Earlier today, Apple unveiled iOS 11.3, a major update for iOS devices coming later this Spring. The update comes off the heals of a far-reaching battery controversy which revealed Apple was slowing down older iPhones. In addition to addressing this issue, iOS 11.3 includes a number of new features and changes to the iOS experience.
Here’s everything we know so far:
While not available in the beta released today, iOS 11.3 will include a number of changes to address how iOS handles batteries following controversy over the past few weeks. The update will include a new section in the iOS Settings that will test your battery health and recommend a replacement if necessary. Additionally, it will allow users to toggle the performance slow-downs Apple had secretly enabled previously.
It is clear Apple had not previously intended to allow users access to these features. The recent controversies have forced Apple to openly address battery concerns, and will hopefully allow for hardware improvements down the road.
Aside from the battery changes, the most notable change in iOS 11.3 comes in the form of a new health feature. Arguable Apple’s largest step into the health-world so far, iOS 11.3 will allow users to request their health records from participating medical institutions and view them in the Health app. This will include information like allergies, medication, conditions, lab results, immunizations, and more.
While this information can clearly be useful to users on a day-to-day level, the move is a major step in Apple’s health endeavors. Alongside initiatives like App Cast Studies and health features on the Apple Watch, the company could soon become a major factor in the health world.
iOS 11.3 includes the first major update to the Animoji feature introduced alongside the iPhone X. The new Animoji include a dragon, a skull, a lion, and a bear. The feature is one of the best showcases of the iPhone X facial recognition technology, and remains a main marketing point of the device.
ARKit, Apple’s developer tool for creating Augmented Reality applications, is receiving its first major update in iOS 11.3. The technology is now able to recognize and place virtual objects on vertical surfaces like doors and walls, and can accurately map irregular surfaces like circular tables. Additionally, Apple says ARKit can now take 2D images and integrate them into the real world for interactive exhibits or museums. ARKit apps now have 50 percent higher resolution and support auto-focus.
Apple looks poised to continue a focus no ARKit throughout the next few years, as it is clear from Tim Cook’s recent interviews that he believes the technology will be a core-focus in a future Apple. It even appears that Apple’s next major product will be an augmented-reality headset.
iOS 11.3 introduces a new feature called Business Chat. The service will allow users to begin a conversation with a representative at a company such as Lowes or Discover within the Messages app. The representative can offer services or recommendations, and the user can even purchase things straight from the conversation.
In addition to the details above, iOS 11.3 includes a number of other important changes:
- Messages on iCloud, first slated to launch alongside iOS 11 this past September, has returned. The feature allows users to store all their messages in iCloud, freeing up space while keeping all your conversations synced across your devices.
- Apple Music includes a new Music Video section, which allows users to watch unlimited music videos without ad interruptions.
- Support for Advanced Mobile Location, which allows emergency services to track a users location if necessary in supported countries.
iOS 11.3 will launch this Spring on all devices that supported iOS 11.