After months of testing, iOS 11.4 has been released to the public as a free download for iPhone and iPad. The update brings three significant new features, plus some other small improvements and fixes.
The big new additions iOS 11.4 brings is AirPlay 2, HomePod stereo pairing, and Messages on iCloud. All features which have long been promised for iOS 11 since released last year.
AirPlay 2 is a feature that is all about multi-room audio around your home. It allows you to wirelessly stream audio (including music) from your iPhone or iPad to multiple AirPlay 2-enabled speakers around your home. This includes HomePod, Apple’s wireless speaker.
As an example, you have one HomePod in the bedroom and one in the living room. You will be able to play one song in the bedroom, and a second in the living room. Or play a song on both speakers at the exact same time – filling your home with audio.
AirPlay 2 also works with Siri, Apple’s voice assistant, so you can now control AirPlay 2 using your voice. As an example, you can say “Hey Siri, play Lorde’s new album in the living room”.
You can learn more about AirPlay 2 and how it works from Apple’s website.
HomePod Stereo Pairing
iOS 11.4 also brings a big new feature to HomePod. In addition to being able to now have multiple HomePods in your home, they can be paired together to create stereo sound.
If you own two HomePod Speakers, and they are places near each other, they can be set up as a stereo pair. Apple says this will deliver room-filling sound that is more spacious than traditional stereo. Bringing greater bass extension, deeper, and more accurate reproduction of low frequencies.
I’ll detail HomePod Pairing more in-depth in a future article.
Messages on iCloud
Perhaps one of the biggest features of iOS 11 I’ve been looking forward too is finally available in iOS 11.4. Messages on iCloud is all about storing your messages in your iCloud account, which enables better syncing, and more.
When turned on, all your iMessages and SMS’s will be stored and uploaded to your iCloud account. For starters, this will potentially free up space on your device because it includes attachments such as photos and videos.
But it also means your messages will be synced across all your iCloud devices. And if you delete a message on one device, it will automatically be deleted elsewhere. For example, in the past I would have different messages and threads on my iPhone compared to my iPad – this will no longer be the case.
You can learn more about how to enable Messages on iCloud from Apple’s website.
How To Update
Updating to iOS 11.4 is easy. Simply tap Settings on your iPhone or iPad, then tap General, and thirdly, Software Update. You will then be able to download and install the update, providing you have an eligible device.