Apple released iOS 17.4 on March 5, 2024, and it brings some huge changes for iPhone users. While most features are available to all iPhone users, some features are only available for users in the EU. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at the shiny new features introduced with the latest iOS update.

iPhone 15’s Battery Health Changes

Alternate App Stores (EU Only)

NFC Access (EEA Only)

Game Streaming App Changes (Worldwide)

Web Applications (EU Only)

Tweaks to Stolen Device Protection

Wrapping Up

iPhone 15’s Battery Health Changes

The newer iPhone 15 models have introduced slight changes to the battery. With iOS 17, users were able to see the cycle count of the battery. In the new iOS 17.4 update, the cycle count has been moved from About section to the Battery section. 

The Battery Health now shows a readout instead of the percentage. Don’t worry, you can still tap the readout to get full details about your battery health.

Apple has also updated the support document. iPhone 14 and older versions were able to retain around 80% of their capacity at 500 charge cycles. However, iPhone 15 models retain around 80% of their capacity at 1000 charge cycles. This means that batteries in the iPhone 15 models will age twice as slowly as previous models.

Alternate App Stores (EU Only)

After a lot of pressure from the European Union (EU), Apple has finally caved in and started to make changes to its App Store policies. With iOS 17.4 and later, iPhone users can use alternate app stores to install apps on their devices. 

However, Apple has also introduced an entirely new fee structure for developers opting to use an alternative app store. Developers who opt to use the new system will have to pay 0.50 Euros every year for each user. For this fee structure, the first one million downloads are offered free.

Developers who choose to use the App Store for distribution will pay a lesser 17% commission. Small business program developers will pay 10% commissions.

If the developer chooses not to opt-in for the new system, they can still use the same system used everywhere else in the world.

With these changes, the user can set the alternate app store as default. The option for this can be found in the Settings app.

NFC Access (EEA Only)

Thanks to iOS 17.4, third-party banks and payment apps can use the Near Field Communication (NFC) chip in the iPhone to make contactless payments. This removes the need for the Wallet app or Apple Pay in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Why is this important, you may ask?

Well, thanks to this change, the users can set a contactless payment provider as default. This can activate when the Power button is pressed twice or at various tap-to-pay terminals.

The option of contactless payment provider is available in the Settings app in the EEA regions. Also, EEA iPhone users can change their default Wallet application.

Game Streaming App Changes (Worldwide)

Apple restricted users from downloading game streaming apps on iPhones. Before, these services could only be used via the web, which isn’t ideal as web applications aren’t stable compared to standalone apps.

However, those restrictions are now gone with iOS 17.4. This means that game streaming services like Nvidia GeForce NOW and Xbox Cloud Gaming can be offered as standalone apps on the iPad and iPhone. 

Why is this important for gamers?

Game streaming services were only available on the web. This meant that users couldn’t enjoy their games in full-screen. Not having a dedicated app also means that internet speeds can fluctuate. Now, when these standalone apps are released, gamers will be able to enjoy their games at a higher quality. 

But, what good will a dedicated game streaming app do if your internet isn’t up to par, right? Xfinity’s internet offers download speeds of up to 2 Gbps which is perfect for streaming games at high fidelity. To find out an internet plan that suits your needs, feel free to reach out to Xfinity customer service.

Web Applications (EU Only)

Web applications are amazing! 

Why? You might ask.

Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) allow users to create a flexible application using web technologies. In simple terms, this feature allows you to install a website on your home screen, allowing direct full-screen access.

In the beta versions for iOS 17.4, Apple put web apps at a significant disadvantage. The new changes prevented the apps from launching in full screen and launched them in Safari instead. This turned the web apps into mere shortcuts.

These changes are now being reverted with the official release of iOS 17.4. However, Apple’s WebKit is required for web apps.

Tweaks to Stolen Device Protection

Stolen Device Protection was first introduced with iOS 17.3. This feature was designed to add an additional layer of security when the device is away from familiar locations like your work or home.

When enabled, some of the features are protected by an extra layer of verification. This prevents someone from making critical changes to your device if they steal it. Moreover, accessing passwords and credit card information will require Touch ID or Face ID for biometric authentication.

Security actions like changing passwords will require you to perform an additional Touch ID or Face ID authentication after an hour.

With iOS 17.4, you can choose whether you wish to always have a security delay or only when you’re away from a familiar location.

Wrapping Up

This article only highlights some of the major changes with iOS 17.4. Apple has since rolled out multiple bug fixes and they fixed a vulnerability that was used to access user devices.

Now that iOS 17.4 is out in the wild, it’s time to officially start gearing up for iOS 17.5 which is set to introduce a Game Mode for iPhone 15 Pro models.