Ahead of Apple’s big EU App Store overhaul in iOS 17.4, developers can now try out the update’s new features in App Store Connect and TestFlight.
According to a post on Apple’s Developer website, "Developers who have agreed to the new business terms can now use new features in App Store Connect and the App Store Connect API to set up marketplace distribution and marketplace apps and use TestFlight to beta test these features. TestFlight also supports apps using alternative browser engines, and alternative payments through payment service providers and linking out to a webpage."
Previously, iPhone apps could only be distributed through Apple’s App Store. Because of a Digital Markets Act (DMA) ruling by the EU, Apple is now required to offer alternative ways for developers to distribute their apps, as well as offering different payment platforms and allowing web browsers to use different web engines — all with a deadline of March 5 for these reforms to be in place. Subsequently, Apple announced how it would comply with these big changes for EU iPhone users and developers in January with iOS 17.4.
As for TestFlight, it allows developers to roll out updates to their apps for users to try out, quash any bugs, and give feedback. With these new features in iOS 17.4 beta, developers will be able to test third-party app marketplaces, and the rest of these EU App Store changes.
If you want to try out the iOS 17.4 beta, you can go to Settings > General > Software Update > Beta Updates. We should mention, though, that installing a beta version comes with its own risks — so install with caution.
What else does iOS 17.4 bring?
It’s not just these changes, spurred by the EU, that are coming to iOS 17.4. New emojis, such as a phoenix, a mushroom, and more will be included. Apple’s Podcasts app will automatically transcribe episodes, allowing those with hearing impairments to read along with their favorite show.
Finally, Apple’s next-gen CarPlay has also been discovered in iOS 17.4, with eight new CarPlay apps being prepared. New functions include checking if the car doors are closed, climate controls, and more.
There’s no word when this major update will be available for iPhones, but with the DMA deadline of March 5 fast approaching, we wouldn’t be surprised to see iOS 17.4 arrive by the end of the month.
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Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use everyday to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.
Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64 and Daily Star.