News: iOS 11.4 Released to Everyone, Includes AirPlay 2, Messages in iCloud, New Wallpaper & More

iOS 11.4 Released to Everyone, Includes AirPlay 2, Messages in iCloud, New Wallpaper & More

After six betas, iOS 11.4 was officially released to everyone with a compatible iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Some features are ones that Apple promised over eight months ago when iOS 11 was first pushed out. This update makes sense since iOS 12 will be announced at WWDC on June 4, and you can't announce a new version like that without first delivering on promises made for the one before it.

The iOS 11.4 update on May 29 is more of a stability update than the feature-filled iOS 11.3, but it's far from an empty release. New features in the stable iOS 11.4 update include AirPlay 2 support, Messages in iCloud, USB Restricted Mode, and a new wallpaper, to name the big ones. There's even a fix for the nasty 3D Touch issue that was plaguing iPhone users since iOS 11.3.

You can download the new update right now by going to Settings –> General –> Software Update. Once you see the new update, you can follow the on-screen instructions to download and install iOS 11.4.

Messages in iCloud (previously called "Messages on iCloud"), which we hoped would appear in the first iOS 11 release, provides effortless Messages syncing between iOS and Mac devices, as long as your Mac is running macOS 10.13.5 or higher, which is expected to drop shortly.

AirPlay 2, which allows users to control multiple speakers in their home using Control Center, HomeKit, and Siri. You can start playback from one room to another, transfer audio from one room to another, play music on all speakers throughout your house at once, and even turn your two HomePods into a stereo set of speakers.

While beta testers have had their hands on the features for quite some time now, it wasn't certain whether Messages in iCloud and AirPlay 2 would make it to iOS 11.4's official release. Apple led us to believe we'd see their launches with iOS 11.3, as the features were included in that version's beta run. Nevertheless, 11.3 came and went without these features, with Apple opting instead to continue their beta trials with 11.4.

Aside from those two big updates, other new features in iOS 11.4 includes a new wallpaper for iPhone 8 and 8 Plus models, which was previously only available on the PRODUCT(RED) iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, a fix for the dreaded 11.3 3D Touch bug, and ClassKit support for educational purposes (school iPads only).

For the security-minded Apple fans, iOS 11.4 introduces a new feature that is sure to be of interest. After seven days of remaining locked, your iPhone will restrict its Lightning port to charging mode only. If an intruder tries to use a USB iPhone-cracking tool such as Grayshift or Cellebrite after this period, their efforts will fail.

Below, you'll find the complete release notes from Apple for iOS 11.4.

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.

AirPlay 2

  • 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

For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website:

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new features for Podcasts, News, Books, and TV, as well as important security improvements and fresh wallpapers. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.5 update.

Cover image by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks; Screenshots by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

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