iOS 17.4: Emoji Extravaganza, Sideloading Surprise, and More!

iOS 17.4 brings new emojis, a clock widget, & a game-changer for EU users (app sideloading!). Get the scoop & update guide here

Apple’s latest iOS update, iOS 17.4, landed yesterday, and it’s a doozy! This update brings a bunch of exciting new features, including a whopping 18 new emojis to express yourself with, a brand new clock widget to keep you on time, and some major changes to the App Store – especially for our friends in the EU. Let’s dive into everything new in iOS 17.4 and see why you should update your iPhone ASAP!

New Emojis to Spice Up Your Chats!

Apple is keeping things fresh in the emoji department with a bunch of new additions in iOS 17.4. You can now express yourself with a juicy lime wedge, a friendly mushroom, a head nodding in agreement (or disagreement!), and even a symbol of freedom – broken chains! ⛓️ Whether you’re a foodie, a nature lover, or just looking for some fun new ways to communicate, these new emojis have you covered.

Finding your new favorite emojis is super easy. Just open the Messages app, tap on a conversation, and head over to the emoji section. There you’ll find all the new additions waiting to be used!

Sideloading Apps? Yes, Please (But Only in the EU for Now)

This is a big one! iOS 17.4 marks a significant shift for Apple, as it finally allows sideloading apps on iPhones – but there’s a catch. For now, this feature is only available to users in the European Union, thanks to the region’s Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Sideloading refers to installing apps from sources other than the official App Store. This opens up a world of possibilities for EU users, allowing them to access apps that might not be available on the App Store or get them from alternative app stores that might offer better deals or features.

The first alternative app store for iPhone, called Setapp Mobile, has already been launched by MacPaw. It’s currently in beta, but you can sign up for the waitlist to be among the first to try it out.

While this sideloading feature is exciting news for EU users, those in other countries will have to wait a bit longer. Apple might be waiting for similar regulations in other regions before opening up the floodgates.

New Clock Widget: Keep an Eye on the Time in Style

Staying on top of time just got a little easier with the new clock widget in iOS 17.4. Called City Digital, this widget displays a digital clock for a specific location you choose. It automatically adjusts its background color based on the time of day, making it both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Adding the City Digital clock widget to your home screen is a breeze. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Long-press on your home screen until the apps start jiggling.
  2. Tap the plus sign (+) in the top left corner.
  3. Scroll down and find the “Clock” widget.
  4. Choose the “City Digital” version.
  5. Tap on the widget to set your preferred location.
  6. Tap “Add Widget” to place it on your home screen.

Enhanced Stolen Device Protection: Keep Your Data Safe

iOS 17.4 brings some improvements to the Stolen Device Protection feature, helping you keep your data safe even if your iPhone falls into the wrong hands. This feature requires verification with Face ID in addition to your passcode when performing sensitive actions like changing your Apple ID password or turning off Lost Mode.

With iOS 17.4, you have more control over Stolen Device Protection. You can choose to have it activated all the time (Always) or only when you’re in an unfamiliar location (Away from Familiar Locations). While the ability to set specific trusted locations would be ideal, this update still offers a good layer of security.

Other Cool Features and Bug Fixes

iOS 17.4 is packed with other goodies besides the ones we’ve mentioned. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the other interesting additions:

  • Improved iMessage Security: The new PQ3 iMessage security protocol enhances the security of your chats.
  • Message Business Features: Businesses using iMessage for customer interactions get some new features to streamline communication.
  • Multilingual Siri Assistant: Siri can now read your messages aloud in multiple languages, making it more accessible for users around the world.
  • Passkey Support for Browsers: Browsers on iOS 17.4 can now utilize passkeys for a more secure login experience.
  • Blurred Wallpaper Background in Call Screen: The background on your call screen now gets a cool blurred effect, making the focus on the call itself.
  • Bug Fix for Notification Swipe: A pesky notification bug

Should You Update to iOS 17.4? Absolutely!

Whether you’re an emoji enthusiast, a security-conscious user, or simply someone who likes having the latest features, iOS 17.4 offers something for everyone. Here’s a quick breakdown of why you should update your iPhone:

  • EU Users Rejoice! If you live in the European Union, iOS 17.4 is a game-changer. Sideloading opens doors to a wider selection of apps and potentially more competitive app stores.
  • Express Yourself Better: With 18 new emojis to choose from, you can communicate your emotions and ideas with even more nuance and flair.
  • Stay on Time in Style: The new City Digital clock widget is a functional and attractive addition to your home screen.
  • Enhanced Security: The improved Stolen Device Protection feature and the new PQ3 iMessage protocol give you peace of mind knowing your data is safe.
  • Bug Fixes and Performance Improvements: As with any update, iOS 17.4 likely addresses bugs and improves overall performance, making your iPhone experience smoother.

How to Update to iOS 17.4

Updating to iOS 17.4 is a quick and easy process. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Back-Up Your iPhone: Before updating, it’s always a good idea to back up your iPhone. You can do this through iCloud or iTunes.
  2. Go to Settings: Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  3. Navigate to General: Tap on “General.”
  4. Access Software Update: Tap on “Software Update.”
  5. Download and Install: If iOS 17.4 is available, you’ll see it listed here. Tap “Download and Install” to begin the update process.

Your iPhone will automatically restart and install the update. Once it’s finished, you’ll be good to go with all the new features of iOS 17.4!

Beyond the Update: Exploring Sideloading (EU Only)

For our readers in the EU, the ability to sideload apps is a significant change. But with great freedom comes great responsibility! Here are some things to keep in mind before you start sideloading apps:

  • Security: Only download apps from trusted sources. There’s a higher risk of malware with sideloaded apps compared to those in the App Store, which go through Apple’s security checks.
  • Compatibility: Sideloaded apps might not be optimized for iOS or your specific iPhone model, potentially leading to crashes or performance issues.
  • Updates: You’ll be responsible for manually updating sideloaded apps, unlike App Store apps that update automatically.

We recommend doing your research before sideloading any apps. Look for reviews from trusted sources and make sure the app developer has a good reputation.

Conclusion: iOS 17.4 – A Step Forward for iPhones

iOS 17.4 is a substantial update that brings a variety of new features and improvements to iPhones. Whether you’re an EU user excited about sideloading or someone who simply wants the latest emojis and security enhancements, there’s something for everyone in this update. So, grab your iPhone, back it up, and update to iOS 17.4 today!

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