iOS 17.4 Beta 4: Should You Update?

Apple recently released the fourth beta version of iOS 17.4 Beta 4, bringing the highly anticipated update one step closer to public release. iOS 17.4 packs several notable new features and changes that aim to improve the overall user experience on iPhone.

As with any beta software, updating does come with some risks. Bugs and issues are to be expected with beta releases. However, iOS 17.4 Beta 4 comes relatively late in the beta testing cycle, meaning many of the major bugs have likely been addressed.

So should you update to iOS 17.4 Beta 4? Here is a comprehensive look at what’s new in iOS 17.4 and an analysis of the potential benefits and drawbacks of updating now versus waiting for the public release.

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An Overview of the Major Changes in iOS 17.4

Before deciding whether to update, it helps to have a clear understanding of what’s included in the iOS 17.4 update. Here are some of the most significant changes and new features users will find if they update to iOS 17.4 Beta 4:

Enhanced Security with End-to-End Encrypted iMessage

One of the banner features in iOS 17.4 is the new ability to enable end-to-end encryption for iMessage conversations. This provides an extra layer of security by ensuring only the sender and recipient can access message contents.

Apple states the new end-to-end encryption is designed to withstand potential future attacks from quantum computers. It’s a timely addition that tech-savvy users will appreciate as quantum computing could pose a threat to current encryption standards.

Refreshed ‘Hello’ Screen with Apple ID Photo

The “Hello” screen displayed when unlocking your iPhone or iPad now includes the profile photo associated with your Apple ID. It’s a small but noticeable change that makes the unlock screen feel a bit more personalized.

More Customizable CarPlay Experience

CarPlay users will enjoy deeper integration and customization options with compatible vehicle displays like the Polestar 2’s instrument cluster. iOS 17.4 brings support for customizing clustering, allowing drivers to configure what metrics and content they want front and center on the vehicle dashboard.

Decoupled Battery Health Info

iOS 17.4 decouples battery health details from the battery charging optimization setting. In earlier versions of iOS, toggling the Battery Health setting on/off would show different battery maximum capacity and peak performance capability metrics.

Now battery health information is static, avoiding confusion about actual battery lifespan when adjusting charging optimization settings.

Simplified Battery Status Display

In tandem with the Battery Health change, iOS 17.4 simplifies the battery status information shown in Settings. The new display clearly shows maximum battery capacity and if the battery needs to be serviced. Gone are previous confusing metrics like peak performance capability.

Extended Battery Longevity for iPhone 15 Lineup

New with iOS 17.4 is Battery Health features that extend the lifespan of an iPhone 15 series battery. Optimized charging works in tandem with Deep Integration on iPhone 15 models to learn user charging patterns and optimize both charging speed and battery longevity.

The Key Benefits of Updating Now

Updating to iOS 17.4 Beta 4 today provides early access to test out all the new features and changes coming in the public release. Here are some of the most compelling benefits for upgrading now:

Try Out New Features Before Everyone Else

Eager to be among the first to experience iOS 17’s updates? Updating to the iOS 17.4 beta allows you to take the new version for a spin and explore all of the changes before the general public. You’ll get a head start on learning the ins and outs of features like end-to-end encrypted iMessage.

Provide Feedback to Apple

Testing out iOS 17.4 Beta 4 gives you the opportunity to provide Apple with constructive feedback that can further improve the software before the final public release. Reporting bugs, issues, and general feedback directly to Apple helps them identify and resolve problems facing real-world users.

Enjoy Improvements Now

While the beta release comes with risks, iOS 17.4 also brings definite improvements even in beta form. You’ll likely enjoy interface refinements like the updated Hello screen as well as under-the-hood enhancements to security, CarPlay integration, and battery management.

Get a Leg Up on App Developers

Developers will be iterating apps and services to take advantage of iOS 17.4 changes like new CarPlay capabilities. Updating early allows you to identify potential app issues and get a sense of how the app ecosystem will evolve around iOS 17.4.

The Potential Drawbacks of Updating Now

Of course, updating to a beta operating system release also comes with some caveats. Here are a few of the most significant downsides to keep in mind:

Bugs and Stability Issues

As with any beta software, you may encounter bugs, glitches, crashes, and general stability issues. Key apps may not function properly. Certain features could be incomplete or temperamental. Plan for a bumpier experience compared to the relative polish of a public iOS release.

Some Apps May Not Work

In addition to potential crashes and bugs, some third-party apps may not yet be optimized to work properly on iOS 17.4. You may find certain apps unusable until the developers release updates. This could limit app functionality in the meantime.

Can’t Downgrade Easily to Earlier iOS

Once you update to iOS 17.4 Beta 4, you can’t easily revert back to an earlier version of iOS. Downgrading requires completely wiping your device and restoring from a backup. Plan on using iOS 17.4 Beta for the long haul if you update now.

Shorter Battery Life

Beta software versions are not fully optimized and often drain battery life faster than public releases. You may notice faster battery drain and the need to charge your iPhone more frequently when running iOS 17.4 Beta 4.

Public Release Delay Possible

There’s always a chance installing the iOS 17.4 beta could lead to issues that delay the final public launch. If any major show-stopping bugs arise, Apple may keep iOS 17.4 in beta testing longer to address problems.

Final Verdict: Should You Update to iOS 17.4 Beta 4?

So what’s the final verdict? Should average users upgrade to iOS 17.4 Beta 4 today or wait for the public release?

In general, installing the iOS 17.4 beta makes the most sense for tech-savvy iPhone users who don’t mind troubleshooting issues and providing feedback to Apple. Early adopters eager to try out new features will appreciate the chance to experience everything iOS 17.4 has to offer.

However, most everyday users will likely want to wait for the final public release. The beta still carries risk of bugs, glitches, and app compatibility issues that could make for a frustrating daily experience. Patience will provide the smoothest, most refined version of iOS 17.4 in the end.

But for those comfortable dealing with the quirks of beta software, iOS 17.4 Beta 4 offers an exciting sneak peek at the iPhone updates on the horizon. Just be wary of instability and temper your expectations when running pre-release software.

Key Takeaways:

  • iOS 17.4 Beta 4 brings several notable new features like end-to-end encrypted iMessage, a refreshed Hello screen, customizable CarPlay, and battery enhancements.
  • Updating now allows early access to test out features, provide Apple feedback, and get ahead of app developers.
  • However, risks include bugs, app compatibility issues, battery drain, and overall instability.
  • Tech-savvy users eager for early access may benefit from updating to the beta.
  • Average users will likely have the best experience waiting for the public iOS 17.4 release.

Table Comparing iOS 17.4 Beta 4 vs Previous iOS Versions

FeatureiOS 17.3iOS 17.4 Beta 4
End-to-End Encrypted iMessageNoYes
Updated Hello ScreenNoYes
Customizable CarPlayLimited optionsMore instrumentation clustering customization
Battery Health DetailsCoupled with charging settingsDecoupled from charging settings
Battery Status DisplayMore metrics like “Peak Performance Capability”Simplified display with focus on capacity and servicing
iPhone 15 Battery LongevityStandard battery lifespanOptimized charging and Deep Integration improve lifespan


iOS 17.4 Beta 4 introduces meaningful enhancements but still comes with the risks inherent to beta software. Upgrading now lets iPhone users trial run new features and provide valuable feedback to Apple. However, most general consumers will likely benefit more from exercising some patience and waiting for the public iOS 17.4 release.

Overall, iOS 17.4 shapes up to be a robust update for iPhone users. The encryption, CarPlay, and battery improvements bringrefinements that will become staples of the iOS experience. iOS 17.4 Beta 4 gives us a glimpse of the future, but the full slate of enhancements remains on the horizon for when Apple launches the final stable version in the weeks to come.

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