user per year, with the first million installs offered for free. Apps distributed through alternative stores will have no commission, while those on the App Store will face reduced commissions.

Developers can choose not to opt in to the new system and can use the existing system with the same 15/30 percent commission that’s available elsewhere in the world.

Users are able to set their preferred alternative app store as the default app store on their device if desired. EU users will see an option for this in the Settings app.

There are a huge number of behind-the-scene changes that are enabling this feature in the EU, with updates to all kinds of system messaging. Users in the EU will, for example, get a pop up warning when an app from an alternative app store contains malware, and there are new screens for verifying the information from an alternative app.

A Screen Time setting will allow parents to decide whether their children’s devices are able to install apps from alternative app marketplaces.

Alternative Payment Options

Additionally, iOS 17.4 introduces the option for apps to use alternative payment methods, providing developers with a three percent discount in App Store fees. This move empowers developers to offer a variety of payment options within their apps.

Developers who distribute through alternative apps and also use an alternative payment option will pay Apple no fees beyond the set 0.50 euro fee per user.

With alternative payments, purchases for digital goods and services can be made directly in an app or a developer can choose to link to their website to have a user make a payment. Apple is requiring developers to use a known, secure payment provider.

Third-Party Browser Updates

After updating to iOS 17.4, EU users that open Safari will see a pop up that allows them to choose a new default browser option from a list of the most popular browsers on iOS.

Apple is also allowing alternative browser engines, and will not limit browsers like Chrome to the WebKit engine.

NFC Access

Third-party payment apps and banks in the European Economic Area now have access to the iPhone’s NFC chip in iOS 17.4, enabling contactless payments directly on the device without relying on Apple Pay or the Wallet app.

The option for setting a default contactless payment provider is available in the Settings app in the EU, and this section will also provide details on all apps that have requested and been granted contactless payment access.

EU users can also change the default Wallet app on the iPhone.

Web Apps

Apple has implemented restrictions on Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) in the European Union within iOS 17.4. PWAs have no dedicated windowing, notifications, or long-term local storage. According to Apple, web apps have been removed because of the DMA requirement for alternative browser engines and the work required to implement a more secure solution.

Apple says that malicious web apps from other browser engines could read data from other web apps and gain access to a user’s camera, microphone, and location without user consent.

Gaming App Changes

Streaming game apps are now allowed on the App Store worldwide, which means services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce NOW can be offered as standalone iPhone and iPad apps.

Mini-apps, mini-games, chatbots, and plug-ins are also now able to use the in-app purchase system.

New Emoji in iOS 17.4 Beta

The iOS 17.4 beta adds new emoji characters that include lime, an edible brown mushroom, a phoenix, a broken chain, shaking head vertically (as in a “yes” nod), and shaking head horizontally (a “no” head shake).

These emoji are part of the Unicode 15.1 update that was approved in September 2023.

Messaging with Siri

The Automatically Send Messages setting under Siri & Search has been renamed “Messaging with Siri,” and there is an option to set Siri to read incoming messages in a specific language like Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and many more.

The change does not update the primary language that Siri listens in and responds to, but is limited to message playback.

Podcasts and Music

The “Listen Now” tabs in Apple Music and Podcasts have been renamed to “Home.”

The Podcasts app now offers transcripts, similar to how lyrics work in the Apple Music app.

Podcasts also use the Apple Music Now Playing bar when collapsed.

Stolen Device Protection

In the Stolen Device Protection section of the Settings app, there is now an option to require a security delay always or only when away from familiar locations.

Next-Generation CarPlay Support in iOS 17.4 Beta

apple carplay

Next-generation CarPlay is set to launch in the U.S. later in 2024, and code in iOS 17.4 references eight new CarPlay apps.

  • Car Camera: This app will display the vehicle’s rear-view camera feed.
  • Charge: For electric vehicles, this app will display battery level, charging status, time remaining until the battery is fully charged, and more.
  • Climate: This app will provide access to a vehicle’s climate controls within CarPlay, allowing you to adjust the temperature of the A/C or heating system, fan speed, heated seats, heated steering wheel, and more.
  • Closures: This app will display if any of the vehicle’s doors are opened, and it might also display vehicle warning symbols.
  • Media: This app will provide access to FM and AM radio station controls within CarPlay, along with other media options like SiriusXM. It is unclear if SiriusXM will offer satellite connectivity or remain limited to internet streaming. Users will be able to select from a list of music genres, such as Top 40 and Rock.
  • Tire Pressure: This app will display air pressure for each of the vehicle’s tires and provide low pressure, high pressure, and flat tire warnings.
  • Trips: This app will provide a variety of driving-related data, including the vehicle’s average speed, fuel efficiency or energy efficiency, the total time elapsed and distance traveled on a trip, and more.

An image in iOS 17.4 beta suggests that CarPlay will also likely display a “Goodbye” screen after the driver shuts off the vehicle.


The first betas of iOS 17.4 and tvOS 17.4 brought SharePlay music control to the HomePod and Apple TV, but Apple removed the feature in iOS 17.4 and tvOS 17.4 beta 2, and it is not yet clear if the option will be re-added before the software updates launch. The feature let a user’s family and friends control the music playing on a HomePod or an Apple TV, so long as the user had granted permission.

Stopwatch Live Activity

iOS 17.4 adds a Live Activity function for the Stopwatch feature on the iPhone. When activated through the Clock app, the Stopwatch now shows up in the Dynamic Island and on the Lock Screen.

There are controls for pausing the Stopwatch, clearing it, and starting a new lap.

Apple TV App

The “How to Watch” section in the Apple TV app that shows where a movie or TV show can be viewed now has a list interface rather than a card interface.

App Store

The App Store’s Purchase feature now shows account-wide purchase history for an Apple ID. It includes TV and movie purchases, music purchases, subscriptions, and app purchases, and it is the same interface that is available when accessing the purchase information for any Apple ID.

Apps are still listed, but under a new “Apps” section.

Clock Widget

There’s a new City Digital Clock widget that can be added to the Home Screen or Lock Screen.

Apple Cash Virtual Card Numbers

In the Wallet app, Apple Cash users can generate a virtual card number to make purchases when Apple Pay is not an option.

Hand Gesture Reactions in Video Apps

With iOS 17.4, there’s a new API for developers that can be used to turn off hand gesture reactions in video calls. iOS 17 added a gesture reactions that are enabled by default in all video calling apps, leading to awkwardness when moving the hands in certain ways during serious calls.

Online therapists and other professionals have had to add disclaimers about the feature, as there was no way to turn it off on the provider’s end Following iOS 17.4 and macOS Sonoma, developers can turn off the fireworks, confetti, and other options in their apps. Users were already able to turn off reactions on their iPhones, iPads, and Macs in the Settings app.

Release Date

Apple will release iOS 17.4 in March, likely during the first week of the month.

Also: iPhone 16 Rumor: Vertical Stacked Cameras for Spatial Video

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