iOS 17.4 update: 10 things you didn’t know you could do with iPhone’s latest update

Transcribe audio messages, control music together in the car, and create stickers of your beloved pets: iOS 17.4 is here, and it's one of the biggest updates yet...

iOS 17.4 uddate

by Ryan Houghton |
Updated on

Apple's most recent iOS 17.4 is here, and with it comes countless new features to get the most out of your smart tech. Even the best phones of the year can always benefit from an upgrade, but iOS 17.4 is being rolled out across iPhones going back to 2018's iPhone XR.

Filled with brilliant, weird and wonderful features, efficiency improvements and hidden tricks to get the most out of your socialising, iOS 17.4 has plenty to explore for iPhone owners to use in their daily lives.

Sometimes, however, in our busy lives, we rarely get a chance to read up on what's new with our existing iPhone, and features come as an off-chance surprise later on that would've typically gone unnoticed. If, like us, you're keen to discover what's new with the iPhone and start getting the most out of your flagship phone, read on - you won't regret it.

We've compiled five of our favourite new features from Apple that'll give even the best Android phones a run for their money, making browsing easier and giving you access to some quality-of-life goodness that iPhones are well-known for.

Ten things you can do with iOS 17.4:

1.) Check In

Apple Check In

A brilliant extra features from iOS 17.4: set a destination and let your friends, family or colleagues know when you'll arrive. Once you reach your destination, Check In notifies the recipient that you've arrived on-time.

Perfect if you're on a tight schedule, or you're concerned that your friend did indeed "drive safe" as you may have said. Check In is a neat little add-on that looks clean, as well as informing the recipient of battery life, network signal, and even the route taken.

2.) Leave a message

Instead of leaving a message after the beep, iOS 17.4 allows you to record a personalised video message for your callers, showing as a recording.

This small, but impressive change to FaceTime and iMessage is a nifty little idea and is bound to look fantastic on the iPhone's gorgeous screen.

3.) NameDrop

Apple Number Share

Share email addresses and phone numbers by simply tapping iPhones together. This instant, time-saving feature gives iPhone users a nice speed boost, and you don't need the best iPhones of the year to use it, you can even use your Apple Watch to NameDrop too.

4.) StandBy

Apple StandBy

A somewhat secret, but impressive new feature from iOS 17.4, if you tilt your iPhone sideways whilst you're charging, you can access a bunch of features that you don't otherwise get on your lock screen, perfect for placing on a bedside table before getting some shuteye.

See photo memories, your calendar, and a full-scale clock that's perfect for nighttime use. You can also adjust the brightness with Night Mode to avoid excessive screen glare.

StandBy also allows you to see Live Activities, showing you Uber Eats live update orders, football match scores, and more.

5.) Stickers

Apple Stickers

Perhaps you've discovered this by luck, or not at all, iOS 17.4 has introduced the ability to create personalised stickers from your photos, so you can turn even your cuddly pets into amazing stickers. Add them to photos and use them as emojis in chats, this fun little feature is fantastic for creating your own quick memes, decorating photos, and more.

6.) Offline map download

If you're keen on traversing the great outdoors, where even 5G is limited, you might want to have a backup plan to find your way home.

Now, with Apple Maps, you can download area maps and find useful information such as car electric charging points, turn-by-turn directions, and nearby cafes, restaurants and shops, as well as their reviews and opening hours.

7.) Visual Look Up

Apple Visual Lookup

Apple's true competitor with the Google Lens, Visual Look Up allows you to select objects, plants, animals, insects, fish and more from photos and identify them. Like the look of a hoodie? Use Visual Lookup to find it online. Seen a fascinating insect that you've just got to know the name of? Use Visual Look Up to identify it.

Visual Look Up is a huge step in the right direction for Apple's brilliant user-oriented iOS, and you've just got to try it out if you have an iPhone.

8.) Safari profiles

New to iOS 17.4, create work and home profiles to separate search histories, keeping your personal search history safe should you need it to be.

Here, you can switch between profiles, save individual group tabs and keep track of your favourite articles, videos and more, all with separate search histories to access.

9.) Audio message transcription

Apple audio transcription

Tired of listening to an overly long, hard-to-decipher audio message? Or maybe you're on the go without earbuds, use iOS 17.4's audio message transcription and your iPhone translates the message.

This little update is yet another quality-of-life feature you have to try out, it's a game-changer.

10.) SharePlay: control your car music together

Stop fighting over the phone on car journeys to play your favourite jams, connect together with SharePlay, so those even in the back of the car can have their songs heard.

You can even create a playlist with your friends and react to playing songs with emojis, which is amazingly slick to use.

When is the next iOS update going to be released?

Filled entirely with rumours and speculation, many Apple fanatics believe iOS 18 is going to be released this year, and it's going to hold a lot in store for users.

Though nothing official has been confirmed, many are speculating on whether we'll be seeing some AI technology roll out with the update, begging the question: what is the future of AI smartphones?

Needless to say, this is just speculation - but we're incredibly eager to see what Apple has in store for us this year: whether it's a new iPhone, iPad or laptop.

Is iOS 17.4 worth it?

All-in-all, there are so many new features and optimisations that were introduced with the latest iOS 17, that it's difficult to not recommend it. If you're an iPhone user, you simply have to try these features out. Not only are they incredibly smart, they're also very useful too.

And what's more, you don't need the latest iPhone to use it: even the iPhone XR is having the iOS 17.4 update, so you can save your money for a new phone a little longer.

Ryan Houghtonis a commercial content writer for What’s The Best, known best for his expertise in gaming, with a particular soft spot for PC gaming, audio tech, televisions and smartphones.

Diligently writing for What’s The Best for almost two years, there are very few tech products Ryan hasn’t had his hands on to review; televisions, headphones, folding phones and even LEGO, if it’s nerdy, he’ll be there.

His well-versed history as one of the resident techies at What’s The Best has kept him keen to uncover the very best deals, savings and offers for those in need of a cracking deal to upgrade their setup.

In his downtime, Ryan most likely has his nose buried in a fantasy book, or his eyes glued to a screen whilst playing a tough-as-nails Soulslike or leisurely RPG, indulging in most forms of escapism where possible.

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