Updated 03/12/18: Apple has released Beta
5 to developers.

Hot on the heels of iOS
11.2.5, which brought
HomePod support, Siri news, and a fix for the Messages text
bomb, Apple has started to release betas of iOS 11.3. And it’s going to have some pretty
cool features on board, including the one we’ve all been
waiting for: a toggle for CPU throttling on phones with old
batteries.

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s in iOS 11.3,
when it’s coming, and how to install the beta.

What’s in iOS 11.3?

Battery and Performance

As promised, Apple will bring some much-needed power
management to the battery settings in iOS 11.3. Apple says
users will now be able to see their overall battery health, and
will recommend if it needs to be serviced. You will also be
told if your battery is triggering a chip slowdown, and can
choose to turn that feature off. The switch will only be
available for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 6s,
iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

The feature first showed up in Beta 2. Head to
Settings > Battery > Battery Health
(Beta)
and you will see the peak capacity (relative to a
brand-new battery) and whether or not your phone is capable of
sustaining peak performance. If your older iPhone is subject to
slowing down because the battery can no longer deliver the
necessary peak voltage for full performance, this is where you
would see it. This is also where you would disable such
throttling.

ios 11 3 battery Chris Ball

Battery Health features were added in iOS 11.3 Beta 2.

iCloud Messages

messages on icloud IDG

When you first open the Messages app on iOS 11.3, you’ll
see this screen.

One of iOS 11’s most exciting features, promised way back in
June 2017, may finally land in iOS 11.3. The first developer
beta includes the ability to opt in to Messages on iCloud. This
stores all your Messages on your iCloud account, freeing up
space on your device and keeping everything in sync between all
your iOS and macOS devices. Sign into a new device and see your
whole Messages history right away. Delete a message on one
device and it’s gone everywhere. Finally!

ARKit 1.5

Apple is also upping its AR game in iOS 11.3 with ARKit 1.5,
bringing, “even more immersive AR experiences that better
integrate with the world and giving them the tools to power a
new generation of AR apps.” Apple says that the new ARKit will
be able to recognize and place virtual objects on vertical
surfaces such as walls and doors, as well as map non-square
surfaces such as circular tables.

Tim Cook has been a huge proponent of AR, and just yesterday
told the Financial Post that “AR is the most profound
technology of the future,” Cook said in an interview. “It
amplifies human performance. It amplifies humans, not
substitutes, and doesn’t isolate. I’m a huge believer in it.”

Animoji

apple new animoji 11.3
Apple

iPhone X users will get four new Animoji in iOS 11.3.

iPhone X users will also get four new Animoji to play with: a
lion, bear, dragon, and skull.

AirPlay2

If you have an iPhone or iPad with iOS 11.3 beta and an Apple
TV with tvOS 11.3 beta, you can use the multi-room audio
feature of AirPlay 2 to play back audio to multiple Apple TV
devices in multiple locations. You can also control different
audio playback on different devices at once from your iOS
device.

This is a key feature of AirPlay 2, but it’s only really
available to those with multiple Apple TV devices right now. In
the future, the multi-room audio feature will come to
third-party speakers and Apple’s own HomePod (probably together
with the final public release of iOS 11.3, or possibly a future
beta release).

Update: AirPlay 2 functionality has been
removed from iOS 11.3 beta 3. The features were buggy and not
entirely functional, it’s not a surprise that they’re gone.
There’s no telling if they will return in iOS 11.3 or if they
have been pushed off for a later iOS version.

Safari 11.1

iOS 11.3 (and macOS 10.13.4) ship with Safari 11.1. The new version sports a number
of new features, including:

  • Service Workers. Implement
    background scripts for offline web applications and
    faster web pages.

  • Payment Request. Provide a
    consistent user payment experience in Safari using a
    standards-based API.

  • Security Improvements. Improved
    protection against memory corruption and code execution
    attacks.

  • Web Inspector Updates. New designs
    for the Network Tab and the Styles sidebar in the
    Elements Tab.

Users can expect better password autofill (including in apps
that use Web View), a better Reader mode, and improved
protection against cross-site web tracking.

Business chat

Apple will add a new feature to Messages called Business Chat
that will let users communicate directly with businesses,
including Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s, and Wells Fargo. Apple says
customers will be able to schedule service appointments or make
purchases without sharing contact information.

Health Records

iOS 11.3 will also feature a new Health Records app that aims
to streamline patients’ medical data across health-care
providers. According to Apple, the passcode-protected app will
collect health data from various institutions and organize the
it into a single view, including notifications for lab results,
medications, conditions.

ios 11.3 health messages
Apple

A new Health Records app and Business Chat in Messages are
among the new additions to iOS 11.3.

Videos in Music and News

Among the other additions in iOS 11.3 will be music videos
inside Apple Music and news video clips inside Apple News. We
don’t yet know how this will impact navigation in Apple Music,
if at all.

HomeKit and AML

Apple is highlighting HomeKit software authentication (a
feature it first talked about last year), which removes a big
barrier for smart home gadget makers. They used to have to
include a special secure authentication chip in their products
to support HomeKit, but no longer.

Apple will also support Advanced Mobile Location (AML). This is
a feature used primarily across Europe that will automatically
turn on location services and text your location to emergency
responders when you call emergency services. It has been
supported on Android since 2016 and already has some
high-profile success stories, so it’s good to see Apple jumping
on board.

When will iOS 11.3 be released?

Apple rarely gives exact release dates for iOS point releases,
but has given a general time frame of “this spring.” So far,
only the first three betas have been released. Given the many
new features in this release, we expect at least
four or five beta releases. We currently estimate the release
to be in late March or early April.

The fifth beta was released to developers in the morning of
March 12. Beta 4 was released to the public on the same day it
was released to developers—an unusual occurrence—so it’s
possible that the public beta will come very quickly.

How can I get it?

If you’re a developer, you can get the developer releases from
the
Apple
Developer site.

If you’re a regular user and want to join the beta test, you’ll
need to head to beta.apple.com on the device you want to run the
beta on. You can enroll there, and download a special profile
that will allow your device to download the beta releases.
After that, new beta releases will be delivered just as regular
iOS updates are: you’ll get a notification when one is ready,
and can check manually by going to Settings >
General > Software Update.

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