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iOS 11.4 is here and it's important

With the release of iOS 11.4 came two notable updates, Messages in iCloud and the long-awaited AirPlay 2. So, what do they both do exactly? Let's take a look.

AirPlay 2

AirPlay 2 finally adds multi-room audio support, allowing devices from a number of manufacturers to play the same audio throughout your home or office. That’s not all, iOS 11.4 and AirPlay 2 allow two HomePods to play as a stereo pair, allowing HomePod to go toe-to-toe with Sonos, Logitech and many other speaker manufacturers. If you do have multiple HomePods, moving audio around your home is now even easier. You can simply say, “Siri, move my music to the living room” or whichever HomePod you prefer. AirPlay 2 also eliminates previous annoyances when streaming music from your iOS device; For example, you can now make a phone call, watch a video, or play games without interrupting your music.

Beyond the HomePod, AirPlay 2 will soon be available on a number of third-party speakers, bringing some of these advances to third-party speakers where AirPlay 2 in supported. Apple provided a list of existing speakers that will support it, here. At KRCS we sell the amazing Sonos Play: 5, which will soon support AirPlay 2.

iPhone users can update now, while HomePod owners can start the update from the Home App.

Messages in iCloud

Let’s break it down; as the name suggests, this stores and syncs your messages (both iMessages and interestingly, your SMS text messages) from all of your devices, in your iCloud storage space. This means deleted messages and threads will be sync’d across all devices. So, any other device you are signed in to that same message or thread will also be deleted on there. Also, your SMS text messages will now show on your Mac or iPad, too. So older conversations you’ve saved on your phone will be available everywhere but you’ll no longer have to delete the same conversation on each device you use iMessage on!

Your message attachments (photos, gif’s etc) and older messages will also be stored in iCloud and synced across your devices, which saves local storage space on your device but does increase the amount of data used on your iCloud account. Something to be aware of if you are on the basic 5GB free iCloud tier but probably not a worry for those who are already paying a little extra for more storage.

To enable Message in iCloud, follow the images below. Worth noting, iMessage in the cloud requires 2-factor authentication, a security feature that Apple, Google and many other tech services are requiring you to enable to help protect your own data. Go here for a brief explainer.

Messages in iCloud

AirPlay2 and Messages in iCloud are both part of the free iOS 11.4 upgrade. So what are you waiting for? Back up your device and while you are at it, you can download the update from our website here.

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