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Apple's ends App Store tyranny in Europe with the latest iOS 17.4 update

EU users can now download alternative app stores on their iPhones and iPads.
By

Published onMarch 5, 2024

Apple App Store stock photo 3
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Apple is now rolling out the iOS 17.4 update.
  • The software opens up access to alternative app stores and in-app payment methods in the EU.
  • It also brings a number of other new features to iOS and iPadOS users worldwide.

Apple has been forced to open up its walled App Store garden for the first time ever. The company is now rolling out iOS 17.4 and iPadOS 17.4 with changes to app policies in the European Union. This is the fourth big iOS 17 update since the software was released in September.

Thanks to the EU’s famous Digital Markets Act, Apple now lets users download and use alternative app stores in the region. EU users can also set these third-party app stores as the default on their devices. There are a couple of different alternative app stores that will be available very soon, including Setapp, Epic’s iOS games store, and more.

iOS 17.4 also introduces alternative payment systems, third-party browser engine support, and NFC access for banks and payment providers other than Apple on iOS and iPadOS. All these features will be available only in Europe, while Apple’s stance remains unchanged in the rest of the world. These changes to Apple’s policies will make using iPhones and iPads starkly different in Europe compared to the rest of the world.

Following are the iOS 17.4 update release notes Apple is sharing with its EU customers:

Residents of the European Union will now have new options to:

  • Install apps from alternative app marketplaces
  • Install web browser with alternative browser engines
  • Manage your default web browser the first time you open Safari
  • Use alternative payment options for apps in the App Store with the external purchases badge
  • Some options require developer support

iPhone and iPad users in the US and other parts of the world will see a different changelog that does not mention the EU changes.

Other changes common to all users on iOS 17.4 include transcripts in Apple Podcasts, new emojis, Music recognition, Siri message announcements, Stolen Device Protection, updated Battery Health settings, and more.