Apple Releases iOS 11.4 With Messages in iCloud and AirPlay 2

Tyler Lizenby  CNET

The iOS 11.4 update includes support for AirPlay 2 multi-room audio, support for HomePod stereo pairs and Messages in iCloud. The update allows the HomePod and Apple TV (the two Apple devices that now support AirPlay 2), as well as forthcoming third-party AirPlay 2 devices, to play the same audio throughout your home or only in select areas of your home.

Apple has released iOS 11.4 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, adding the long-awaited support for Messages in iCloud and AirPlay 2.

As mentioned, the HomePod 11.4 update ships with two notable features - AirPlay 2 and Stereo Pairing.

The iOS 11.4 update is available today.

iOS users should get the notification on their iPhones and iPads to update their devices.

You can enable this feature by going to Settings Apple ID iCloud. That is to say, should a device be inacessible, you'll still be able to see all received messages on your other devices.

Apple's HomePod is now the most expensive smart speaker on the market, with a price tag of $499, though a new model is expected to come at a lower cost.

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The iOS update also enables multiple HomePods in different parts of the house to sync up playback of a single piece of music. Apple TV acts as both a receiver and transmitter for Airplay 2, which means that it can also be targeted as an Airplay 2 playback device from an iPhone, iPad or Mac.

Here's what you need to know about Messages in iCloud and how to switch on the new feature.

Apple's update will arrive amid rumours the company plans to unveil a second, smaller HomePod at its annual developers conference, WWDC, in San Jose next week.

Besides these, the iOS 11.4 also comes with a bunch of smaller bug fixes and improvements. 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.

Apple has posted a list of speakers and receivers that will support AirPlay 2.

However, before we get ahead, let's dissect Messages in iCloud: Prior to 29 May 2018, when Apple rolled out iOS 11.4, you couldn't use iCloud for your text messages. This will be helpful for those who are short on space.

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