Apple Releases iOS 11.4 with AirPlay 2, Messages in the Cloud

Apple today is releasing an update to iPhone and iPads users in the form of iOS 11.4. The updated software has been in beta for a while now so it makes sense to see the upgrade finally begin rolling out to the public before iOS 12 gets here.

iOS 11.4 is one of the biggest iterative updates to Apple’s mobile OS in recent memory. It’s bringing forth AirPlay 2 compatibility that lets users add multiple AirPlay 2-equipped speakers to the iOS Home app for multi-room playback. Apple originally promised this fucntion when it introduced the HomePod last year during WWDC. However, the company is just now getting to rolling it out.

In its current stage, AirPlay 2 multi-room playback works on the HomePod (or multiple HomePods) and the Apple TV. Third-party partners such as Sonos, Bowers & Wilkins, B&O, Bose, and more will all soon introduce compatible hardware. With AirPlay 2, you’ll be able to ask Siri to play music on just one speaker or throughout your entire home by specifying where you want to hear it (e.g. the living room, the kitchen, your bedroom).

As is the case with AirPlay today, AirPlay 2 music playback on compatible speakers will require your iPhone or iPad to be connected to the internet in order to stream. However, by pairing multiple HomePod devices, you won’t need your iPhone since the smart speaker can already connect to the internet to pull music. Of course, you won’t be able to stream Spotify or anything since the HomePod only works with Apple Music, but if you’re a subscriber to Apple’s streaming service and have multiple HomePods, this will likely be the way to go.

Alonside AirPlay 2 compatibility, the HomePod will also be able to read your calendar (via The Verge) whether it’s your personal business, etc. It’ll pull its data from your iPhone’s Calendar app so you’ll want to make sure you’re updated to iOS 11.4 before you try using the feature.

Of course, iOS 11.4 is also bringing Messages in the Cloud compatibility to iPhone and iPad users. The feautre lets you store all of your text messages based in the Messages app in iCloud for viewing across your devices.

To install iOS 11.4 on your device, head over to Settings > General > Software Update. Tap “Download and install” next to the iOS 11.4 listing and you’ll be good to go. I recommend jumping on a Wi-Fi network and plugging in your device beforehand you don’t get any data overage charges on your bill and your device doesn’t die during the installation process. For HomePod users, expect AirPlay 2 compatibility and calendar support to roll out automatically in the coming days.