Apple on Monday seeded fifth beta versions of its various operating systems to developers. It’s the third array of OS betas since the start of this month, which could suggest that we’ll see a public release sooner than later. That being said, this batch of operating system updates is expected to be pretty incremental — with few major features. Here’s what you can expect.
Apple’s upcoming iOS 11.4 isn’t as large of a release as iOS 11.3, but it’ll probably introduce some long-awaited features to the mobile operating system.
For one, Messages in iCloud has been re-added in the iOS 11.4 betas. When it launches, the feature will make iMessage synchronization between Apple devices much easier and more seamless.
The iOS 11.4 betas also reintroduced AirPlay 2, an update to the streaming protocol that features support for multi-room audio, among other new additions.
Messages in iCloud and AirPlay 2 were both present in previous beta builds of iOS 11, but were removed from the final release for unknown reasons.
Apple says that iOS 11.4 will also add the ClassKit framework, a developer’s toolkit aimed at the education sector. ClassKit will allow app developers to create applications that work with Apple’s existing education tools, including Schoolwork.
ClassKit was originally debuted at Apple’s Chicago event in March, alongside a host of other student- and teacher-focused products and platforms.
In addition, it’s not a stretch to say that iOS 11.4 will also include the usual staple of under-the-hood improvements, bug fixes and the like.
Like iOS 11.4, the next version of the Apple TV operating system is expected to add AirPlay 2 support.
When it launches, AirPlay 2 will allow users to play the same audio content across their ecosystem of Apple devices. This audio playback will be controllable via Siri or iPhone.
Other than that, tvOS 11.4 will likely just include minor improvements and bug fixes.
Like the other minor betas released today, macOS 10.13.5 beta 5 is pretty light on major features.
The beta does add Messages in iCloud support, which lines up with the feature’s addition in iOS 11.4.
Other than that, macOS 10.13.5 is likely to patch various bugs and introduce and other minor improvements to the Mac platform.
Among today’s releases, the watchOS 4.3.1 beta seems to be the lightest on user-facing features.
No new major additions were reported since it was seeded this morning, but it might be safe to assume that it’s mostly an under-the-hood update.
On the other hand, watchOS 4.3.1 does include a new warning advising users a future version of watchOS will kill off support for older apps. This echoes similar warnings Apple has given in its other updates.
The watchOS advisory applies to apps created for watchOS 1. Apple has started requiring all new app submissions to be created for at least watchOS 2 or later.
How to Download the Latest Betas
Note that betas can be buggy, so we don’t recommend installing beta software on your daily driver. At the very least, be sure to perform a full backup of your device before proceeding.
The betas are available via the Apple developer portal, or as over-the-air updates for developers who are already beta testing the software.
Apple has also released public versions for users who are a part of the Apple Beta Software Program. You can sign up for that here.
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