Apple has released iOS 11.4 to the public. The update, available for iPhone and iPad, includes a number of new features that make it special. The software update is available now for download over the air (OTA).
How we got here
In late March, Apple introduced iOS 11.3, which included lots of new features including battery health and performance settings, new Animojis, Business Chat, Health Records, and an upgrade to ARKit. Soon after, developers began testing iOS 11.4. In total, Apple released six iOS 11.4 beta versions before today’s public launch.
What’s new in iOS 11.4?
With iOS 11.4, Apple finally adds two iOS 11 features that were first announced at last year’s WWDC, AirPlay 2 and Messages in iCloud. Other minor features are also in this update.
AirPlay 2 had made numerous appearances in beta versions of iOS 11.3 but didn’t make the cut. It’s finally here in iOS 11.4.
With AirPlay 2, you can use “multi-room audio” from iOS devices, making it easier to control speakers using Control Center, the Home app, or with Siri. Previously, this was only available through iTunes under macOS or Windows.
Thanks to AirPlay 2 and a companion firmware update, users with more than one HomePod can finally listen in stereo. This will bring multi-room and stereo pairing to the HomePod and Apple TV.
Messages in iCloud
Best called the big tease, Messages in iCloud has been added and removed from iOS 11 beta versions for what seems like forever. The feature moves Messages to iCloud and in doing so, allows you to sync conversations across all of your devices, including iOS, macOS, and watchOS.
In other words, when you delete a message on one device, it’s gone on the others too.
Schoolwork and ClassKit
For educational users on iOS 11.4 devices, Apple has introduced Schoolwork and ClassKit. Both features were first announced at Apple’s Chicago-based educational event on March 27.
ClassKit allows app developers to add features that can be used by educational institutions with Apple School Manager and Managed Apple IDs. Teachers assign activities in Schoolwork with students’ progress recorded in ClassKit-enabled apps.
Other iOS 11.4 features
The latest version of iOS 11.4 also adds a few minor features, including:
- (PRODUCT)RED iPhone wallpaper on iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. If you own a different iPhone, you can install the wallpapers manually.
- HomePod support for Calendar
You can grab the iOS 11.4 software from iDownloadBlog’s Download page.
To deploy the latest software update over the air, go into the Settings app on your iOS device, then go General > Software Update, then follow the onscreen instructions to download and install the update.
For the full list of fixes and new features in iOS 11.4, check out the official release notes.
iOS 11.4 release notes
iOS 11.4 includes AirPlay 2 multi-room audio, support for HomePod stereo pairs, and Messages in iCloud. This update also includes bug fixes and improvements.
- Control your home audio system and AirPlay 2-enabled speakers throughout your house
- Play music at the same time on multiple AirPlay 2-enabled speakers in your house, all in sync
- Control AirPlay 2-enabled speakers from Control Center, the Lock screen, or AirPlay controls within apps on your iPhone or iPad
- Use your voice to control AirPlay 2-enabled speakers with Siri from your iPhone or iPad, HomePod, or Apple TV
- Take a call or play a game on your iPhone or iPad without interrupting playback on your AirPlay 2-enabled speakers
HomePod stereo pair
- This update supports setting up your HomePod stereo pair using your iPhone or iPad
- HomePod pair automatically senses its location in the room and balances the sound based on the speakers’ locations
- Advanced beamforming provides wider soundstage than traditional stereo pair
- HomePod will automatically update to support stereo pairs, unless auto updates are disabled in the Home app
Messages in iCloud
- Store your messages, photos, and other attachments in iCloud and free up space on your devices
- All your messages appear when you sign into a new device with the same iMessage account
- When you delete messages and conversations they are instantly removed from all your devices
- To turn on Messages in iCloud, enable Messages in iCloud settings (Settings > [your name] > iCloud)
- Your conversations continue to be end-to-end encrypted
Other improvements and fixes
- Enables teachers to assign their students reading activities in iBooks using the Schoolwork app
- Fixes an issue where certain character sequences could cause Messages to crash
- Addresses a Messages issue that could cause some messages to appear out of order
- Addresses an issue that could prevent logging in or accessing files on Google Drive, Google Docs and Gmail in Safari
- Fixes an issue that could prevent data syncing in Health
- Fixes an issue that could prevent users from changing what apps can access Health data
- Resolves an issue that could cause an app to appear in an incorrect location on the Home screen
- Fixes an issue where CarPlay audio could become distorted
- Fixes an issue where selecting music from your iPhone could fail when playing music over Bluetooth or when connected to USB on some vehicles
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