30 May, 2018
Among other things, AirPlay 2 brings with it improved multi-room audio, so users can seamlessly move songs from one room to the next or just play the same music in all rooms at once on any iOS device, Apple TV or HomePod, via Siri.
AirPlay 2 controls are available across iOS within any app and in Control Center for quick access to what's playing in every room, on every speaker.
But Messages in Cloud didn't make it to the initial release of iOS 11 last September, and while it's shown up in a few betas since then, Apple has never rolled out the feature to the public at large. When this is turned on all messages (SMS, iMessage) will be backed up to your iCloud account.
As usual, iOS 11.4 also introduces some important security patches, bug fixes, and under-the-hood improvements. And it also works with SMS across devices. In short, thanks to this iOS update, those who shelled out for a HomePod when it first launched will finally get something approaching what they paid for.
Editors' note: This story was originally published at 10:01 a.m. PT. It will be available for download directly from the Software Update feature of supported devices this afternoon. You can find it under Settings General Software Update.
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This isn't a huge update in itself, but the inclusion of Messages on iCloud makes it a noteworthy update. Users can also now ask Siri to play music in any room or group of rooms using AirPlay 2, and music can be streamed throughout the house without any need to manually group speakers.
Beyond support for stereo pairing, Apple is mum on other new features in iOS 11.4, and it points users to the "Tips" app in the system to learn more. However, if you set up a new device, you would not see any of your old messages or conversations on that device.
For the HomePod, Apple is making it easy for devices to be linked. The biggest updates here are, unsurprisingly, on the streaming media front, including the arrival of AirPlay 2, and the long awaited ability to pair up two HomePods for some stereo music living room listening.
The iOS 11.4 update also comes with the option for stereo pairs via two HomePod devices to create a wider soundstage effect.