iOS 17.4 Is a Major New Direction for Apple

iOS 17.4 is out, and while that seems like a pretty Intermediate-sounding version number, it is the biggest update since iOS 17.0 debuted last year—and one of the weirdest “iOS launches to date”.

As usual, Apple’s spring iOS launch now brings many new features, including a quantum-computer-proof version of iMessage, podcast transcriptions, Device Security Assurance, and many more. But it also begins a massive rift between the US and EU versions, with the Europeans Obtaining access to alternative app stores, alternate browser engines, and third-party app access to the iPhone’s NFC chip, which you use to tap for Apple Pay.

Euro Decision

The European alterations in iOS 17.4 mark the first time that the iPhone’s operating system has forked significantly between the US and the EU. Apple makes different versions for China, where iCloud restrictions are more restrictive, for example. In Japan, you cannot switch off the shutter sound in the iPhone’s default to prevent covert photos to the camera app.

However, the EU changes are on an entirely different scale. Thanks to the European Union’s DMA (Digital Markets Act), Apple has been Compelled to open up the App Store and more. European iPhone users now use third-party app stores, but Apple isn’t making it simple., with prohibitive fees and onerous rules for anyone who dares to establish one. On the plus side, the EU is getting serious about making Apple do what it’s told, with a $2 billion fine last week for not allowing apps to Connect to external payment methods.

Once this all settles, the advantages to EU users will be clear. Apps will no longer be approved by Apple, so all types of apps will be allowed. Also, developers of complex apps will be able to put in the Years of dedication and effort needed without worrying that Apple might not even allow them into its store at the end of it.

“The decision of the EU to allow to use of alternative app stores and browser engines is excellent because it attracts user choice and Challenge, potentially lowers prices, and fosters innovation. Users can now install apps from sources other than the App Store, Expanding their possibilities and flexibility,”

iOS 17.4

 Additional enhancements include a choice of browsers and their Foundational rendering engines (currently, browsers like Chrome are forced to use Apple’s WebKit engine, so really, they’ve just Reimagined iterations of Safari). And you may be able to use your bank’s app to pay with your iPhone Rather than going through Apple Pay.

Apple is being Exact about this. These exclusive EU features will solely function if your Apple ID is in a member state, and your iPhone will check to see that you are In fact in the EU using geolocation. The stores will not be operating if you exit the EU.

The rest of the World

There are many reasons for non-EU folks to update, too. The main reason is Stolen Device Protection, which prevents a thief from “shoulder-surfing” your iPhone’s unlock code and using it for an Apple ID reset by requiring FaceID or Touch ID and a one-hour delay if you’re not at home.

As highlighted earlier, there is also new protection against tomorrow’s quantum computer-based attacks on today’s Messages. Yes, right as weird as it sounds, but it is also totally a thing.

Apple-Podcasts-transcripts-live-view_inline

Next, we get to the main stuff, like new emojis (a lime, finally), Skill to summon your assistant by saying “Siri” instead of “Hey Siri,” virtual card numbers for Apple Cash, automatic podcast transcriptions, and a new digital clock widget for your home screen.

As previously mentioned, this update is a big deal, and even outside the EU, the security improvements alone mean”You might want to consider updating sooner rather than later.”.

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