Apple has released its latest iOS update today iOS 17.4, the most recent update for iPhone users. This update is noteworthy for introducing features that Apple was initially hesitant to implement on the iPhone, sparking controversy even before its release.

The launch of iOS 17.4 comes as Apple seeks to adhere to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), a comprehensive set of regulations targeting major tech corporations like Apple. This legislation marks a significant shift, allowing developers to create their own app stores. This move enables users to download apps directly, bypassing the traditional App Store.

This development means companies like Google can establish their app stores, subject to their guidelines, albeit they must adhere to stringent conditions. These include paying Apple a fee for app installations and following specific app availability guidelines. Furthermore, the update introduces alternative payment methods, granting developers the freedom to process payments outside of Apple’s system, although fees to Apple still apply.

Apple has expressed concerns that these modifications could compromise iPhone security, as they open up possibilities for app downloads and payments outside of Apple’s secure ecosystem. Despite complying with the DMA, Apple has voiced opposition to these mandates for years.

The company reassures that iPhones will remain secure for users who opt not to utilize these new features. However, it warns that European users might face increased risks, especially if required to download apps from external sources for work or educational purposes.

These new features are exclusive to users in the European Union. Those who use them in Europe but relocate elsewhere for an extended period will find these capabilities disabled, according to Apple.

In addition to these region-specific changes, iOS 17.4 introduces a significant global policy update: the acceptance of streaming gaming apps, like Xbox Cloud Gaming, on the App Store. This marks a departure from Apple’s previous policy, which necessitated accessing such services via the web.

The update also includes new emojis, such as a lime, and offers podcast transcripts. Additionally, it introduces PQ3, Apple’s advanced security measures designed to safeguard messages against potential threats from quantum computing.

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