iOS 17.4 Release Date: Apple’s Biggest iPhone Upgrade Coming Any Minute Now

Apple’s about to change the iPhone for good. In iOS 17.4, there will be big updates, additional emoji, new features and improved security for everyone, everywhere.


What The DMA Brings

The EU law is about increasing competition. WhatsApp, for instance, will introduce the ability for rival messaging apps to show up in WhatsApp. And Apple has been forced to open up the iPhone operating software to allow rival app marketplaces, browsers not based on Apple’s WebKit and payment systems beyond Apple Pay—read the indepth analysis here.

For some, this sounds very appetizing. For others, including Apple, it smacks of the Wild West, introducing privacy and security problems not found currently in the iPhone.

Of course, once you’ve downloaded iOS 17.4, you don’t have to go to external marketplaces if you don’t want to, and in that sense, the iPhone won’t change. But if you want apps not on the iPhone now, like Fortnite, for instance, the DMA will bring that capability. For now, it will be for EU users, though other governments will likely be watching closely and considering implementing similar changes.

It's A Fluid Situation

Until it arrives, we may not know exactly what is in iOS 17.4. Things are changing fast. For instance, Apple removed Progressive Web Apps from iOS 17.4, explaining that these web-clip links that work almost like apps were incompatible with the DMA. In the last days, Apple has performed a complete volte-face and said that PWAs will continue to be supported.

Likewise, there will doubtless be small additions coming that haven’t been spotted yet.

The Major Features

Outside the EU, there are plenty of features which will apply globally. As well as the new emoji, including a phoenix and a luscious lime, there’s a simpler way to check battery health, and improvements to the excellent Stolen Device Protection, recently introduced. Developers can now turn off Reactions in video calls in case they’re inappropriate (find full details of this here). There are transcripts in Apple Podcasts, a new, color Welcome Screen with your profile picture front-and-center. Future-proofing of Messages is also built in, along with updates to Apple Cash, an update to the design of Apple Music and new ways to control music on HomePod are possible. It’s a lot, right?


The Release Date

This is becoming clearer all the time. It had been thought Apple could release the update at some point last week, but that didn’t happen. Apple must comply with the requirements of the DMA by Wednesday, March 6, 2024. Since Apple releases its updates at or around 10 a.m. Pacific, which is 7 p.m. Central European Time, that day would probably be too late, though not impossible.

That leaves just two dates: Monday, March 4 or Tuesday, March 5. I had previously thought Monday would be favorite but the final changes, such as continuing to support Progressive Web Apps make me think Tuesday is now most likely.

As soon as it’s live, I’ll be covering it here on Forbes, so please check back tomorrow, just in case.