Apple Expected to Release iOS 17.4 This Week With These New Features

iOS 17.4 is expected to be released to all users this week. The update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone, as outlined below.

iOS 17
Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store, Safari, and Apple Pay changes in the EU, Apple Podcasts transcripts, and an iMessage security upgrade. The update also adds new emoji, introduces Apple Cash virtual card numbers, further prepares for the launch of next-generation CarPlay this year, provides various bug fixes, and more.

The changes in the EU are in response to the Digital Markets Act. Apple has until March 6 to comply with the new regulations, in order to avoid fines, so iOS 17.4 will likely be released on or before that date. In a press release last month, Apple already confirmed that iOS 17.4 would be released at some point in March.

More details about the new features and changes follow.

App Store Changes in EU

apple ios app store safari changes
To comply with the EU's Digital Markets Act, Apple announced major changes to the App Store, Apple Pay, Safari, and more. These changes will be implemented with iOS 17.4 for iPhone users who reside in the 27 countries that belong to the EU.

First and foremost, Apple now allows alternative app marketplaces and alternative payment options on the App Store in the EU. Other changes in the EU include a new default web browser selection screen in Safari, the ability for third-party web browsers to use web engines other than Apple's WebKit on the iPhone, the ability for third-party mobile wallet apps to access the iPhone's NFC chip for contactless payment functionality, and more.

For more details, read our recap of all of the EU changes in iOS 17.4 and Apple's overview.

Apple Podcasts Transcripts

Apple Podcasts Transcriptions
Starting with iOS 17.4, the Apple Podcasts app now offers transcripts for podcasts, allowing listeners to read the full text of an episode, search for a specific word or phrase, and tap on the text to jump to a certain part of the episode. As an episode plays, each word is highlighted, similar to Apple Music song lyrics.

Apple says it automatically generates transcripts after a new episode is published. Transcripts are available for podcasts in English, French, German, and Spanish, and they will be added for older episodes in a podcast's catalog over time.

iMessage Security Upgrade

General Apps Messages
Apple recently announced a new post-quantum cryptographic protocol for iMessage called PQ3. Apple says this "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks."

iMessage already supports end-to-end encryption, but security researchers recognize that existing cryptographic protocols used by messaging apps rely on mathematical problems that could potentially be solved by future quantum computers. While these computers do not exist yet, Apple is preparing for the future with PQ3's new protections.

PQ3 will be gradually rolling out for supported iMessage conversations starting with iOS 17.4, iPadOS 17.4, macOS 14.4, and watchOS 10.4, according to Apple, and the company says it will fully replace iMessage's existing cryptography protocol within all supported conversations starting later this year. All devices in an iMessage conversation must be updated to the above-mentioned software versions or later to be eligible.

For technical details, read Apple's security research blog post and our previous coverage.

New Emoji

iOS 17
iOS 17.4 adds new emoji, including a broken chain, a brown mushroom, a head shaking horizontally, a head shaking vertically, a lime, and a phoenix.

Next-Generation CarPlay Preparations

Next Generation CarPlay Porsche 1
The first iOS 17.4 beta includes code for eight new CarPlay apps:

  • Auto Settings: This app will let you manage paired iPhones and adjust vehicle settings.
  • 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.

Apple recently confirmed that the first vehicle models with next-generation CarPlay will be released at some point in 2024.

More

Read our full list of iOS 17.4 features and Apple's release notes to learn about more changes coming with the update.

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