Apple has taken the next step in the relentless march towards the release of a new version of iOS, this time delivering us the second new developer beta in a week. iOS 11.3 beta 6 is now available for download for anyone who is already on the beta channel. If that means you, it’s time to hook up to Wi-Fi, go open the Settings app, and see what Apple has in store for us.
iOS 11.3 is expected to bring new battery health features, along with new Animoji and ARKit improvements and the usual stability and security updates.
The iOS 11.3 betas have proven to be a goldmine so far. The first beta brought us a bunch of new features, including new Animoji, a version of ARKit, and some battery health data. iOS 11.3 beta 2 brought us new battery health features, including a toggle that lets users with older batteries disable the “performance enhancements” that got Apple in so much trouble. We’re still combing through the release notes to see if there are new features this week, or whether we’re just getting the dreaded stability improvements and bugfixes.
We’ve had a chance to play around extensively with the new features in iOS 11.3 betas already, so nothing in this new release should come as a surprise. The biggest change in iOS 11.3 is the introduction of several battery health features, which are supposed to make customers happy about Apple’s battery-related performance throttling.
The new features are contained within a new “Battery Health” menu, which is under the “Battery” tab on iOS 11.3. The page only really has two fields: Maximum Capacity, which shows what percentage of the original charge your battery can still hold; and Peak Performance Capacity, which tells you if your phone’s performance is being throttled due to the battery.
On older devices with a worse battery, the phone will show a reduced Maximum Capacity, as well as detail any performance slowdowns due to the decreased battery capacity. On devices that have weaker batteries, the Peak Performance Capability will change to read “This iPhone has experienced an unexpected shutdown because the battery was unable to deliver the necessary peak power. Performance management has been applied to help prevent this from happening again.” A small blue hyperlink then says “Disable,” which lets you manually turn off your iPhone’s performance management.
Aside from battery health, the biggest point of interest for most people has been the new Animoji. Although we’ve become used to new emoji landing with an iOS update, this is the first time that any new Animoji have been released. Apple is blessing us with the power to become a lion, a bear, a dragon, or a skull, which brings the total number of face-mimicking Animoji up to 16.
In addition, iOS 11.3 beta brings the newest version of Apple’s augmented reality kit, ARKit 1.5 In addition to horizontal surfaces, ARKit will now be able to recognize and place objects on verticals surfaces, like walls and doors. It can recognize the position of a sign or a poster, which Apple says can be utilized for interactive museum exhibits or bringing movie posters to life. Plus, the view from the camera now has a 50% greater resolution and auto-focus.