Apple's iOS 11.4 could finally make the HomePod worth buying

White Home Pod speaker on a black shelf

White Home Pod speaker on a black shelf

Apple officially released the next version of iOS 11.4 to users today bef0re its Apple WWDC event.

AirPlay 2 controls are available across iOS within any app and in Control Center for quick access to what's playing in every room, on every speaker. The feature can be activated in multiple iOS devices, where your account is synced and thus makes it easier to manage message threads.

Besides these, the iOS 11.4 also comes with a bunch of smaller bug fixes and improvements. This also works with other calendars-such as Google Calendar-which you've synced with your iPhone.

Apple iOS 11.4 is available for download right now on iPhones and iPads. Messages in iCloud stores all iMessages in Apple's cloud storage rather than on each individual device.

Editors' note: This story was originally published at 10:01 a.m. PT.

To enable Message in iCloud, you have to opt in by going to the Settings app Apple ID page iCloud, and then toggle on Messages. The update allows the HomePod and Apple TV (the two Apple devices that now support AirPlay 2), as well as forthcoming third-party AirPlay 2 devices, to play the same audio throughout your home or only in select areas of your home.

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The new iOS 11.4 update will allow Apple users to use two HomePods together with this feature. You'll also be able to take a call on your iPhone without stopping playback. You can see all your Messages on different devices logged in with the same Apple ID.

Credit: Tom's GuideIf you're among the underwhelming number of people who bought the HomePod, the new iOS brings some welcome functionality to your speaker, especially if you own multiple devices. The difference now is that Apple has finally unlocked a couple of capabilities the smart speaker was sorely lacking: stereo pairing and multi-room audio.

Apple says that many other AirPlay 2-compatible speakers are on the horizon, including devices from Bang & Olufsen, Bluesound, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, Denon, Libratone, Marantz, Marshall, Naim, Pioneer, and Sonos.

Messages in iCloud, meanwhile, has been even more eagerly anticipated.

Conversations are still end-to-end encrypted, Apple points out, and Messages in iCloud isn't enabled by default.

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