Apple Releases iOS 17.4 for iPhone with Alternative App Stores & More

The company has released iOS 17.4, which adds several new features including alternative app stores.

TL;DR: Apple Releases iOS 17.4

  • Big feature: The biggest feature of iOS 174 is alternative app store support. 📱
  • EU only: However, to use alternative app stores you must be a user within the EU. 🇪🇺
  • New emoji: The iOS 17.4 update also features several new emoji. 🍄
  • Lots of tweaks: iOS 17.4 also features lots of little tweaks to apps including Music, Podcasts, and TV. 📺

Apple has released iOS 17.4 for iPhone and with it comes one of the biggest changes to iOS ever: the ability to install third-party app stores on your iPhone. However, this new feature isn’t available for all users.

Beyond third-party app store support, iOS 17.4 also adds several additional, relatively minor, new features, including Podcast transcriptions, app interface changes, new iMessage security, and more.

Here are the most notable new features in iOS 17.4…

iOS 17.4: Alternative App Stores

The biggest new feature in iOS 17.4 is one of the biggest new features to ever come to iOS: the ability to install third-party app stores on our iPhone.

Third-party app stores now allow you to download apps from outside of the App Store right onto your iPhone. You do this by downloading an alternative app store and using that store to install apps on your iPhone instead of (or along with) Apple’s official App Store.

However, note that third-party app stores are limited to users in the European Union. This is because Apple did not want to support alternative app stores, but new legislation in the EU forced the company’s hands.

iOS 17.4: Podcast Transcripts

Another big new feature of iOS 17.4 is the addition of podcast transcripts in the podcast app. Apple describes the new feature like this:

“With transcripts, users can read the full text of an episode, search the episode for a specific word or phrase, and tap on the text to play the podcast from that point in the episode. As an episode plays, each word is highlighted, making it easy to follow along.”

Podcast transcripts will be a useful tool for those who listen to a lot of podcasts and have always wanted more of a visual interface while doing so.

iOS 17.4: Apps for Streaming Games

iOS 17.4 now allows for the use of streaming apps that are dedicated to gaming. This means that if a game service wants to bring their streaming solution to the iPhone they now don’t have to do so through a browser. This is a great new feature for those who are into gaming. 

iOS 17.4: iMessage Quantum Computer Attack Protection

Another major new feature in iOS 17.4 is the addition of a new security protocol for iMessage. The post-quantum cryptographic protocol provides a way for iMessages to be future-proof against attacks by quantum computers in the future.

Quantum computers of the future will likely have no problem breaking today’s best encryption. This has led to fears of what is called Harvest Now; Decrypt Later (HNDL) attacks where malicious actors will steal the encrypted message data now, and just sit on it for years until a quantum computer comes along that can break the encryption and read the messages.

Apple’s new post-quantum cryptographic protocol should protect against that, ensuring even tomorrow’s quantum computers can’t break iMessage encryption.

iOS 17.4: The Little Things…

Besides the above, iOS 17.4 also adds a ton of little improvements across the board. iPhone 15 users can now see more details of their battery right in the Battery settings in the Settings app.

The Music, Podcast, and TV apps have gotten a new “home” button, which makes navigation clearer.

There is a new Live Activity for the stopwatch function of the Clock app.

There is also a new digital clock widget for the lock and home screen.

Additionally, there are bug fixes and security patches.

iOS 17.4 is available now as a free download to iPhone users worldwide.

Michael Grothaus

Michael Grothaus is an American author and journalist with a flair for exploring the intersection of technology, creativity, and digital culture. With a background in film, journalism, and creative writing, he brings a unique perspective to the world of mobile technology. His work has been featured in renowned publications like Fast Company, The Guardian, and Engadget. At KnowYourMobile, Michael leverages his extensive knowledge to guide readers through the complexities of mobile devices, helping them make informed choices in the fast-paced tech landscape.

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