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iOS 17.4 Features: Changes to Podcasts, Siri, new emoji and more

Apple has released the first beta for iOS 17.4, which will carry some huge changes for some iPhone owners but less for others.

The first developer beta usually shows us what we’re in store for when Apple drops the update on iPhone users a few weeks later. Not all features make the cut for that release, but it gives us a good idea.

Apple announced a shift change in the way people can download apps in the EU, but that’s of no concern to users in the UK and beyond where the status quo will remain.

Elsewhere, there are changes for Apple Podcasts, Apple Music, Siri, Stolen Device Protection and some more fun emoji.

Here’s what’s new so far (thanks to 9to5Mac for digging through the beta). It’s possible Apple adds/removes features in future beta versions.

App Store changes in the EU

Apple confirmed that for EU users, it will open up to new app marketplaces, meaning there’ll be other ways to download apps than the official App Store. It will also allow new in-app payment methods outside of the official Apple system.

We explained these changes, the result of new EU legislation, when Apple announced them on January 25 and they will not alter the situation for users in the UK and the United States.

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Apple Podcasts transcripts

Apple is improving its Podcast app again in iOS 17.4. First of all, there’ll be automatically-generated transcripts for episodes. Here’s how it’ll work.

“Apple automatically generates transcripts after a new episode is published. Your episode will be available for listening right away, and the transcript will be available shortly afterwards.

“There will be a short delay while we process your transcript. If portions of your episode change with dynamically inserted audio, Apple Podcasts will not display the segments of the audio that have changed since the original transcription. Music lyrics are also not displayed in the transcripts.”

Elsewhere, Apple is redesigned the Now Playing bar and has renamed the Listen Now tab to Home. On the latter front, it has done the same with Apple Music.

New emoji

Apple will introduce some new emoji characters in iOS 17.4. The brand new ones are listed below, while there are 118 in total. The others are variances on existing emoji with diversity and direction considerations (via Emojipedia).

They include:

  • Head Shaking Horizontally
  • Head Shaking Vertically
  • Phoenix Bird
  • Lime
  • Brown Mushroom
  • Broken Chain


In iOS 17.4 you can choose additional languages to read messages in beyond the default. You’ll need to head to Settings > Siri & Search > Messaging with Siri and browse down to the Read section.

Stolen Device Protection

Apple has already decided upon a change for its new Stolen Device Protection feature launched in iOS 17.3 this week. It’s a user friendly change too. Instead of users requiring the new hour-long Security Delay when changing an essential security setting (like the Apple ID Password) in only unfamiliar locations, users can choose to require it in any setting. Effectively it means you need to re-authenticate a change an hour later before it takes effect.

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