iOS 17.4 changes everything — here’s all the new features and how to download it

iOS 17.4 update available in Software Update Settings screen on iPhone 15 Pro Max
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The iOS 17.4 update for iPhones is available to download now, featuring a wave of ground-breaking changes for those in European Union countries — and a host of more traditional iterative updates for all.

While the changes heading to EU states are the most dramatic of changes, likely to have the biggest impact on the overall iPhone experience, several useful features are being made available to all including tweaks to Siri and CarPlay.

Let's go over some of the things arriving in the iOS 17.4 update, available to download right now. 

iOS 17.4: Here's what you get

  • Apple Podcast Transcripts: Similar to Apple Music's lyric transcripts, Apple Podcasts is gaining a new transcription feature that not only presents podcasts in the written medium, but also allows users to tap on certain words to skip to that point in playback.
  • CarPlay upgrades: Supported CarPlay vehicles with dual-screen capabilities can now swap between displays to focus on main or instrument screens by tapping the map configuration button.
  • Stolen Device Protection: Previously, Stolen Device Protection could only offer security delays when your device was beyond its familiar locations, but the iOS 17.4 update now allows these security delays to take place in any location — further enhancing the safety of your account if your iPhone is lost or stolen.
  • Call Identification: Calls from Apple-verified business will now show names, logos, and event departments where available.
  • Apple Cash virtual card numbers: These virtual card numbers allow you to pay with Apple Cash even at merchants that don't support Apple Pay. Simply copy the number from your wallet using Safari AutoFill and continue your payment with ease.
  • Siri language changes: A welcome addition for bilingual iPhone users, Siri will gain the ability to read messages in other languages supported by the assistant, different to the one it is primarily set to.
  • Support for game streaming apps: Apple has lifted the restrictions on game streaming apps on its platform, meaning services like Xbox Cloud Gaming are finally free to make their way to the iPhone.
  • Several bug fixes and tweaks including blank contact pictures in Find My, Dual SIM errors in messages, new Emojis, and more.

Meanwhile, those living in EU states can expect the following changes to the iOS platform on iPhone:

  • Support for third-party app marketplaces: The new iOS 17.4 update will, for the first time on iPhone, allow third-part app marketplaces to exist alongside the App Store. Epic Games is already pushing to be one of the first companies to launch its own marketplace on the platform, bringing Fortnite back to iPhone gamers in the process.
  • Wider browser support: iOS 17.4 will allow non-WebKit browsers to feature on the platform for the first time. This opens the door to fully realized versions of popular browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
  • Choose your default browser: A new Safari pop-up will ask iPhone users to set a default browser, reminding them that other options are available.
  • Third-party payment methods in apps: Users will now be able to choose third-party payment processors for in-app purchases, sidestepping Apple's traditional options for the first time.
  • Default NFC and Wallet apps for Apple Pay: iPhone users will now be able to choose a default NFC and wallet app to be used with Apple Pay, giving them greater freedom when making purchasing decisions.

How do I update to iOS 17.4?

iOS 17.4 is available to all users and easily downloaded by using your iPhone to navigate to Settings > General > Software Update. From here you can tap to install the update and the rest of the process should be automatic.

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Rael Hornby
Content Editor

Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.