4 reasons to install iOS 11.4 even if you don't have an HomePod
Security updates plus iMessages stored in the cloud makes this a no-brainer
UPDATED June 14, 2018 If you haven't updated your Apple device to iOS 11.4 there are a few reasons why you may want to do this today. The update is easy (we have step below) and there are security features that are worth the download.
The big update that's getting most of the attention in iOS 11.4 is the ability to stream music to multiple AirPlay devices — including the relatively new HomePod — and in several rooms through AirPlay 2. You can now create stereo sound with two HomePods.
What's also sweet about AirPlay 2 is that the feature supports music streaming. So if you get a phone call or are playing something on your device, music continues to stream. Previously music muted when a call came in — prioritizing the phone over tunes. But now music can continue to play on an AirPlay device as you take the call.
Messages in iCloud
Another great feature is for iMessage, which can now be backed up in iCloud. Under iCloud, in Settings, you can elect to save all text messages and content in iCloud. That means like email and photos, your messages are now backed up and can be retrieved on any iCloud connected device. (But keep in mind that means you're storage more data. Just something to note.)
One thing to note — if you delete a message on one device, that message is removed from all of them, if they're also backing to the same iCloud account.
USB Restricted Mode
While supposed to kick in for iOS 11.4, USB Restricted Mode got sent back to the bench as Apple continues to figure out the right timing for this new security feature. It's likely going to appeal most to security geeks — but actually it's a boon for anyone. The new feature basically makes it harder to get data off your iOS device.
Here's how it works: Initially, if your iPhone sat locked for more than seven days, you wouldn't be able to sneaker net the data off unless you unlock the device through a biometric or key code method, (or it's already unlocked,) when you connect an outside accessory through the Lightning port. Even if you've previously paired an iPhone with a computer, the data transfer won't work if iPhone has sat locked for the seven-day period.
The Lightning port will still let you charge after seven days — but USB Restricted Mode essentially prevents forced cracking of your device. It now looks like Apple is shrinking the time to just one hour before enabling this feature, which may appears to be in the developer version of iOS 12.
One of the biggest fixes for iOS 11.4 is for the "Black Dot" unicode bug — one of several bugs last year — which caused iOS devices to crash when certain emoji (involving, yes, a black dot) were sent to them via iMessage. Unreadable by the operating system, the code and its effect could only be halted if the conversation where the emoji appeared was deleted.
A problem syncing the Health app is also fixed with this update, along some other quirky issues like iMessages appearing out of order. (We've seen that one, and it's annoying.)
Convinced iOS 11.4 is worth downloading? Good. Here is how to install the new operating system on your device: