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What the new mandatory update brings to the EU

What the new mandatory update brings to the EU

Apple has finally released iOS 17.4. It contains some changes requested by the European Union.

Widgets under iOS17 have finally been improved and therefore more functional. – Upload photos

The basics in a nutshell

  • Apple has released a new update.
  • iOS 17.4 brings important changes for EU citizens.

The latest update to Apple's operating system, iOS 17.4, is an important change for iPhone users in the European Union. This update has been implemented under the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA) and brings some notable changes.

The most obvious innovation is the ability to install alternative app stores on iPhones within the European Union. This is a step that Apple has strongly rejected so far. However, this option remains theoretical for now, as there are no such alternative stores yet.

Once available, users can install another app store on their devices and get apps from there. There is even the possibility of setting one of these alternative stores as the primary software source, der Standard reports.

Fortnite problem

Apple has reauthorized an Epic “Fortnite” developer account just days after banning it. The EU Commission sees this as a success of the new digital DMA law.

The makers of the online game “Fortnite” can now continue working on a return to the iPhone in the European Union. Apple reopened the developer account that was closed a few days ago on Friday. In discussions, Epic promised to follow the platform's rules including implementing the digital DMA. This was the reason given by the iPhone company.

Safety concerns and regulatory hurdles

Despite these new freedoms, Apple warns of potential risks from alternative software sources. The company fears, among other things, the spread of pornographic content or piracy applications through these platforms.

In addition, Apple has taken measures to make running alternative app stores as unattractive as possible. This includes financial and regulatory regulations for operators. Ultimately, Apple decides which App Store will be approved.

Apple should also review apps distributed through other stores. This includes, among other things, scanning for malware and checking the accuracy of the application description. Each app is signed with a digital certificate from Apple that can be revoked if necessary.

iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max – Apple

With iOS 17.4, apps in the EU can now also use other providers for payments – another DMA innovation. It remains to be seen whether this option will actually be used.

Another change affects the default browser on iPhone: After updating to iOS 17.4, users are explicitly asked to select which browser they would like to set as the default.

iOS 17.4: Expectations for future developments

It's still unclear when and if alternative app stores will actually appear. However, the Ukrainian company MacPaw has already announced such a store. Game manufacturer Epic is also planning to bring its game “Fortnite” back to iPhones in this way.

Despite all the changes, one thing remains the same: there will be no true “sideloading”, i.e. manual installation of apps. This is a point that has often been misinterpreted in the debate over DMA.

Apple's implementation of DMA has already caused a lot of criticism in advance. Companies like Spotify and Epic spoke out about their “adverse compliance” situation in an open letter. They called on the European Union to intervene.

Contactless payment and other innovations

Another point imposed by the DMA is the ability to process contactless payments with other applications. Previously, access to the NFC chip was limited to Apple Pay.

In addition to these organizational changes, iOS 17.4 also brings a number of new features, including new emoji and text for podcasts and an iMessage update.

The update to iOS 17.4 can be downloaded directly onto the device as usual via System Update. It remains to be seen what impact these changes will actually have: both for iPhone users and in relation to future discussions between the EU and Apple.