Apple just released iOS 17.4. Here’s how it’s going to change your iPhone

The Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro showing the screens.
Apple iPhone 14 Pro (left) and iPhone 15 Pro Max Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

If you have an iPhone, you’ll want to check it right now for a big update. The iOS 17.4 update is officially rolling out right now and it includes some fairly significant new features.

Without a doubt, the biggest addition in iOS 17.4 is support for third-party app stores. As confirmed in January, iOS 17.4 will allow iPhone users in the European Union to download applications from sources other than Apple’s official App Store. It’s a dramatic change caused by legislation from the EU’s Digital Markets Act and one of the biggest changes we’ve seen for the iPhone in years. However, as Apple has repeatedly made clear, this only applies to iPhone users in the EU.

For those of us in the U.S. and elsewhere, there’s still plenty to look forward to in iOS 17.4 — namely, new emoji. Apple has added 18 new emoji with iOS 17.4, including a new mushroom emoji, a lime emoji, a broken chain emoji, and more. There’s even an emoji of a burning phoenix, which looks pretty incredible.

Transcripts in Apple Podcasts in iOS 17.4.

You’ll also find a new feature in the Apple Podcasts app, specifically, written transcripts for episodes. Transcripts enable you to read along with your favorite podcast and listen to its audio, and they’re available for English, French, Spanish, and German podcasts. Apple says transcripts will be automatically available for new episodes “shortly after episodes are published,” while older episodes “will be transcribed over time.”

iOS 17.4 has a few smaller updates, too. Per Apple’s release notes:

  • 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.

To download iOS 17.4 on your iPhone, open the Settings app, tap General, and then tap Software Update. The page should automatically update with the option to update your phone to iOS 17.4.