Apple Releases iOS 11.4; With Messages in iCloud, AirPlay 2 and Stereo Pairing for the HomePod

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple has today released iOS 11.4 and updated HomePod software to the public.

Today's releases finally mark the roll-out of two features which have been promised in iOS 11 since it was announced in June of last year - Messages in iCloud and AirPlay 2.

Messages in iCloud brings much improved message syncing, meaning that deleting a message on one device will also remove it from any other devices that use the same Apple ID. When setting up a new device, all of your existing messages will be available. Additionally, older messages and attachments are stored in iCloud rather than locally on your device, so should free up storage space.

With AirPlay 2, the same audio content can be played in multiple rooms on devices that support AirPlay 2. 9to5mac offers a little more on what this and support for stereo will bring:

With multiroom, users can play the same music on their Apple TV, HomePod and (soon) Sonos speakers all in sync. You can also use Siri on the iPhone to start playing content on another device, like asking Siri to ‘play [album name] in the kitchen’ and then say ‘also play this upstairs’. This relies on tight integration with HomeKit rooms and zones.

Stereo pairing allows customers with two HomePods to join them together, and act as a group. This enables stereo audio separation for tracks and making the sound better fill a space. Apple uses special algorithms to balance the music, so it’s more than just a naive split of left and right sound tracks.

HomePod users will see version 11.4 of the HomePod software released today, and according to The Verge brings one further change of note to Apple's smart speaker:

The HomePod 11.4 software update will now support calendar queries via Siri. You can ask when you have scheduled events, and add a new meeting. This works with any calendar set up in the paired iPhone’s Calendar app. It relies on the same Personal Requests system as reminders, notes and messages.

The new HomePod software will be installed automatically on the HomePod after you update to iOS 11.4, but you can also manually update and check your software version by following the instructions in Macrumors' guide.

iOS 11.4 also introduces a new ClassKit framework, which adds support for new tools and applications for schools and students announced at Apple's March 27 education-focused event.

At the time of posting, we are unaware of any changes, improvements or regressions for blind or low vision users in iOS 11.4. However, as we always stress, it is impossible for us to test all devices; configurations; and use cases—so there may be improvements or regressions that we did not identify during the beta cycle. With this in mind, please do let us know in the comments of any fixes; enhancements; or regressions that you find in your own testing of iOS 11.4.

iOS 11.4 is available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings > General > Software Update) or via iTunes on a Mac or PC.

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Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Tuesday, May 29, 2018

No issues downloading and installing it. Using iPhone 7. I will play to see what comes out. Did not get any message about iOS 11.4 when restarted. Just went to my home screen after I put my 6 number code.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Tuesday, May 29, 2018

FYI. You will need to go to setting, apple ID, iCloud and turn iCloud for message. After doing so and you go to message, you will get message that says connect your device. That is all.

Submitted by John Abreu on Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Installed successfully, running on iPhone 8 plus. No changes so far,

Submitted by Betsy on Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Club AppleVis Member

I hope not because I get a lot of photos and videos that way and fear they will use so much icloud storage I'll have to start paying. But maybe if the delete messages after thirty days is turned on that would not be so.

Submitted by bonerobot on Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Hi guys,

As i reportedd ibooks loses after some lines the fokus and makes for you unpossible to read a book in a confortable way. Moreover my braille display doesn’t show me which page i’m currently reading. This problem exists since the release of ios 11.0.. i reported these issues to the accessibility team of apple and they told me that they have sent my report to theire programmers.
Unfortunatly with the release from ios 11.4 nothing has changed. Does anyone else have noticed issues on ibooks since ios 11?

Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Hi. In general, I've found Ibooks to not be very accessible.
And I don't have a braille display. Have you tried another reading app such as Kindle? If not, see if the issue persists when you read from the Kindle app on your display. This is why I use Kindle as an alternative to Ibooks.

Submitted by Ekaj on Wednesday, May 30, 2018

I just installed the update this morning/afternoon when I got back from my meeting. For some reason the process was interrupted when my iPhone 7 screen locked, but the update eventually finished successfully. I haven't really had time with it though, because I've been talking with a neighbor on our deck. But all seems to be well, and when I looked in Settings VoiceOver said I had 11.4 so I guess it went okay. I'm still getting the hang of things in the wonderful world of iOS but I'm liking it.

Submitted by kool_turk on Thursday, May 31, 2018

So far I'm not enjoying this update.

There is a huge battery drainage on my iPhone 6S.

I'm talking like from fully charged, to 20% in like 12 hours.

I usually leave my phone on over night, and just turn on do not disturb.

Normally it only gets down to 80% within the same amount of time, and I don't think changing my VPN provider would have made a difference.

Most of the time it isn't even running.
I really do hope this gets patched, but seeing as iOS 12 is around the corner, I doubt it.

Here's hoping there will be a patch, I remember one year iOS had like 6 major updates, this was back in the days of iOS 5 and iOS 6.

Submitted by Justin on Thursday, May 31, 2018

No battery drain issues here. Running on an iPhone X, but still. how old is your device? Maybe the battery is starting to degrade and possibly need replaced. Not sure, but also try closing all apps that are in the switcher. That might, might being the keyword, help.

Submitted by Seanoevil on Thursday, May 31, 2018

I too have an iPhone 6S, but have not experienced any noticable battery drain.
If you are having problems, may I suggest ensuring that you have restarted your iPhone and that all Apps are up to date.


Submitted by Bingo Little on Thursday, May 31, 2018

I had this on an iPhone 6S a couple of years ago following an update. It was actually solved by performing one of the resets. from memory, I'm pretty sure it was reset network settings. I don't know why that worked, but it did. it was either that one or reset all settings. It definitely wasn't a full restore, which didn't work.

Submitted by Jim D on Thursday, May 31, 2018

This news is publically available, so I'm not sharing any inside secrets here. iOS 11.4.1 is already in developer beta. Not sure what it contains, but it suggests their will be at least one patch for 11.4.

Submitted by Carter Wu on Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hi all,
If you try to switch VoiceOver's voice to Chinese TianTian, you will be surprised to find that the pronunciation of other capital letters besides the capital letters G and R is wrong. Another Chinese voice TingTing, capital letter A is also wrong.In fact, it should not be regarded as IOS11.4's bug, because this bug has existed since IOS10.3.I have been giving feedback to the Apple Accessibility team since last year. They also responded to me that the problem has been recorded, but until now this serious bug has not been fixed.If there is an employee of the Apple Accessibility , could I bother you to help us follow up on this bug?

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Thursday, May 31, 2018

Siri does not work well. When I ask to find a restaurant and I ask to call she goes to the nex. Also when I ask her to call she takes long time. Message she sends the message and them ask if I want to send a message. She also is to fast.

Sometimes phones run sluggish or do strange things for several days after the update, then settle back down again. I've no idea why, but give it some time to see if the battery issue clears up. Reset network settings also does fix a bunch of random issues. Be aware you'll have to join your regular wifi networks again, as this erases the keys and list of networks the phone autojoins.

Submitted by Orko on Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Installed on an iPhone SE and an iPad Mini. So far, no problems.

I can confirm a battery drainage issue with the update (on an iPhone 6 Plus). iOS 11.4 randomly installed itself without my permission overnight and the only thing I have noticed that is worth commenting on IS a battery drainage issue, relatlvely about 20% in a two-hour or so period. Time will tell if this resolves itself.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Friday, June 8, 2018

Notice slowdown on my iPhone 7. Moving around is slow. Loading an app takes time and sometimes freezes. No good.

Submitted by Liz on Friday, June 8, 2018

In reply to by Liz

An update: It turns out that I am not running iOS 11.4 as I first thought. I wanted to come back and clarify. Please disregard my earlier comment. Thank you.

Submitted by Taeshim on Saturday, August 18, 2018

Since updating to ios 11.4.1 dictation sometimes will not work on my iPhone 6... When I double tap on dicttate, it seems to freeze the phone... Doing a restart by holding down the home and sleep button fixesthe problem for a little bit and then it does it again... Fingers crossed it will be fixed in ios 12.
Also, I've reported to apple many times, on the Korean keyboard the return key is not labeled... Also, if I typed something in Korean and then switch to the English keyboard to type something in english, and I flick through what I've written, VO is unable to read out Korean in the Korean voice like it used to be able to... This broke since ios 11...