IOS 11.4: What you need to know about Messages in iCloud

HomePod speakers in white and space gray

HomePod speakers in white and space gray

Apple's iOS 11.4 rolls out today, and it brings a big update to HomePods: AirPlay 2 with multi-room audio.

You now can tell Siri which rooms to play music in, noted The Verge, but like AirPlay 1, it's very much dependent on your phone.

Not everyone will get access to the new update at the same time, as Apple is expected to roll them out gradually starting from 10am PT (6pm United Kingdom time).

The flagship feature of the 11.4 update is the long-awaited launch of AirPlay 2.

When it comes to the multi-room feature, speakers use spatial awareness to automatically deliver the best possible sound, and Apple's wireless peer-to-peer direct link ensures that music stays in sync. Apple will offer the $349 speakers in Canada, France, and Germany starting on June 18. This brings some important changes to HomePod, including the stereo pairing option that was missing at launch.

Apple has officially released iOS 11.4 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Stereo pairing allows you to play through HomePods simultaneously.

Messages in iCloud moves all those messages-including attachments and photos shared in those messages-from Apple devices to iCloud. Your HomePod should update automatically, too; however, if you want to get your HomePod running on iOS 11.4 asap you can trigger that manually, too.

Conversations are still end-to-end encrypted, Apple points out, and Messages in iCloud isn't enabled by default. Messages in iCloud stores all iMessages in Apple's cloud storage rather than on each individual device.

Elsewhere, there are the usual bugfixes and tweaks we're used to seeing in any iOS update. iBooks is gaining the ability for teachers to assign students reading activities, controlled through the teacher's Schoolwork app, for example.

Addresses a Messages issue that could cause some messages to appear out of order. Finally, there's a fix for distorted CarPlay audio, as well as audio over Bluetooth or USB in certain cars.

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