iOS 11.4 First beta avail­able for de­vel­op­ers

Ap­ple has to re­lease Air­Play 2 and Mes­sages in iCloud even­tu­ally, ar­gues Ja­son Cross

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

As we’ve seen iOS 11.3 is fi­nally here af­ter more than two months of beta test­ing. It added sev­eral new fea­tures, in­clud­ing bat­tery health and per­for­mance set­tings, four new An­i­moji, Busi­ness Chat and Health Records be­tas, and a bit up­grade to ARKit.

Two big fea­tures we’ve been wait­ing on since the re­lease of iOS 11 last year were no­tably ab­sent: Air­Play 2 and Mes­sages in iCloud. Both fea­tures were

in­cluded in beta, but were cut from the fi­nal re­lease. Those fea­tures are un­likely to get pushed back to iOS 12 (due for re­lease this au­tumn), which means iOS 11 will have yet an­other point re­lease.

Here’s what we know so far about iOS 11.4: what’s in it, how the be­tas are pro­gress­ing, when it will be re­leased, and how to join the beta pro­gram and in­stall the beta.

What’s in iOS 11.4? School­work and ClassKit

At Ap­ple’s ed­u­ca­tion event on 27 March, the com­pany pre­viewed two new soft­ware ini­tia­tives: the School­work app and ClassKit API. School­work is made for teach­ers to hand out in­for­ma­tion, make as­sign­ments, and

keep track of their stu­dents’ progress. ClassKit is for de­vel­op­ers of ed­u­ca­tional apps. It al­lows them to des­ig­nate dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties and in­for­ma­tion in their apps so that teach­ers can use them with School­work.

Given Ap­ple’s lat­est ed­u­ca­tion ini­tia­tives, we ex­pect th­ese to be a part of iOS 11.4, and to show up sooner rather than later. If Ap­ple knows any­thing about schools, it knows that ma­jor struc­tural changes to how classes are or­ga­nized and ad­min­is­tered need to be planned out long be­fore the school year starts in the au­tumn.

Air­Play 2 and Home­Pod stereo

Af­ter a brief ap­pear­ance in iOS 11.3, Air­Play 2 was re­moved prior to the fi­nal re­lease. We’ll be look­ing for that to return in iOS 11.4, along with the abil­ity to use two Home­Pod speak­ers in a stereo con­fig­u­ra­tion.

At least some Air­Play 2 fea­tures ap­pear to be back in test­ing in iOS 11.4 beta 1. Ap­ple TV de­vices are listed in the Home app, for ex­am­ple. Early testers also re­port that stereo sup­port for two HomePods is in­cluded on the iPhone/iPad side, but it won’t ac­tu­ally work yet un­til Home­Pod gets new beta soft­ware.

Mes­sages in iCloud

We’ve been wait­ing for this for­ever, it seems, so for­give us for be­ing an­noyed that it was re­moved from the fi­nal iOS 11.3 re­lease af­ter work­ing all the way up through the fi­nal beta re­lease.

Early re­ports in­di­cate that Mes­sages in iCloud are back in De­vel­oper Beta 1. Hope­fully, it sticks around through fi­nal re­lease this time.

Re­lease date

The first iOS 11.4 beta was re­leased on 2 April. Most iOS point re­leases are in beta be­tween 30 and 60 days. (Will Hains has been track­ing iOS re­lease be­tas here.) We sus­pect iOS 11.4 will gen­er­ally fol­low suit, which means a re­lease in May or June.

How to get it

If you’re a de­vel­oper, you can get the de­vel­oper re­leases from the Ap­ple De­vel­oper site at fave. co/2t1JI1d.

If you’re a reg­u­lar user and want to join the beta test, you’ll need to head to beta.ap­ple.com on the iPhone or iPad on which you want to run the beta. You can en­rol there and down­load a spe­cial pro­file that will al­low your de­vice to down­load the beta re­leases. Af­ter that, new beta re­leases will be de­liv­ered just as reg­u­lar iOS up­dates are: You’ll get a no­ti­fi­ca­tion when one is ready, or you can check man­u­ally by go­ing to Set­tings > Gen­eral > Soft­ware Up­date.

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