iOS 11.3 was finally pushed out to the general public last week, and normally that means that Apple’s software development team can have a break. But there’s seemingly no respite in Cupertino this week, because the first developer beta of iOS 11.4 has been made available for download to developers.
We’re still combing through the release notes to see what new features are being introduced, but there are already some good guesses about why Apple might be following up with iOS 11.4 beta 1 so soon after releasing iOS 11.3. Apple initially included AirPlay 2, an updated version of its Wi-Fi streaming system, in the iOS 11.3 betas, but the feature was removed before iOS 11.3 launched to the public. iOS 11.4 may well be an update being crafted to get AirPlay 2 into consumer’s hands as soon as possible.
AirPlay 2 is an updated version of the original AirPlay protocol, and it most importantly introduces multi-room and stereo pairing to the HomePod. Those are two big features that were missing from the HomePod at launch, but which Apple promised to make available via software updates as soon as possible. Since we know that AirPlay 2 was ready enough to be initially included in the iOS 11.3 update, it’s a fair guess that Apple might push it out with the next update.
In any case, iOS 11.4 beta 1 is available for anyone on the developer beta channel right now. The easiest way to get the update on your iPhone or iPad is to have the developer device profile installed, which can be found in Apple’s developer portal. Once your device is registered on the developer beta program, new updates are installed over-the-air. Just go to Settings–>General–>Software Update, and you should be prompted to download and install the update.