News: 5 Cool New Features in iOS 11.4 for iPhone

5 Cool New Features in iOS 11.4 for iPhone

A few long-awaited iOS 11 features that Apple had promised way back in June 2017 have finally made their way to iPhones with the iOS 11.4 update. Aside from finally delivering on those, there's not a whole lot new in iOS 11.4 as a whole, though, there are a few things you'll definitely want to know about.

Apple first introduced iOS 11.4 as a beta on April 2, and its current version, iOS 11.4 beta 3, was released on May 1. While the stable version hasn't been released to everyone just yet, below are the features you can expect to find in iOS 11.4 when it does finish beta testing. We'll be updating things as they are added and removed from the beta, to keep this up to date.

By comparison, iOS 11.4 has only a few significant features versus iOS 11.3 which sported over 20 solid feature features over its previous version. And this is no surprise since Apple is hard at work getting iOS working smoothly, which will be a big part of iOS 12 in the near future.

1. Messages on iCloud Is Finally Here

After waiting almost eight months, Messages on iCloud seems to finally be making its way to Apple devices. In the iCloud settings page, you can toggle on "Messages," then open up the Messages app to see the welcome prompt. In previous betas where it appeared briefly, you would toggle on "Messages on iCloud" in the Messages settings. If you plan on using this feature to sync with your Mac, you'll need to be running macOS 10.13.5 beta 1 or higher.

2. You Can Control Music in Multiple Rooms with AirPlay 2

Another feature we've been waiting almost eight months for is AirPlay 2. It showed its face a few times before in previous betas, but this time things are looking good. Right now, it only supports multiroom playback with Apple TVs that are running tvOS 11.4 but will eventually support the HomePod and compatible speakers. You can control the rooms in the Home app and via the Control Center.

Image by iDB/YouTube

3. Siri Plays Nice with AirPlay Commands

Speaking of AirPlay 2, Siri can now initiate play on compatible AirPlay 2 speakers and devices, such as an Apple TV. For instance, you can tell Siri to "Play [Whatever] podcast in the living room," and Siri will start playing it right away. If it's an Apple TV connected via HDMI-CEC, the TV will even turn on if it's currently off. You can also use Siri to initiate and control multi-room playback if you have more than one AirPlay 2 device.

4. 3D Touch's Slow Reaction Is Fixed

This isn't really a feature, but it's a critical fix that was necessary. A few days after iOS 11.3 was released, we discovered that 3D Touch would no longer work on the home screen right away after unlocking the device. In most cases, it would start working after three or four seconds, but if you tried to use it right away on an app icon to see its Quick Actions, it wouldn't work and would instead put you in edit mode. This is finally fixed as of iOS 11.4 beta 3.

The issue that happens in iOS 11.3 up to iOS 11.4 beta 2.

5. There's a New Wallpaper for Some Devices

Yes, yet another wallpaper as a "feature" for iOS, but this time, it's only available for specific iPhone models: the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. This new still wallpaper first appeared on the (PRODUCT) RED iPhone 8 models, but the iPhone X, iPhone 7, etc. doesn't seem to have access to it (but you can download it).

There's ClassKit Support for Education

One of the most significant updates to iOS 11.4 doesn't even pertain to iPhones, unfortunately. The ClassKit framework is for education apps only, which works in conjunction with the "Schoolwork" app on iPads in schools. This allows teachers to give out and collect digital assignments, lets students and teachers collaborate more closely together, and lets teachers track student progress.

If you don't have an iPad given to you from school, you'll never get to experience any of the possibilities ClassKit provides to developers. Maybe one day Apple will finally open these education-only features up to everyone, most notably, Share iPad, which has been a request by iPhone users for some time now.

Image via Apple

As of right now, those are the most prominent changes you can look forward to for iOS 11.4. We'll keep hunting for more features, if any, to add to the list. It's not worth mentioning any more bug fixes since some of them arose in the betas, not beforehand, but we'll be sure to list all the major bug fixes once iOS 11.4 stable comes out.

Cover image and screenshots by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks (unless otherwise indicated)

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