Key Features to look out for in iOS 11.4

by Chinju James

on June 1, 2018

You might be aware that iOS 11.3 was released on March 29  with new features, including battery health and performance settings, four new Animojis, Business Chat and Health Records betas, and a bit upgrade to ARKit.

Now, iOS 11.4 is here, which at last adds support for Messages in iCloud, along with other new features, including most notably, AirPlay 2 and an update that allows two HomePod speakers to work together as a stereo pair.

What’s new in iOS 11.4?

The Apple iOS 11.4 release notes provide some (but not all) of the highlights:

“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.”

Let’s break these down.

Messages In iCloud – Messages in iCloud was first announced a year ago at WWDC 2017 as a way of keeping conversations up-to-date across all your Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac. This key feature in iOS is the long-expected addition of Messages in iCloud, which syncs across all devices and deletes iMessages across everything, so you won’t get quite as spammed. It also backs up iMessages so that any new device in the account can get old iMessages without restoring a backup.

In addition to the benefit of being able to access your entire conversation history, Messages in iCloud will be especially helpful to those who tend to save their all their conversations, but have a device without a lot of storage.

Typically, this has led to those conversations taking up a sizable amount of space – sometimes even gigabytes of storage, thanks to all the photos and attachments that are shared across iMessage these days. With Messages in iCloud, however, everything – including attachments – are stored in iCloud, which frees up local storage space for other things – like music downloads, videos, podcasts, books and apps, for example.

Messages in iCloud will use end-to-end encryption, and uses cloud storage instead of local storage for message archives and attachments.They’re protected with a key derived from information unique to the device, combined with the device passcode – which only the device owner should know. That means no one else could access or read the data.

AirPlay 2 AirPlay 2 enables the most advanced, wireless multi-room audio system, creating an effortless way for people to stream music or podcasts anywhere in the home to different devices, all in-sync. A notable cool feature: it can be activated by Siri.

In a blog announcing the update, a spokesperson for Apple said: “While listening to music, it’s as easy as selecting or unselecting where the music is playing in Control Centre, or users can ask Siri to play music in any room, a group of rooms, or everywhere in the home.”

For example, you could say, “Hey Siri, play jazz in the kitchen,” while continuing to have different music played in another room. You can also adjust the volume across all devices (“Hey Siri, turn the volume up everyone”), or play or stop music across devices. For HomePod, AirPlay 2 features are automatically supported and music can be streamed around the house without the need to manually group speakers.

A number of speaker manufacturers are already committing to support AirPlay 2, including Bang & Olufsen, Bluesound, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, Denon, Libratone, Marantz, Marshall, Naim, Pioneer and Sonos.

HomePod Stereo Pairs – If you’re one of the few people who own a HomePod speaker, you’ll be happy to hear that with iOS 11.4 you can pair two HomePod units in the same room, allowing them to act as stereo speakers.

In addition to multi-room support, users can now also setup two HomePod speakers in a single room for left and right stereo audio. The HomePod devices will automatically detect and balance with each other, and detect their place in the room in order to offer a better sound.

HomePod is also arriving in new markets beyond the U.S., U.K. and Australia with a June 18 launch in Canada, France and Germany.Calendar support is also arriving for HomePod with iOS 11.4, along with the usual bug fixes and performance tweaks. However, calendar support won’t arrive in Canada, France and Germany until later in the year.

Aside from this, iOS 11.4 brings a new (PRODUCT)RED wallpaper to the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus – there is  no (PRODUCT)RED iPhone X – as well as the important USB Restricted Mode trialled in early betas.

In terms of fixes, Apple has finally patched the dangerous black dot bug, a glitch where Messages were appearing out of order, log-in problems with Google Drive, Docs and Gmail, geolocation flaws on the home screen, flakey Bluetooth and distorted audio in CarPlay and broken syncing in Apple Health.

SO ON CONCLUSION THE NEW FEATURES ARE :-

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

iOS 11.4 may be one of the final updates to the iOS 11 operating system, which will be followed by iOS 12.

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