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iOS 17.4 beta: Everything new for iPhone users

Updated Feb 21st, 2024 10:23AM EST
iPhone 15 Pro showing App Store ahead of iOS 17.4 beta release
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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With the iOS 17.4 beta cycle just getting started, Apple is promising one of the most significant updates for iPhone users in ages. Although the biggest change focuses on European users, here’s everything we know about this upcoming software update.

European Union exclusive features

European Union users will have the following new features:

Marketplaces – or alternative app stores: App developers in the EU can choose to offer their apps in alternative app stores as long as they meet Apple’s criteria for customer experience, support, and fraud prevention, among other changes.

Notarization for iOS apps: A baseline review that applies to all apps, regardless of their distribution channel, focused on platform integrity and protecting users. Notarization involves a combination of automated checks and human review. 

Default browser options: EU users can choose a new default browser from a list of the most downloaded browsers on iOS devices just after they update to iOS 17.4.

NFC third-party access: Banks and third-party payment services can be offered for European iPhones.

More access: Developers can ask for additional hardware and software features for Apple.

iOS 17.4 beta 1 features

iOS 17.4 new emojisImage source: José Adorno for BGR

These are the iOS 17.4 features that are going to be available to all users.

Gaming app changes: Streaming game apps will be available on the App Store globally, which includes Xbox Cloud Gaming and GeForce NOW, offering games inside their own apps.

Messaging with Siri: Siri can read incoming messages in multiple languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, and more.

Home tab: Apple Music and Podcasts’ Listen Now tab is now called Home.

Podcasts Transcripts: The Podcasts app now offers transcripts for every podcast episode.

New emojis: Over 100 new emojis are available with iOS 17.4. You can discover them here.

Stolen Device Protection changes: Apple has added an option that a double authentication can always be required instead of only unfamiliar locations.

Beta 2 features

Most features of beta 2 are small improvements rather than new functions:

Home tab: Apple Books also got a new Home tab. It replaces the old “Read Now” option.

Clock Widget: Apple is working on a new widget called City Clock. There are three new options at the moment.

AirPods on Android: Apple keeps working on a new notification that shows on your iPhone when your AirPods are being used on an Android device or Windows PC so you can switch the connection back to your phone.

Beta 4 features

Apple's Messages app / iMessage / Digital Market Acts / iPhone 15 Pro / European Union legislationImage source: José Adorno for BGR

While beta 3 didn’t have any expressive change, beta 4 is responsible for two main features:

iPhone 15 battery lasts longer: Apple says that the iPhone 15 can hold at least 1,000 complete cycles with up to 80% of total battery life, compared to 500 cycles of its predecessors. In addition, there’s a new Battery setting that shows the cycle count of your iPhone, when the battery was manufactured, and when it was first used.

New iMessage protocol: iMessage is also being upgraded with iOS 17.4 with a new post-quantum cryptographic protocol that improves end-to-end secure messaging. You can learn more about it here.

Wrap up

BGR will keep updating this article as we learn more about the upcoming iOS 17.4 changes.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.