iOS 11.4: What you need to know about Messages in iCloud

Announced last June, Apple’s Messages iCloud feature was delayed with the release of iOS 11 in the fall of 2017. The feature — which promises to keep all of your messages and shared images synced across all of your Apple devices — made another appearance once iOS 11.3 was released in beta, only to get removed yet again. 

With iOS 11.4, which arrived Tuesday, things have changed. The feature is available to all Apple users. Here is what you need to do to enable Messages in iCloud, as well as a recap of some of its advantages.


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To the cloud!

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Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Enabling Messages in iCloud is a simple process, taking just a few seconds on each device. For iOS devices, open Settings > tap on your name > iCloud > slide the switch next to Messages to the On position. Repeat the process on each device you want to keep in sync.

messages-in-icloud-mac

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

On a Mac, open the Messages app and go to Messages > Preferences > select your iCloud account and check the box titled Enable Messages in iCloud. Again, repeat this process on every Apple device you want to have messages in sync.

The initial sync of the Messages app can take a bit of time, so be patient. Once the first sync is over with, you will see improved sync time and reliability.

Note this post was published before MacOS 10.13.5 was released. Should the process change once it’s made available, we will be sure to update this post. 


Jason Cipriani/CNET

Now what?

Continue using the Messages app as you normally would. The most significant difference is going to be when it comes to deleting message threads or setting up a new device. Yes, that means no more managing your list of conversations on multiple devices!

When removing a thread from, say an iPhone ($799.99 at Cricket Wireless), the same conversation will also be removed from all of your Messages in iCloud devices nearly instantly. And when it comes to setting up a new device, linking it to your iCloud account, you can expect to see all of your conversations synced within a few minutes. Previously, you would start without any conversations in the Messages app.

Additionally, with Messages stored in your iCloud account, they no longer take up storage on your phone or computer — a useful feature for those always pressed for space.

iOS 11.4 arrives: AirPlay 2, Messages in iCloud and more.

AirPlay 2: Apple HomePod smart speaker gets multiroom audio and stereo sound.


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