iOS 11.4 first public beta includes two long-awaited features

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Days after Apple dropped iOS 11.3 on its adoring iPad and iPhone faithful, the firm released the first developer preview for iOS 11.4. Now it’s available for members of the public beta program too.

Available from today, iOS 11.4 public beta 1 includes two of the previous version’s most noted omissions.

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Messages in iCloud is back after missing out on the final iOS 11.3 release. Whether it will make it into the consumer iOS 11.4 release remains to be seen.

Another previously previewed feature — the ability to pair two HomePod speakers to create stereo sound — has also returned.

However, as the feature requires an unreleased version of the HomePod firmware, the feature isn’t usable yet (via MacRumors).

iOS 11.4

Image credit: MacRumors

It also doesn’t appear as if the wider AirPlay 2 functionality is part of the beta, but it could arrive in a later version. The new tvOS 11.4 beta will allow AirPlay 2 functionality to be used.

Apple’s first HomePod update released last week did not feature the flagship AirPlay 2 feature, which powers stereo pairing and wider multi-room networking.

The company is relying on this to sell consumers on owning more than one HomePod. It is also hoping to rival the current whole-home kingpin Sonos in terms of sound quality and functionality.

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You can download the iOS 11.4 beta right now if you sign up for Apple Beta Software Program.

You’ll need to register and install a profile on your device. From there you’ll be able to install all beta versions of iOS software moving forward.

We’d recommend you only do this on a secondary device, given beta versions of software can be quite buggy.

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Still waiting?

It’s rare that long-promised features like Messages in iCloud and AirPlay 2 are outstanding at this point in the release cycle. However, more recently, Apple has been focused on getting features right rather than rushing them out.

If the two missing features make it into iOS 11.4, it’s highly likely to be the last major iOS 11 update before Apple moves onto iOS 12.

That firm will announce its new operating system at WWDC 2018, which takes place in June.




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