Apple Officially Releases iOS 11.4 with AirPlay 2, Messages in iCloud

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The new AirPlay 2 standard introduces multi-room audio playback support.

Siri has also been given multi-room audio support in iOS 11.4. This advanced pairing functionality senses the location of your HomePod in the room to balance its sound. Why Apple is not highlighting this is unclear, but this feature was announced at WWDC a year ago and syncs messages across a user's devices.

In a press release, Apple said that AirPlay 2 also implements some important under-the-hood performance improvements, too. By now the software update must have arrived on every compatible device. Your device should be running on a Wi-Fi connection to download the over-the-air (OTA) update. As with any iOS update, we recommend backing up your iPhone first. I picked my two HomePods and it asked me to assign each of them to a side-left and right. Here's a rundown of the features. Subsequently, if you delete a message on your iPhone, it will also get deleted on other iOS devices and vice-versa.

AirPlay 2 is Apple's updated way to store content to TVs and other devices. Additionally, AirPlay 2 enables you to attend a call or play a game on your iPhone or iPad without interrupting music playback on your AirPlay 2-enabled speakers.

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"The knock on HomePod is its $349 price is about 2-3x the price of a typical smart speaker", Munster writes.

Beyond support for stereo pairing, Apple is mum on other new features in iOS 11.4, and it points users to the "Tips" app in the system to learn more. Deleting a message on one device would remove it from all your devices.

But wait, there's more - you end up saving space on your device as well as your messages are offloaded to Apple's iCloud servers. When this is turned on all messages (SMS, iMessage) will be backed up to your iCloud account.

On top of this, he says that Apple promises to ramp up its privacy focus with new features that notify users when their data is being shared with developers. From the Control Center on your iOS device, you'll be able to see a full list of compatible speakers (including HomePod) and pick and choose which should be playing the tunes.

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