Apple’s finally pushed its highly anticipated iOS 11.4 update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and the upgrade delivers a solid list of improvements including AirPlay 2. It’s also brought problems.
iOS 11.4 is the company’s fourth milestone iOS 11 update and the upgrade will likely serve as the bridge between iOS 11 and Apple’s iOS 12 update.
Now that iOS 11.4 is live, it’s important to get familiar with the upgrade for your device. In this guide we’ll take you through the most important things to know about iOS 11.4 and its release right now.
Our walkthrough includes a look at iOS 11.4’s known changes, the iOS 11.4 downgrade, iOS 11.4 problems, and the iOS 11.4 jailbreak for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
iOS 11.4 Reviews
If you’re running iOS 11.3.1 on your device right now, the iOS 11.4 download and installation process should only take you a few minutes to complete.
The iOS 11.4 update is a lot bigger than its predecessor (iOS 11.3.1) and requires a 306MB download for the iPhone X if you’re running iOS 11.3.1. You can expect similar sizes for all iPhones and iPads.
If your device is connected to a fast Wi-Fi network, the iOS 11.4 download should only take just a few minutes to complete. It took less than three minutes to download on the iPhone X.
The installation process will take longer than the download. It took about six minutes to install on an iPhone X running iOS 11.3.1.
If you’re using an older version of iOS on your device, you’ll encounter longer download and installation times because you’ll need to download and install the updates you skipped along the way.
For more on the download and installation, take a look at our guide.
We’ve been using the iOS 11.4 update for several on the iPhone and iPad and here are a few quick observations about its performance:
- iOS 11.4 battery life is currently stable on the iPhone X and iPhone 6.
- Wi-Fi is working normally We’ve successfully connected our devices to Bluetooth devices including headsets and speakers.
- GPS and cellular data are working fine.
- Our core apps, a list that includes Twitter, Slack, Asana, Gmail, Chrome, and Spotify are working fine right now.
- First party apps like Safari, Podcasts, and Calendar appear to be stable.
We haven’t seen any user lag on newer models like the iPhone X, but we continue to see occasional lag on older devices like the iPhone 6.
While most of you should install iOS 11.4 right now, others, especially those of you who own an older iPhone or iPad, might want to take a raincheck.
If you need early iOS 11.4 feedback, take a look at our reasons to, and not to, install the iOS 11.4 update on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
We’re in the process of publishing iOS 11.4 reviews and you’ll find them at these links for the iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, iPhone SE, and the iPad Air 2, iPad Air, and iPad mini 2.
iOS 11.4 Update: What’s New
iOS 11.4 is a milestone upgrade which means it comes with a collection of features, enhancements, bug fixes, and security patches for potential exploits.
First and foremost, Apple’s latest iOS 11 update is connected to ClassKit development framework Apple confirmed in late March.
ClassKit works with the company’s brand new Schoolwork app for iPad that helps teachers and students keep track of their assignments and progress.
iOS 11.4 also delivers AirPlay 2 and Apple’s long-awaited Messages in iCloud feature. Both features have been delayed several times.
On top of that, the iOS 11.4 update includes:
- A new (PRODUCT)RED wallpaper for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. It’s not available for the iPhone X.
- A new Lock/Unlock option located under the Display & Brightness setting for flip cover magnetic iPhone X cases.
- Calendar support for the HomePod. On iOS 11.4, HomePod users setting up the device for the first time are seeing Calendar included in the “Personal Requests” section of the setup process.
- AirPlay 2
iOS 11.4 also fixes several bugs including:
- The “Black Dot of Death” iMessage bug that crashes Apple’s Messages app. It also crashed the operating system in some cases.
- A 3D Touch issue on iOS 11.3 and iOS 11.3.1 where the feature wouldn’t work without waiting a few seconds, or longer, immediately after unlocking an iPhone.
- A Messages issue we saw in iOS 11.3 and iOS 11.3.1 that could cause some messages to appear out of order.
It also fixes an issue where app icons would start hovering out of place. We saw the problem on iOS 11.3 and iOS 11.3.1. It hasn’t occurred on iOS 11.4.
iOS 11.4 Problems
The iOS 11.4 update is already causing problems for some iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users.
iOS 11.4 users are complaining about a variety of installation issues, severe battery drain, connectivity (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cellular data) issues, Touch ID issues, Face ID problems, UI lag, various issues with HomePod, and issues with several first and third-party applications.
According to a report from MacRumors, the iOS 11.3 and iOS 11.3.1 updates are causing microphone issues on select iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models.
iPhone 7 users are seeing a grayed-out speaker button during phone calls and some users claim they’re unable to be heard during regular phone calls and FaceTime video calls.
Apple is aware of the issue, but it’s unclear if iOS 11.4 fixes the problem. iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus users dealing with the issue on iOS 11.4 are encouraged to get in contact with Apple customer service and escalate the issue to a senior AppleCare advisor.
If you’re noticing issues while running iOS 11.4 on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, take a look at our list of fixes for common iOS 11 problems.
Unfortunately, Apple’s closed up the iOS 11.3.1 downgrade. So if you’re currently running iOS 11.4 and dealing with issues, you’re stuck until Apple rolls out its next iOS update. (Unless you try the iOS 11.4.1 beta or iOS 12 beta.)
The company’s also stopped signing off on older versions of iOS 11 including iOS 11.3.
iOS 11.4 Jailbreak
Jailbreak developers haven’t released a working jailbreak for iOS 11.2, iOS 11.2.1, iOS 11.2.5, iOS 11.2.6, iOS 11.3, iOS 11.3.1, or iOS 11.4.
As of right now, the only way you can jailbreak a device running iOS 11 is if it’s running iOS 11.0-iOS 11.1.2. Unfortunately, there’s no way to downgrade to those updates.
We could see a surprise iOS 11.4 jailbreak emerge in the weeks ahead but for now, those looking to jailbreak need to avoid the iOS 11.4 update.
For more on the iOS 11 jailbreak, take a look at our roundup.
iOS 11.4 will likely be the last major iOS 11 update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
The beta, and final update, will be made available for all devices capable of powering the iOS 11 update. That includes the iPhone 5s and iPad mini.
iOS 11.4 might be the last major iOS 11 release, but it won’t be the final iOS 11 update.
Apple’s confirmed a new iOS 11.4.1 update that’ll likely bring new fixes and patches to iPhone and iPad users. The iOS 11.4.1 update is currently in beta ahead of an unknown release date.
Install iOS 11.4 for Better Security
The iOS 11.4 update comes with 30+ patches aimed at improving your device's security making it an essential download for most iPhone and iPad users.
iOS 11.4 also reportedly comes with a USB Restricted Mode that disables the Lightning port on your iPhone or iPad if a device hasn't been unlocked or connected to a computer using a passcode within the last week.
If you missed any of Apple's previous iOS updates, your iOS 11.4 update could come with a lot more.
If you skipped iOS 11.3.1, your iOS 11.4 update comes with iOS 11.3.1's four security patches.
If you skipped iOS 11.3, your iOS 11.4 update comes with 27 additional patches for potential exploits. Those of you lingering on iOS 11.2.6 would be wise to make the move sooner rather than later.
If you missed iOS 11.3, your iOS 11.4 update also includes a new privacy feature. When an Apple feature wants to use your personal information, an icon now appears with a link to access detailed information about how your data will be used and protected.
If you're running iOS 11.2.5 or older, you're currently exposed to an issue that lets people send a specific character that will crash an iOS-powered device and block access to the Messages app. It can also block apps like Facebook Messenger, Gmail, Outlook, and WhatsApp.
The iOS 11.2.6 update's main purpose was to patch up this issue. If you skipped iOS 11.2.6, you'll get these enhancements with iOS 11.4.
If you're running iOS 11.2.2 or below and receive a certain GitHub link through your Messages app, your iPhone or iPad can lockup or respring. The Messages app will also become unusable.
Apple's iOS 11.2 update fixed several problems, but it also brought problems of its own including a potentially nasty zero-day iOS HomeKit vulnerability.
The vulnerability, discovered by Tian Zhang, allowed for unauthorized control of HomeKit accessories including garage door openers and smart locks.
Apple quickly rolled out a server-side fix, but the company restored full functionality with the release of iOS 11.2.1. If you skipped iOS 11.2.1 and use HomeKit, you should download iOS 11.4 right now.
If you skipped iOS 11.2, you'll get a few more patches with your iOS 11.4 update. Apple's iOS 11.2 update delivered 11 patches including one for Mail and one for Wi-Fi.
The iOS 11.2 and iOS 11.2.1 updates also patched up a widespread security issue called "Meltdown." Apple says its analysis suggests it "has the most potential to be exploited."
Meltdown affects all iOS 11 powered devices so we highly recommend downloading iOS 11.4 if you skipped iOS 11.2.
If you skipped iOS 11.1.2, iOS 11.1.1, and iOS 11.1, you'll get additional patches with your iOS 11.4 update.
The iOS 11.1 update delivered eight security patches including a fix for a serious Wi-Fi vulnerability called KRACK or Key Reinstallation Attack. KRACK is an exploit that targets the common WPA2 encryption protocol.
If you're just now making to move from iOS 10 (or whatever you're on) to iOS 11, your iOS 11.4 update will come with even more security features.
In iOS 11 you can't establish trust with a PC using fingerprints alone. You'll also need to put in a full passcode in order to gain that trust.
If you want to protect the data you store on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you should make your move to the latest version of iOS. This is particularly important for those of you running older versions of iOS.