IOS 11.4 brings stereo pairs and multi-room audio with AirPlay 2

Todd Singleton
May 30, 2018

Apple's iOS 11.4 rolls out today, and it brings a big update to HomePods: AirPlay 2 with multi-room audio.

Multi-room audio was a feature that was oddly missing from the HomePod when it launched, especially since rival speakers from the likes of Amazon, Google and even Sonos had the functionality.

HomePod stereo pairing lets you connect two of the smart speakers together. iOS 11.4 also adds Calendar support to HomePod.

AirPlay 2 enables the most advanced, wireless multi-room audio system, creating an effortless way for people to stream music or podcasts anywhere in the home to different devices, all in-sync.

The Apple TV is also getting an update to TVOS version 11.4.

Control your home audio system and AirPlay 2-enabled speakers throughout your house. Outside of a few press demos prior to the HomePod launch, this is the first time that anyone's been able to use stereo pairing with the HomePod.

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Not only were these features first teased 12 months ago, they were part of several iOS 11 betas, but rescinded from final public software update each update.

Stereo pairing allows you to play through HomePods simultaneously.

Messages in iCloud moves all those messages-including attachments and photos shared in those messages-from Apple devices to iCloud. Previously, all devices signed into a user's iCloud account received iMessages. The update also brings iMessage in the Cloud - you can have iMessages read to you from any of your Apple devices and deleting a message from one will delete it on all others.

There are still some issues, though: yes, HomePod now supports Apple's calendar app, but still cannot distinguish between voices, so anyone within speaking range of one of your HomePods can access your calendar data (you can turn off calendar support in settings, of course).

As of the writing of this article, iOS 11.4 should be available as a free over-the-air update to all users running iOS 11.

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