Apple’s iOS 17.4 comes with new transcripts for Apple Podcasts, and more

iOS 17.4 – Apple’s latest update to its mobile operating system – has finally made its debut, bringing a slew of significant changes and enhancements. These range from new emoji characters to regulatory adjustments aimed at compliance with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in the EU.

For users in the European Union, iOS 17.4 brings major changes related to the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA requires Apple to allow users to install apps from outside the App Store. The update is available for download over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update.

There is also a new “About Your Default Browser” screen that prompts you to pick a new default browser at any time (this ensures that Apple is compliant with the provisions of the DMA). Click on “Not Now” to retain Safari as the default browser, and “Continue” to receive the list of alternate browsers, and tapping on one will take you to its listing on the App Store to install it.

Furthermore, the new update injects new life into communication with a range of fresh emoji characters. Users can now express approval or disapproval with nodding and shaking heads, break free with a broken chain emoji, rise from the ashes with a phoenix, or simply declare their love for limes. Additionally, 18 people and body emoji allow users to choose the direction they face, offering greater personalization. These new emoji characters are also available in macOS 14.4 on the Mac, watchOS 10.4 for Apple Watch, and iPadOS 17.4 for iPad.

With the update, Apple Podcasts also gains a valuable feature with the addition of auto-generated transcripts. These transcripts synchronize with the audio in English, Spanish, French, and German, allowing users to follow along with the episode, search for specific words or phrases, jump to specific points in time, and leverage accessibility features like text size adjustments, increased contrast, and VoiceOver. Apple notes that the transcripts for Apple Podcasts will automatically be available for new episodes once they are published, and will be made available on iPadOS 17.4 as well.

“Introducing transcripts on Apple Podcasts builds on Apple’s commitment to making products and services for everyone,” Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s senior director, Global Accessibility Policy & Initiatives, commented on the matter. “We are thrilled to make transcripts widely available for all, adding an additional layer of accessibility to the Podcasts experience.”

The Stolen Device Protection feature, introduced in iOS 17.3, receives an upgrade in iOS 17.4. Users can now enable an option for increased security in all locations. This means that even when not in unfamiliar places, the stolen device will require more authentication steps, such as Face ID or Touch ID, to access apps and disable Lost Mode, making it significantly harder for thieves to gain access to user data. Similarly, CarPlay receives an update in iOS 17.4, with a new feature allowing users to toggle between street-level navigation and route overview on vehicles equipped with instrument cluster secondary displays.

Other features include expanded payment options, wherein iOS 17.4 introduces virtual card numbers for Apple Cash. Users can now pay at merchants who don’t yet accept Apple Pay by entering their virtual card number found in the Wallet app or using Safari AutoFill. Furthermore, businesses can now leverage Messages for Business to provide trusted information about order status, flight notifications, fraud alerts, and other transactions.