iOS 11.4 is finally here, and despite being a smaller update, it brings a long-awaited feature to the table. We’ll break that down for you, right here, right now.
Messages in iCloud
First and foremost, the 11.4 update includes Messages in iCloud. This feature was showcased at WWDC 2017, Apple’s software-based annual developer conference, but only appeared in the beta releases for iOS 11 and iOS 11.3 before being officially released as a part of the 11.4 update.
Before the update, you could have your messages synced across your devices by using the same phone number. Now your messages are synced across your devices and available through iCloud, which means that you can easily switch from Mac to iPhone to iPad and have all of your changes reflected almost immediately across all of the devices connected to the same iCloud account.
Things to take advantage of from this change:
- All of your messages can be synced across all of your devices, provided you have enough iCloud storage for all of them.
- Deleting messages or conversations on one device will delete the selected messages across all of your synced devices, not just the one you delete from.
- If you get a new device, your old messages will automatically appear on that device – you don’t have to restore a backup just to get all of your messages on that new device.
Unfortunately, this feature is only available for iPhone and iPad right now. Until the macOS 10.13.5 update is released (hopefully in a few weeks), Messages on your Mac will not be synced through iCloud. If you don’t want to wait, check out the public beta for macOS 10.13.5.
iOS 11.4 came with some updates to the AirPlay system, namely the addition of multi-speaker syncing of audio so that you can play the same music in multiple rooms. Along with that, you can now use your voice to control AirPlay 2 speakers via Siri by using your iPhone, iPad, HomePod, or Apple TV. Additionally, taking a phone call no longer interrupts your music, as playback will continue even while you’re on the phone.
HomePod Stereo Pair
As for the HomePod, iOS11.4 allows users to set up their HomePod stereo pair with an iPhone or iPad, senses its location in the room in relation to other speakers and balances sound automatically, and allows for auto updates (if they’re enabled in the Home app).