The iOS 11.3 update is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the update, go to Settings –> General –> Software Update. Eligible devices include the iPhone 5s and later, the iPad mini 2 and later, the iPad Air and later, and the 6th-generation iPod touch.
iOS 11.3 is a major update that introduces a long list of new features, including several that Apple has been promising for months. The update introduces a new “Battery Health” feature that’s designed to provide iOS users with more information about their batteries, and it is a function Apple promised to introduce following backlash over the power management features added to older iPhones.
Battery Health offers details on maximum battery capacity and peak performance capability, and for devices with degraded batteries, it provides information on if and when a device is being throttled with performance management features. It also provides a way for customers who do have a device with a degraded battery to turn off performance management all together.
By default, iOS 11.3 disables performance management on the iPhone, and the feature is only re-enabled once a device experiences an unexpected shutdown. Battery Health is only for the iPhone, but on the iPad, Apple is introducing new iPad charge management for tablets that are plugged in for long periods of time.
iOS 11.3 introduces ARKit 1.5, a new version of ARKit that will allow developers to do even more with augmented reality apps. ARKit 1.5 more accurately maps irregularly shaped surfaces, has image and object recognition, and allows virtual objects to be placed on vertical surfaces like walls.
The iOS 11.3 update includes a new Health Records feature in the U.S. that aggregates all of your medical records in one easy-to-access place (as long as you have a participating provider) and it includes four new Animoji (dragon, bear, skull, and lion) on the iPhone X. A new music videos section was added to Apple Music just ahead of the release of iOS 11.3, and the update brings improved friend suggestions.
There are also several other smaller features worth noting in iOS 11.3. A new “For You” section in Apple News displays hand-picked content and top videos, support for Advanced Mobile Location (AML) offers a more accurate location when placing an emergency call in a supported country, software authentication for HomeKit is included to greatly expand the number of devices that can support HomeKit, and a new Privacy screen and icon will show up whenever Apple asks you for info. The privacy screen is reflected in several new splash screens that pop up when you first open apps.
In the App Store, you can finally sort reviews by most helpful, most favorable, most critical, and most recent, a handy change for better finding the app info you’re looking for, and in the Updates tab, more details are available about app update size.
The release of iOS 11.3 includes support for Business Chat in the U.S., which will let you interface with businesses like Wells Fargo, Delta, Hilton and Lowe’s right in the Messages app. Improvements have been made to security in Safari, Handoff and Universal Clipboard have been improved, there are new Accessibility features, and bug fixes for keyboards.
The update also addresses several notable software bugs including an issue that could cause incoming calls not to activate the iPhone’s screen, a bug that prevented voicemail playback, an oversight that did not allow parents to approve child purchases using Face ID, a Bluetooth bug that prevented proper syncing of contacts and music playback in a vehicle, and more.
Betas of iOS 11.3 included a Messages on iCloud feature that Apple has been working on for several months, but leaked iOS 11.3 release notes suggest Messages on iCloud might not make it into the final release of iOS 11.3. With Messages on iCloud, all of your iMessages are stored in the cloud, allowing them to sync across devices (even new ones) and saving valuable storage space on your iPhones and iPads.
Early betas also included AirPlay 2 support for iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3, but the feature was removed in iOS 11.3 beta 3 and it was not reintroduced in a later beta, suggesting it has been pushed back to a later update.
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