iOS 11.4, now available, adds AirPlay 2 and messages in the cloud

iOS 11.4 is available in the UK from 6pm today (29/5/2018) and adds some long awaited features - especially if you are a Home Pod owner.

AirPlay 2 is a big deal: it adds multi-room support so multiple AirPlay 2 devices from a wide variety of manufacturers can all play the same music around your house, and it allows two HomePods to play as a stereo pair. All together, AirPlay 2 brings Apple’s wireless audio system to parity with competitors like Google Cast and Amazon Alexa after years of stasis. Seriously: this is the biggest update to the audio side of AirPlay since it was first announced as “AirTunes” in 2004.

But AirPlay 2 is here now, and Apple says the two biggest specific changes are a bigger buffer so network hiccups don’t interrupt your music, and tighter clock sync between devices to enable multiroom support. (You’ve been able to stream to multiple AirPlay devices from a Mac for years now, but AirPlay 2 brings multiroom streaming to iOS devices and the HomePod.) AirPlay 2 also addresses some longstanding annoyances with streaming music from iOS: you can now take a phone call, play videos, and play games without interrupting the music. And moving music around the house via Siri on the HomePod is fairly simple: you just say “Siri, move the music to the living room” or whichever room you prefer and it’ll stream to that room.

Messages in the Cloud

This feature was first introduced at WWDC 2017 last June, and even appeared in an early iOS 11 beta as well as the iOS 11.3 betas, but had disappeared since then. And while this feature is fantastic for keeping Messages across your Apple devices synced, as well as saving you plenty of storage space, it isn't clear yet whether you can sync text messages in addition to iMessages. If not, we at least have an easy way to manage our iMessage threads and histories no matter how many iPhones, iPad, and Macs we may have.

To get all these features, you need to upgrade your iPhone to IOS 11.4. This is really easy to do, but Instructions on how to do this are available on the Apple website -

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