Apple Releases iOS 17.4 and iPadOS 17.4 With EU App Changes, New Emoji, Podcast Transcripts and More

Apple today released iOS 17.4 and iPadOS 17.4, the fourth major updates to the iOS 17 operating system that came out in September 2023. The software updates come over a month after Apple released iOS 17.3 and iPadOS 17.3.

iOS 17.4 and iPadOS 17.4 can be downloaded on eligible iPhones and iPads over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update.

With iOS 17.4, Apple introduces sweeping changes to the way the App Store and apps function in the European Union, paving the way for alternative app marketplaces on iPhone, alternative payment systems on iOS and iPadOS, third-party browser engine support, and NFC access for banks and third-party payment providers. These features are limited to the EU, and the changes are not applicable in other countries.

Apple did, however, make worldwide changes to gaming apps. Apple is now allowing cloud gaming apps like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce NOW. Mini games, chatbots, and plug-ins are also now able to use the in-app purchase system.

In addition to these App Store-related updates, iOS 17.4 adds new emoji characters, transcripts for podcasts in the Podcasts app, Stopwatch Live Activities, improvements to battery health reporting on the iPhone 15 models, and more. Apple's full release notes for the update are below.

- 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
Some features may not be available for all regions or on all Apple devices. For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website:

Note that Apple's release notes in the United States do not highlight the changes in the European Union, but the update does now allow for alternative app marketplaces to be installed on iPhones in Europe. If you're in Europe and affected by the changes, you will see different release notes that include details on Apple's app ecosystem updates.

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

More information on what's new in iOS 17.4 can be found in our iOS 17.4 features guide.

Related Roundups: iOS 17, iPadOS 17
Related Forums: iOS 17, iPadOS 17

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Top Rated Comments

randolorian Avatar
20 weeks ago
Super excited about the new emoji!
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Fuzzball84 Avatar
20 weeks ago
I think most Apple users are going to stick with the Apple App Store... most people don't have an issue with it, some companies have an issue using it.. but for the most part its the safest and best way for everyone to provide and download apps.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Reeneman Avatar
20 weeks ago

So the very next day after the RC release? That would be odd for Apple.

Nothing showing available. Did someone at MacRumors accidentally post the article a week early?
Next day? iOS 17.4 RC came out last week.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Fred de France Avatar
20 weeks ago
Not the same version as the RC.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nrose101 Avatar
20 weeks ago

Sorry for the dumb question. So in the USA we’re not going to get alternative app stores?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RickDEGH Avatar
20 weeks ago

So the very next day after the RC release? That would be odd for Apple.

Nothing showing available. Did someone at MacRumors accidentally post the article a week early?
Every release article, someone asks this question ?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)