iOS 11.4: Reasons to Get Excited & Reasons Not To

If everything holds up in testing, iOS 11.4 will be an exciting release for most iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users. That said, there are a few things that have the potential to disappoint you.

Apple’s iOS 11.3 is finally released after weeks of public testing and the company’s third milestone upgrade brings a long list of changes including new features, fixes, enhancements, and patches. It’s an important update and one you should consider installing immediately.

The iOS 11.3 update will continue to reign for several weeks though Apple’s already confirmed a successor. iOS 11.4 is Apple’s fourth, and perhaps final, milestone iOS 11 upgrade. Apple’s milestone updates always deliver more than bug fixes and security patches and iOS 11.4 is no different.

Apple hasn’t confirmed an iOS 11.4 release date though there’s speculation it could arrive in and around WWDC 2018 this summer. WWDC 2018 kicks off on June 4th.

If you don’t want to wait for Apple to release the final version of iOS 11.4 you don’t have to. If you’re feeling impatient you can try iOS 11.4 on your device right now thanks to the iOS 11.4 beta. The iOS 11.4 update is available via a developer beta or public beta. Apple’s public Beta Software Program is free and open to anyone with a valid Apple ID.

We’ve been using the iOS 11.4 beta for a short time and most people should avoid it due to bugs and performance issues. That said, there are some bright spots and today we want to take you through the best iOS 11.4 features and fixes.

We also want to walk you through some reasons why you might want to temper your expectations, particularly if you own the iPhone 5s.

Messages in iCloud

One of our favorite features from the iOS 11.0 beta looks like it will finally arrive inside Apple’s iOS 11.4 update. Nothing is official until Apple releases the final version of iOS 11.4, but as of right now, iMessages in iCloud is included in the iOS 11.4 beta. Hopefully it sticks around this time. 

Messages on iCloud was included in Apple’s first iOS 11 beta, but Apple pulled the feature before the public release back in September. The feature appeared in several iOS 11.3 betas, but it didn’t make it into the final version leaving many iPhone users feeling disappointed. Fortunately, it looks like Apple might finally be ready to deliver the goods. 

If the feature makes it through testing, iOS 11.4 will allow iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users to store their iMessages in the cloud. 

As many of you know, Messages can take up a ton of room on a device’s internal storage. If you choose to keep messages for longer than 30 days, they’re probably taking up multiple gigabytes of storage. We’ve had to stop saving messages for longer than 30 days in order to free up space on our iPhones. 

Messages in iCloud will allow you to quickly, and easily, free up storage space on your phone. It’ll also allow you to save messages that might get deleted otherwise. 

Hopefully Apple’s able to get it ready in time for the iOS 11.4 release date.

AirPlay 2

AirPlay 2 was first announced as part of iOS 11 over the summer. However, the feature didn’t ship with iOS 11.0 in September, iOS 11.1 in October, iOS 11.2 in December, or iOS 11.3 in March. Nothing is confirmed, but there’s a chance the next iteration of AirPlay will emerge with iOS 11.4 when it arrives later this year. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the feature, AirPlay 2 is the first major upgrade to the company’s audio streaming in seven years and it comes with some exciting features including multi-room audio playback from iOS and higher level buffering.

We’re excited about the latter because it should cut down on skipping and better range. Audio should continue playing while you leave Wi-Fi range.

If you can’t wait for the final version of iOS 11.4 to arrive, try AirPlay 2 right now via the iOS 11.4 beta though it’s currently limited to the Apple TV 4 and Apple TV 4K.

Stereo Pairing for HomePod

If everything holds up in testing, the iOS 11.4 could deliver stereo pairing for the company’s HomePod speaker.  Apple says “FullRoom” functionality for the HomePod speaker is coming later this year and it looks like iOS 11.4 will be the one to deliver it. 

If you’re unfamiliar with this feature it’ll allow you to put another HomePod in the same room to “create a wider, more immersive soundstage than a traditional stereo pair.” The HomePods automatically detect and balance each other.

Unfortunately, beta testers are unable to test the feature because iOS 11.4 beta isn’t out for the HomePod just yet.  That said, the UI inside the Home app is indeed available and that’ll let you get familiar with the setup ahead of its official release.

Final Update for iPhone 5s and iPad mini 2?

In June, Apple’s expected to confirm its iOS 12 update. The company’s also expected to release an iOS 12 beta and it’s there iPhone 5s and iPad mini 2 owners will learn their fate.

Last year, the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5c and the iPad 4 missed the cut for iOS 11. This didn’t come as a surprise because Apple typically keeps devices updated for four years before dropping support. This year, the iPhone 5s and iPad mini 2 are on the chopping block. Nothing is confirmed, but iPhone 5s and iPad mini 2 users need to prepare for life on iOS 11 and iOS 11.4. 

Given the close proximity of WWDC 2018, we wouldn’t be surprised if iOS 11.4 is the last major iOS 11 upgrade before the release of iOS 12. If you own one of these devices, it might be time to start thinking about an upgrade. Once software support ends, you lose access to the latest features, bug fixes, and security updates. 

iOS 11.4 Jailbreak

Jailbreak developers released a iOS 11 jailbreak, but it’s only available for select versions of iOS 11. 

The current iOS 11 jailbreak is compatible with devices running iOS 11.0-iOS 11.1.2. It’s not compatible with iOS 11.2, iOS 11.2.1, iOS 11.2.2, iOS 11.2.5, iOS 11.2.6, iOS 11.3, or the iOS 11.4 beta. This is obviously great for those running older iOS 11 builds, but those running newer versions of iOS 11 can’t take advantage of the jailbreak because there’s no way to downgrade to anything older than iOS 11.2.6. 

Jailbreak developers haven’t publicly teased anything for iOS 11.3 or iOS 11.4. This doesn’t rule out a jailbreak, but it doesn’t inspire much confidence as we push toward the iOS 11.4 release date. 

A fast iOS 11.4 jailbreak isn’t out of the question, but we aren’t getting our hopes up.

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