iOS 17.4 beta 4: All the new features and changes


iOS 17.4 logo
iOS 17.4 beta 4 surprisingly packs some major changes.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple recently seeded the fourth beta of iOS 17.4. Despite this late into the beta cycle, iOS 17.4 beta 4 packs several notable changes.

Below are all the changes we have come across in the latest iOS 17.4 beta along with an archive of all the changes in the previous beta builds.

The first beta of iOS 17.4 arrived in late January, just days after Apple released iOS 17.3 to the public. It packed several changes, including Apple opening up iOS to third-party app stores and browsers to adhere to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act.

In the following beta builds, the company introduced some minor changes or tweaked the already existing features. With iOS 17.4 beta 4 though, it has again introduced several notable changes.

iOS 17.4 beta 4: What’s new and changed

New splash screen

The latest iOS 17.4 beta introduces a new “Hello” splash screen that displays your profile picture in the middle.

Updated Battery Health menu

iOS 17.4 beta 4 updates the Battery Health menu. Instead of showing the remaining battery capacity, it will show its condition as “Normal.” Tapping on this menu will provide more detailed information, like the cycle count and capacity percentage.

Interestingly, this change appears to be limited to iPhone 14 and newer models.

New App Store install screen in the EU

Many iOS 17.4 changes are specific to the EU, including support for third-party app stores. In the latest beta, downloading a new app from the App Store in the EU shows an additional “Install App” screen as shown below. This will appear for every app you download from the App Store, even if you had previously downloaded them.

iOS 17.4 App Store
iOS 17.4 introduces a new Install screen in the App Store in the EU
Screenshot: u/Freezenix

You can find an archive of everything new in previous iOS 17.2 beta builds below.

iOS 17.4 beta 1: What’s new and changed

Support for third-party app stores

To comply with the new EU mandates, Apple will open iOS 17.4 to allow sideloading of apps and third-party app stores. Alongside the release of iOS 17.4 beta 1, the company published the guidelines and tools required for developers for this.

As per the rules, Apple will still vet all apps on third-party stores. But this process won’t be free. Even for using third-party app stores, developers will have to pay Apple 0.50 euros per user per year, though the first million installs will be free.

Unsurprisingly, developers don’t sound happy with the way Apple adhered to the DMA. They call the new rules “malicious compliance” and “ludicrously punitive.”

Third-party browsers with alternative browser engines

Currently, third-party browsers like Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge use the same WebKit engine as Safari. To comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, Apple will allow third-party browsers to use their rendering engine in iOS 17.4.

This will allow Google Chrome to use its Blink renderer on iPhone instead of relying on the WebKit engine.

In the EU, opening Safari on iOS 17.4 will provide users with a new screen from where they can pick their default browser. The options will include Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera and Brave. Once set as default, iOS will also use that browser and its render engine across all system apps.

iPhone’s tap-to-pay to open up for third parties

iPhone credit card payments
iPhone’s NFC system will open up to third-party payment systems in iOS 17.4 beta 1.
Mockup: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple Pay is the sole way of using the iPhone’s NFC chip for using tap-to-pay. This will change in March, again thanks to the EU’s DMA Act. It will allow third-party app developers and banks to use the iPhone’s NFC chip for tap-to-pay.

Cloud streaming game apps on the App Store

With iOS 17.4, Apple will allow cloud-based game streaming apps like Nvidia’s GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming on the App Store. Currently, these services can only allow access to their game library through the iOS web browser. Following the release of iOS 17.4, this will no longer be the case, allowing for a much better cloud gaming experience.

New emoji

The first beta of iOS 17.4 adds several new emojis from the Emoji 15.1 release, including a phoenix, a lime, smileys shaking their heads up and down and more. In total, there are 118 new additions. You can read about all the emoji-related changes in iOS 17.4 beta on Emojipedia.

All the new emoji in iOS 17.4 beta 1.
These are all the new emoji in iOS 17.4 beta 1.
Photo: Emojipedia

SharePlay comes to HomePod and Apple TV

Apple is expanding SharePlay support to the HomePod and Apple TV with iOS 17.4. This will allow your friends and family members to control media playback on your HomePod and Apple TV after you have given them the requisite permission. You must have an Apple Music subscription, but the person you invite does not have to be subscribed.

Stolen Device Protection enhancement

iPhone Stolen Device Protection can't be quickly deactivated
Stolen Device Protection is getting even better in iOS 17.4.
Screenshot: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple is enhancing Stolen Device Protection in iOS 17.4 beta 1 by adding an “Always” security delay for changing important security settings. In iOS 17.3, the security delay of one hour only triggers when trying to change security settings away from familiar locations.

As evident from above, the first beta of iOS 17.4 beta 1 brings fundamental changes to how the OS works. The only bummer is that most of the changes are only coming to the European Union. Additionally, Apple’s implementation leaves a lot to desire and could make the company subject to further scrutiny from regulators.


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