iOS 11.4 arrives with AirPlay 2, Messages in iCloud

Apple drops a little software update ahead of next week's WWDC, and it's all about HomePod (and your iMessages).

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
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We're about a week away from seeing what iOS 12 will be like, but in the meantime the latest version of iOS 11 is now available to download. iOS 11.4 is here, bringing two overdue features promised last year: AirPlay 2 and iMessages in iCloud.

AirPlay 2 is all about multiroom audio, and it also brings stereo dual-HomePod music playback to HomePods. AirPlay 2 will also work on Apple TV , and can be controlled with iPhones and iPads .

But another key feature in iOS is the long-expected addition of Messages in iCloud, which syncs across all devices and deletes iMessages across everything, so you won't get quite as spammed. It also backs up iMessages so that any new device in the account can get old iMessages without restoring a backup.

Messages in iCloud will use end-to-end encryption, and uses cloud storage instead of local storage for message archives and attachments. And it also works with SMS across devices.

Watch this: 3 new features in iOS 11.4

The update was pushed out to compatible iPhone and iPads around 10 a.m. PT Tuesday. The Apple TV is also getting an update to TVOS version 11.4.

Additional AirPlay 2 and HomePod coverage

Additional iMessages in iCloud coverage

Editors' note: This story was originally published at 10:01 a.m. PT. It has been updated with additional context and links to related stories.

Apple HomePod plays music, controls your smart home

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