News: iOS 11.4 Beta 6 Released, Includes Fix for 'Black Dot' Bug & Under-the-Hood Patches

iOS 11.4 Beta 6 Released, Includes Fix for 'Black Dot' Bug & Under-the-Hood Patches

Talk about rapid-fire. Apple released the sixth beta for iOS 11.4 on Thursday, May 17. The update comes just three days after the release of iOS 11.4 beta 5, indicating that Apple is readily approaching the official release of the software. Apple has not issued an official iOS update since 11.3.1, which found its way to users over three weeks ago.

You can download the new update right now if you're an iOS developer or public beta tester with a valid configuration profile. Just open the Settings app, tap on "General," then select "Software Update." Finally, follow the on-screen instructions to download and install iOS 11.4 beta 6 onto your iPhone.

The iOS 11.4 beta 6 is the third beta release in a row to not provide resolved developer fixes and patches. Apple lists known issues the company has not yet resolved and provides workarounds for the issues if they exist:

Foundation

  • Clients of NSURLSessionStreamTask that use a non-secure connection fail to connect when an error occurs during PAC file evaluation and the system is configured for either Web Proxy Auto Discovery (WPAD) or Proxy Automatic Configuration (PAC). A PAC evaluation failure can occur when the PAC file contains invalid JavaScript or the HTTP host serving the PAC file is unreachable. (33609198)
  • Workaround: Use startSecureConnection to establish a secure connection.

Vision

  • Facial landmarks identified by the Vision framework may flicker in temporal use cases such as video. (32406440)

Xcode

  • Debugging a disabled Messages extension may cause Messages to crash. (33657938)
  • Workaround: Before starting the debug session, enable the extension by tapping the More (...) button to show the list of apps, then tapping the Edit button, and then tapping the switch to turn on the extension.
  • After a simulated iOS device starts up, it's not possible to pull down the Lock screen. (33274699)
  • Workaround: Lock and unlock the simulated device and then reopen Home screen.
— Apple

It appears beta 6 does fix something rather annoying, though: the "Black Dot" bug. This glitch plagues iPhones running both the 11.4 beta as well as 11.3 and would cause the Messages app to crash and lock up if the user tapped a special "black dot" Unicode text. There are other workarounds to restore the Messages app if affected, but now Apple has solved the problem for good.

In addition to Apple's identified bugs, beta 6 carries over glitches from previous betas. Three beta versions later, testers still cannot use 3D Touch to open Apple News links. Users will also notice their searches in Settings repeating multiple times for no particular reason. Hopefully, Apple will patch this issue with the new update.

iOS 11.4 might not be the momentous update that 11.3 was, but it comes packed with excellent features of its own. Chief among them, Messages on iCloud and AirPlay 2. These two features were announced as part of iOS 11 back in June 2017 but still have not found their way to an official iOS update.

Not for lack of trying, of course. The features appeared on the iOS 11.3 beta, whipping up anticipation that 11.3 would welcome cloud-sync for messages and multi-room speaker controls. Alas, 11.3 arrived to users without these features, which promptly appeared in the first beta release for 11.4.

Hopefully, for non-testers, Apple includes Messages on iCloud and AirPlay 2 when 11.4 officially drops in the coming weeks. Of course, considering iOS 11's buggy track record, we'd rather the company take their time than release features half-baked.

Cover image by Dallas Thomas/Gadget Hacks

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