iOS 17.4 Beta 1 rolls out with sideloading & alternative app stores support for the EU

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Days after rolling out iOS 17.3, Apple is seeding out iOS 17.4 developer beta 1 gives a test drive sort of ride before the stable version is released in a few weeks. iOS 17.3 arrived with Stolen Device Protection among others, however, some users are facing issues updating to the same and there are also boot loop issues on iPhones with Back Tap enabled. Well, the question is, what’s different with iOS 17.4 Beta 1?

Apple rolls out iOS 17.4 Beta 1

iOS 17.4 beta 1 is a precursor to public iOS 17.4 and offers a tonne of features and upgrades. For starters, the Cupertino-based giant is rolling out features in compliance with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) that bring features such as sideloading of apps and, the ability to use alternative search engines on the browser among others.

As of now, the features are available for the EU markets only. It includes the ability to sideload apps from third-party app stores, and non-Webkit iOS browsers that allow users to deploy other search engines instead of the default. Finally, users can choose their default browsers after launching Safari once they install 17.4. Note that some of the features mentioned above are for developers and some are not available in the beta version. This being said, users should get their hands on these features once the public iOS 17.4 is available.

According to Apple, it has included 600+ new APIs with the iOS 17.4 beta that will operate on different instances. However, it also carves the way for malware, harmful and illicit content, and security and privacy threats to infect the devices.

Talking about sideloading of apps, the feature will be available full-fledged in public iOS 17.4 and for people in the EU albeit there are some caveats. Users won’t be able to seek a refund for apps purchased outside the App Store. The Family Purchase Sharing and Ask to Buy on iPhone won’t be compatible with apps either downloaded or purchased from third-party app stores.

Fortunately, App Tracking Transparency (ATT) is still enabled even for apps sourced from third-party stores forbidding these apps from tracking user data and sharing it with their respective app developer.

When it comes to the release date, the public iOS 17.4 will likely arrive in March which means there will be more beta versions to arrive in the meantime. Non-EU users won’t get these changes and would rather have the usual bug fixes and optimizations among others on their plate.

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