What's new in Apple's iOS 11.4?

AirPlay 2

The third beta of iOS 11.4 has landed with developers, and Apple has opened up the preliminary version of 11.4 to its public Beta Software Program. The last installment of iOS 11 is sure to release ahead of this year's WWDC, which arrives in a few short weeks. So what is iOS 11.4 all about?

iOS 11.3 came out just a month ago, and iOS 11.3.1 just last week. Despite the rapid releases, iOS 11.4 still includes some significant updates for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users. In fact, the firmware contains the ClassKit framework that Apple announced at its education event on March 27. While this is great for education, everyday device owners may be more interested in other features.

For example, AirPlay 2 will ship with iOS 11.4. This much-touted feature means that Apple devices can play the same audio in multiple locations. HomePod owners are also looking forward to using two or more HomePods with AirPlay 2 to generate true stereo sound. However, it's not clear from the third beta of iOS 11.4 that AirPlay 2 will support this feature in iOS 11.4. The feature seems to have disappeared from the previous two beta versions.

iOS 11.4 also makes it possible to store iMessage content in iCloud. This means messages can be synced between devices, downloaded to new iPhones and stored in iCloud to save storage space. iOS 11.3.1 and earlier delivers new messages to any Apple device signed into the same iCloud account, however the content is not stored on iCloud.

Until iOS 12 hits in the fall, Apple users should update to iOS 11.4 as soon as possible. Look for Apple to announce upcoming features in iOS 12 at the WWDC event, scheduled for June 4-8 in San Jose, California.