Just after the release of iOS 11.2.5, Apple has raised the proverbial curtain off iOS 11.3, which as Apple says will be released “later this spring”. So far, only the first beta has been released to developers, not the general public, so you should expect the release of the new version only after March 2018.
As for the update, Apple says that iOS 11.3 will include new Animoji, enhanced AR experience, and battery health and power management features. iOS 11.3 will be available for iPhone 5s and later, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation, iPad Mini 2 and later, and iPod touch 6th generation.
First debuted with the iPhone X, Animoji will have some addition to its library with iOS 11.3 update. Apple will introduce four new Animoji – a lion, bear, dragon and skull.
One of iOS 11’s most exciting promised features 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 in iCloud, 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. As of now, the iMessage on your Mac and your phone sync in the sense that you can choose to use either, but the message thread remain different for both.
Battery and Performance
With iOS 11.3, Apple will also bring some much-needed power management settings to the battery. 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. This rightly comes after Apple was blamed to be slowing down the iPhone batteries.
Apple is also upping its AR game by bringing in ARKit 1.5, which as Apple claims will be “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.
Apple is also bringing something called Business Chat in the new version of the operating system. It will essentially be a way for users to communicate directly with businesses right within Messages. Somewhat like WhatsApp Business, if we may say, except Business Chat will be integrated within iMessage, and WhatsApp Business is a standalone app. Apple also carefully clarifies that Business Chat doesn’t share the user’s contact information with businesses and gives users the ability to stop chatting at any time.
The Business Chat will come with support of select businesses including Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s and Wells Fargo. With Business Chat, it’s easy to have a conversation with a service representative, schedule an appointment or make purchases using Apple Pay in the Messages app.
Health Records in Health app
The Health app is also set for some new changes with the iOS 11.3, wherein it will now feature a new Health Records that aim to streamline patients’ medical data across health-care providers. Apple says that the feature will bring “together hospitals, clinics and the existing Health app to make it easy for consumers to see their available medical data”. Apple ensures that the Health Records data will be encrypted and protected with a passcode.
Videos in Apple Music
Apple Music will soon be the home for music videos. Apple says that with iOS 11.3 users will be able to stream all the music videos they want without being interrupted by ads.
HomeKit and AML
Apple has also highlighting HomeKit software authentication in the update’s preview, which is aimed to remove the barrier for smart home gadget makers. Up till now, they needed to include a special secure authentication chip in their products to support HomeKit.
Apple will also support Advanced Mobile Location (AML), 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.
How can I install iOS 11.3 Beta?
If you’re a developer, you can get the developer releases from the Apple Developer site, where the Developer Program will be available starting today. The release of Public beta is next in line.
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.