Apple’s confirmed a new iOS 17.4 update for iPhone and the software is now in beta testing ahead of its release.
We had a feeling Apple would put iOS 17.4 into testing shortly the release of iOS 17.3 and that’s precisely what transpired.
iOS 17.4 is a milestone upgrade, the fourth for the iPhone’s iOS 17 operating system. This means it will bring more than just bug fixes and security patches to iPhone users. It will bring new features as well.
Apple hasn’t confirmed a iOS 17.4 release date yet and the software will stay in testing for awhile longer. If you don’t want to wait for the stable release, you can try an early version of the firmware on your iPhone today.
With iOS 17.4 in development, we want to take you through everything there is to know about the next major iOS 17 update for iPhone.
Table of Contents
Our guide will take you through the iOS 17.4 update’s known changes, what you can expect from the iOS 17.4 release date and release time, information about the beta, and more.
iOS 17.4 Beta
If you want to start using iOS 17.4 on your iPhone right now you can do so.
Apple’s pushed the iOS 17.4 beta to developers and the general public via its Beta Software Program. It recently released the Release Candidate, or RC, which is the final version of the beta.
Before you download the iOS 17.4 beta on your iPhone, note that Apple’s pre-release software is typically always plagued with bugs and performance issues.
These issues could impact the performance of your core apps, your iPhone’s battery life, and its overall speed which can make it tricky to use as a daily driver.
You should be able to resolve some problems on your own, but some bugs and performance issues may require a fix from Apple down the road.
If you can’t stand the iOS 17.4 beta’s performance on your iPhone, you can downgrade back to iOS 17.3.1. The downgrade path to older iOS firmware is closed and won’t re-open.
If you’re interested in trying the iOS 17.4 beta, check out our guide.
iOS 17.4 Release Date
Apple hasn’t confirmed the iOS 17.4 release date, but it should arrive in early March.
In a press release, Apple says iOS 17.4 will roll out to iPhone users sometime next month.
The company has until March 6th to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act. These changes are included in iOS 17.4 so we expect the software’s release date to land on March 4th or March 5th.
iOS 17.4 Release Time
We don’t have an official iOS 17.4 release date yet, but we know exactly when Apple will roll the software out on whatever date it chooses.
The official version of iOS 17.4 will most likely arrive in and around 10AM Pacific. It sometimes takes a few minutes for iOS updates to show up so there’s no need to worry if you don’t see new software right away. This is also the case for new beta software.
Keep this timeline in mind if you plan to install the official version of iOS 17.4 right away.
iOS 17.4 Features
Apple’s milestone updates (iOS x.x) typically bring new features, enhancements, security patches, and bug fixes to iPhone users and that’s what you can expect from iOS 17.4.
iOS 17.4 is set to deliver changes to iOS, Safari, and the App Store in the European Union. The changes will comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA).
Apple says the “changes include more than 600 new APIs, expanded app analytics, functionality for alternative browser engines, and options for processing app payments and distributing iOS apps.”
One byproduct of these changes is the removal of Home Screen web apps. Apple’s confirmed the removal is not a bug, it’s by design.
The company says “EU users will be able to continue accessing websites directly from their Home Screen through a bookmark with minimal impact to their functionality.”
Developers can learn more about the changes for EU apps on the company’s new Apple Developer Support page and developers can begin testing these capabilities in the iOS 17.4 beta.
In addition to these changes, iOS 17.4 is set to bring new emoji characters to the iPhone’s keyboard. The list includes a phoenix, a lime, and an edible mushroom.
The iOS 17.4 beta also includes an upgrade to the Podcasts app. The app now features auto-generated transcripts which can be viewed within the app itself.
iOS 17.4 will also usher in quantum security protection for iMessage. The company says the upgrade will give iMessage “the strongest security properties of any at-scale messaging protocol in the world.”
Here are the official iOS 17.4 release notes:
- 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
- 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
Enhancements & 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 donât 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
iOS 17.4 should also carry new security patches, but Apple won’t confirm those until release day.
iOS 17.4 Jailbreak
If you still jailbreak, make sure you avoid the iOS 17.4 beta.
We don’t expect developers to release a tool that’s compatible with the iOS 17.4 beta. We probably won’t get a tool for the official version of iOS 17.4 either.
Not for awhile at least.
Install iOS 17.3.1 for Better Security
If security is important to you, and you missed older versions of iOS 17, think about installing Apple's iOS 17.3.1 update right away.
iOS 17.3.1 doesn't have any security updates of its own, but if you missed iOS 17.3 or older, you'll get security patches when you upgrade.
The iOS 17.3 update brought 15 new security patches to iPhone. These will help keep your device and its data protected from harm.
The software also added Stolen Device Protection to iPhone. It increases the security of your iPhone and Apple ID by requiring Face ID or Touch ID to gain access to passwords, make purchases in Safari, and more.
This is useful if someone gets access to your iPhone and its passcode.
iOS 17.2 delivered 10 new security patches to iPhone. If you wish to find out more, you can head on over to Apple's security site for the details.
iOS 17.1.2 had two security patches on board. Both were related to WebKit. If you want to learn more, you can do so right here.
iOS 17.1 brought 18 security fixes to iPhone. It addressed issues within Weather, Status Bar, WebKit, and more.
iOS 17.0.3 brought two patches for two security issues Apple identified within the software. If you want to read about the patches, head here.
iOS 17.0.1 delivered three important patches to iPhone. If you're interested in the exact nature of these improvements, you can read about them over on Apple's security website.
As for iOS 17 itself, it brought 40+ new security patches with it. A staggering number to say the least. If you want to learn more about them, head over to Apple.
In addition to those patches, iOS 17 brings some additional enhancements to privacy and security including improvements to Communication Safety beyond Messages.
It now includes content sent by AirDrop, Contact Posters in the Phone app, FaceTime, and the systemwide photo picker. You now have an option to blur out sensitive photos and videos before you choose to view them.
There's also an expanded Lockdown Mode which will help protect you against cyber attacks.
Apple's also improved sharing permissions and you now have more control over what you share with the apps on your device.
The company also notes that starting in iOS 17, Voice Memos encrypts the titles of recordings stored in iCloud, in addition to the recordings themselves.
If you skipped older versions of iOS, you'll get the security patches from those updates with your iOS 17.3.1 update as well.
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