iOS 17.4 Unveiled: A Comprehensive Overview of New Features for Developers

Apple has recently rolled out the highly anticipated iOS 17.4 update, introducing a slew of significant changes to iPhones and iPads, particularly in the European region. While some major adjustments are specific to the European Union (EU), there are noteworthy additions applicable worldwide. Let’s delve into the diverse enhancements featured in this latest update for developers.

EU Changes: Adapting to the Digital Markets Act

Apple’s response to the Digital Markets Act manifests in changes to the App Store and app operations within the EU. These changes, integral to iOS 17.4, primarily impact EU member countries. Notably, these adjustments aim to align with the EU’s regulatory framework, fostering fair competition and user choice.

For developers aiming to leverage this feature, adherence to Apple’s approval process is mandatory, accompanied by the payment of a “Core Technology Fee.” This fee amounts to 50 euro cents per installation once the app surpasses 1 million downloads annually.

1. Alternative App Stores and New App Store Terms: A Paradigm Shift for Developers

Within the EU, app developers can now opt to offer alternative app stores or distribute their apps through alternative channels. This paradigm shift comes with a revamped fee structure, presenting developers with new business models. The introduction of a standard fee and a reduced commission for apps distributed through the App Store reflects Apple’s commitment to accommodating diverse developer needs.

2. Alternative Payment Options: Empowering App Developers

In a strategic move, Apple now permits apps within the EU to utilize alternative payment options, liberating developers from the mandatory in-app purchase requirement. This change not only offers developers more flexibility but also introduces a three percent discount on App Store fees for those embracing alternative payment methods.

3. Alternative Browser Engines

In iOS 17.4, individuals residing in the European Union now have the capability to download alternative browser engines that diverge from Apple’s WebKit, such as Chrome and Firefox. This is facilitated through a novel choice screen integrated into iOS Safari, prompting users to designate a default browser upon the browser’s initial opening. While no official announcements have been made regarding specific alternative browsers, ongoing experiments by both Google and Mozilla suggest the potential release of new iOS browsers to the public in the future.

4. Web Apps: Progressive Web Apps Regain Functionality

Initially restricted in functionality within the EU, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) have now been reinstated in iOS 17.4. This reversal follows user feedback and ensures that Home Screen Web Apps are no longer disabled. However, it’s crucial to note that WebKit support is required for proper functionality.

5. NFC Access (EEA): Elevating Contactless Payments

In the European Economic Area (EEA), third-party payment apps and banks now have access to the iPhone’s NFC chip, enabling them to facilitate contactless payments directly without reliance on Apple Pay or the Wallet app. This enhancement aims to streamline payment experiences for users, who can now set their preferred contactless payment provider.

50+ New Reports through App Store Connect API (Worldwide)

App Store Connect now includes more than 50 new reports available to enable developers to analyze their apps’ App Store and iOS performance. Embedded within these reports are hundreds of novel metrics, providing the opportunity to thoroughly evaluate developers’ performance and identify specific areas for improvement.

Gaming App Changes (Worldwide): Expanding Gaming Horizons

iOS 17.4 marks a significant milestone for gaming apps worldwide, as streaming game apps are now allowed on the App Store. This policy shift enables popular services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce NOW to be offered as standalone iPhone and iPad apps. Additionally, mini games, chatbots, and plug-ins can now utilize the in-app purchase system.

App Store: Comprehensive Purchase History

A significant enhancement in the App Store is the Purchase feature, now providing users with account-wide purchase history for their Apple ID. This includes details on TV and movie purchases, music purchases, subscriptions, and app purchases, organized under a dedicated “Apps” section.

Hey Siri: Expanded Language Options

The latest update enables users to use “Siri” instead of “Hey Siri” for voice activation in French, German, and Spanish, providing an expanded range of language options.

As part of iOS 17.4, Apple also introduced new emoji, transcripts in Apple Podcasts and other features, bug fixes, and security updates. Here you can find all the features included in the latest update. 

Written by Sophie Blake


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