Less than a day following the release of iOS 11.3 solely for the new iPad, Apple has finally released the software update for all devices and it is now available for download. The update has been released for all iOS 11 compatible models of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
iOS 11.3 is a major release that in addition to bringing performance improvements and bug fixes has brought a bunch of new features to iOS devices. It is also most likely the last major iOS 11 release, as we prepare for the unveiling of iOS 12 in June at WWDC. As evidenced earlier this morning by the leaked iOS 11.3 release notes, the Messages in iCloud feature and AirPlay 2 have not made the cut and will likely be part of iOS 11.4.
Battery Health features
Following backlash over Apple deliberately slowing down iPhones to improve battery life and to prevent unexpected device shutdowns, iOS 11.3 introduces the Battery Health features found under Settings > Battery. In this new section Apple will tell users if their battery needs replacing. It will also tell users if their device has ‘power management feature’ on to prevent unexpected shutdowns. Users will also get the option to turn it off, giving users ability to choose speed over reliability. The battery health features are available on the following devices:
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 6s
- iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone X
iOS 11.3 brings 4 new Animoji to iPhone X including Lion, Dragon, Skull and Bear. Just like previous Animoji you can find these new additions by tapping on the App Store button in the Messages app and tapping on Animoji icon.
With iOS 11.3 Apple has introduced the new Business Chat feature (beta) for Messages app that allows select businesses to interact with their customers through the messages app. This makes it easier for users to talk to a service representative right from Messages to ask questions, schedule appointments or make purchases through Apple Pay in the Messages app. Initially Apple has partnered with Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s and Wells Fargo and will be adding more partners in the coming months.
iOS 11.3 adds the Health Records feature that makes it easier for users to see available data from multiple providers such as hospitals, clinics and Health app at one place. Users will also receive notifications on lab results, medications, conditions and more from participating medical institutions.
Better AR features
iOS 11.3 brings support for ARKit 1.5, that allows developers to create even more immersive AR experiences by making apps that display content by recognizing vertical surfaces like walls, doors and irregularly shaped surfaces like circular tables. Examples of this new AR capability include displaying interactive exhibits in a museum or bringing movie posters to life. Other improvements to ARKit include 50 percent greater resolution for the view of real world through the camera, autofocus support and more.
Messages in the Cloud
Initial betas of iOS 11.3 introduced the Messages in the Cloud feature that was announced last year, but never made its way to public iOS 11. However it seems like Apple has again delayed the feature that would give users a better syncing of iMessage chat across devices as there’s no mention of this feature in the change log.