Upcoming iOS 17.4: key features Upcoming iOS 17.4: key features

Sometime in early March, Apple will release iOS 17.4, the next iteration of its operating system for handheld devices.

Currently with third-party app developers and beta testers, it will include a considerable number of new features, as well as some alterations forced upon the Cupertino company by European legislators.

Most likely, you will update your iPhone and iPad (technically, it’s powered by iPadOS, a special fork introduced in 2019) sooner or later, so let’s take a look at what’s new in iOS 17.4.

iOS 17.4: new features and improvements

Siri

Siri of iOS 17.4 can read messages in not just the language it’s been set to generally, but in several other tongues you can choose in Settings –> Siri & Search –> Messaging with Siri, where there is a READ MESSAGES section with an Add Language button that brings up the available options.

Transcripts generation in Apple Podcasts

Apple Music has been geared to give you lyrics in real-time some time ago, and now Apple got around to adding a somewhat similar feature to Apple Podcasts. In iOS 17.4, this app learns to offer transcripts of podcasts, but it’s actually not real-time, the texts become available shortly after the audio is released. Handy, anyway.

Gesture conflict prevention feature

AI rendition of an all-things-Apple person. Soon on streets near youAI rendition of an all-things-Apple person. Soon on streets near you

This one looks minor, but it’s interesting from the point of view of how Apple obviously stumbled upon an unforeseen compilation and found a workaround for it. Starting from iOS 17.4, there is an Ignore Double Tap switch in the settings under a WHEN USING VISION PRO title. Don’t forget to tap it on when entering your next VR/AR adventure.

New emoji in iOS 17.4

While they are probably of minor importance to most users, Apple takes emoji seriously and extends their selection with pretty much every major update released. In iOS 17.4, the new emoji are Head Shaking Horizontally, Head Shaking Vertically, Phoenix Bird, Lime, Brown Mushroom, and Broken Chain. There are also rows of people in motion (including a wheelchaired individual).

Third-party stores and payment methods in iOS

This one could be skipped as a technicality if not for the reverberating effects thereof: in the EU, developers can build their own marketplaces, and Apple will let them through to the devices. This means that, for example, in-game purchases may be cheaper, since makers like Epic, who actually put this all in motion (and won!), will be able to sell them directly to users.

There is more liberation in the European version of iOS 17.4: you’ll be able to use browsers not powered by WebKit (read: not Safari), pay in-app using a gateway different from Apple Pay, and choose non-Apple app to manage your money when you’re paying with your phone. While simply convenient to most of us, these changes are literally tectonic shifts in the industry.

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