Apple has kicked off iOS 17.4 with the release of beta 1 to developers. This upcoming software update brings a wave of changes, most notably catering to European Union regulations and introducing new emojis.
Opening the Gates in the EU:
iOS 17.4 beta 1 marks a significant shift for iPhone users in the European Union. In compliance with the Digital Markets Act (DMA), Apple is introducing support for third-party app marketplaces and non-WebKit web browser engines. This means EU users will soon have the freedom to download apps from platforms other than the App Store and utilize alternative browsers besides Safari.
However, Apple prioritizes user safety. While granting more flexibility, the company emphasizes caution with these new options. Users will be prompted with warnings before engaging with non-App Store apps and unfamiliar browsers. Additionally, Apple’s app notarization process, involving automated checks and human reviews, will continue to ensure app security regardless of their origin.
Express Yourself with New Emoji:
Beyond Europe-specific changes, iOS 17.4 beta 1 brings a delightful update for emoji enthusiasts. Support for Unicode 15.1 emoji expands the expressive vocabulary with additions like a lime, broken chain, brown mushroom, phoenix, and more. While exciting, keep in mind that these new emoji might not display correctly for recipients using older iOS versions.
Enhanced Security Measures:
The update offers an additional layer of security with a new option for Stolen Device Protection. Users can now require a security delay even when their device is in trusted locations like home or work. This optional feature adds an extra hour of wait time before disabling Stolen Device Protection or changing security settings, even within trusted environments.
Minor Tweaks and Adjustments:
iOS 17.4 beta 1 incorporates some minor UI changes. The “Listen Now” tab in the Music and Podcasts apps has been replaced with “Home,” seemingly offering no functional difference. Additionally, the “Purchased” section in the App Store has been split into “Apps” and “Purchase History” for better organization.
It’s important to remember that this is just the first beta release, and features might be added, removed, or modified before the official public release. The final version of iOS 17.4 is expected sometime in the spring, potentially before March 7, the deadline for the DMA regulations.
How to install iOS 17.4 beta 1
Devices enrolled with a linked Apple Developer Program account or those who signed up with their Apple ID on Apple Developer will see a new menu under Settings -> General -> Software Update that allows users to opt into receiving beta updates. Devices that aren’t enrolled and linked to an Apple Developer account won’t see the menu and therefore aren’t able to install any new beta.
Apple also released the following new betas across the board:
- iPadOS 17.4 beta 1
- tvOS 17.4 beta 1
- audioOS 17.4 beta 1
Apple’s iOS 17.4 beta 1 marks a significant update, particularly for users in the EU. While adhering to new regulations, the update also caters to user preferences with new emoji and security options. As further betas roll out, we can expect more insights into the final features and functionalities before the official release.