iOS 11.3, Apple’s third major update to iOS 11 and the one that everyone’s really been waiting for, is finally here. Anyone running iOS 11 on their iPhone or iPad can go download the over-the-air update right now; as ever, just make sure you’ve got a recent backup, a good Wi-Fi connection, and lots of juice left in your battery.
iOS 11.3 brings a bunch of new features to iOS 11 that we’ve broken down below, but there’s really only one thing that most people are looking for: The off switch for Apple’s battery-related performance restrictions.
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 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.
Apple explained its battery slowdown “feature” in a support document late last year:
“A battery with a high impedance is unable to provide power quickly enough to the system that needs it. A battery’s impedance can increase if a battery has a higher chemical age. A battery’s impedance will temporarily increase at a low state of charge and in a cold temperature environment. When coupled with a higher chemical age, the impedance increase will be more significant.”
“When operations can no longer be supported with the full capabilities of the power management system, the system will perform a shutdown to preserve these electronic components. While this shutdown is intentional from the device perspective, it may be unexpected by the user.”
“This power management works by looking at a combination of the device temperature, battery state of charge, and the battery’s impedance. Only if these variables require it, iOS will dynamically manage the maximum performance of some system components, such as the CPU and GPU in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns. As a result, the device workloads will self-balance, allowing a smoother distribution of system tasks, rather than larger, quick spikes of performance all at once. In some cases, a user may not notice any differences in daily device performance. The level of perceived change depends on how much power management is required for a particular device.”
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 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.
Full release notes for iOS 11.3 are below:
- ARKit 1.5 allows developers to place virtual objects on vertical surfaces, such as walls and doors, as well as on horizontal surfaces.
- Supports the detection and integration of images, such as movie posters or works, into augmented reality experiences.
- The real-world view perceived through the camera has a higher resolution as part of the augmented reality experience.
iPhone Battery Health (Beta)
- Displays the maximum capacity and optimal battery performance capability of the iPhone.
- Indicates whether the Performance Management feature, which dynamically handles maximum performance to avoid unexpected shutdowns, is enabled, and provides an option to disable it.
- Recommends replacing the battery when necessary.
- To learn more about batteries and performance, visit: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208387
iPad Charging Management
- Maintains battery status when the iPad is plugged in for extended periods of time, such as when used in a kiosk or point-of-sale system, or stored in a charging cart.
- Four new Animoji available on the iPhone X: lion, bear, dragon and skull.
- When an Apple feature wants to use your personal information, an icon now appears with a link to access detailed information about how your data will be used and protected.
Business Chat (Beta) — US Only
- Communicate with companies to easily ask questions, schedule appointments, and make purchases inside the built-in Messages app on iPhone and iPad
Health Records (Beta) — US Only
- Access health records and view lab results, immunizations, and more in a consolidated timeline in the Health app
- Provides a new experience in video clips, including a Revised Video Clips section featuring exclusive video playlists.
- Find friends with similar tastes through Apple Music’s improved suggestions, which list the genres that the users and mutual friends follow.
- The main titles now always appear first in “For You.”
- Watch the best videos selected by News editors.
- Four options now allow you to sort the customer reviews on the product pages: the most useful, the most favorable, the most critical or the most recent.
- The Updates tab now shows the version of the app and the size of the file.
- Promotes the protection of privacy by notifying usernames and passwords until they have been selected in a web form field.
- Presents warnings in the smart search field when the user interacts with password entry forms or credit card data on unencrypted web pages.
- Automatic filling of usernames and passwords is now available in apps’ web views.
- By default, articles shared via Mail from Safari are now formatted using Reader mode, if the drive is available.
- In Favorites, folders now have icons for the bookmarks they contain.
- Adds two Shuangpin keyboard layouts.
- Supports connected physical keyboards using Turkish F layout.
- Improves Chinese and Japanese keyboards for better accessibility on devices with a 4.7-inch or 5.5-inch screen.
- Allows you to return to the keyboard with a simple touch after the dictation.
- Fixes a problem that could cause the capitalization of the first letter of some words by the automatic correction feature.
- Fixes an issue on the iPad Pro that prevented the iPad Smart Keyboard from working after connecting to a captive Wi-Fi hotspot.
- Fixes a problem that could cause undesirable activation of the digital layout on the Thai keyboard in landscape mode.
- The App Store now supports accessibility options “Bold Text” and “Large Font” for customizing the display.
- Smart Reversal now supports images on the web and in Mail messages.
- Enhances the RTT experience and supports RTT service for T-Mobile.
- Improves app selection on the iPad for VoiceOver users and selection control.
- Corrects a problem with the incorrect description of the Bluetooth status icon and the Bluetooth icon by VoiceOver.
- Fixes a problem that may prevent the end of call button from appearing in the Phone app when using VoiceOver.
- Fixes an issue preventing access to an app’s built-in ranking with VoiceOver.
- Fixes a problem that may cause distorted audio playback when using real-time listening.
Other Enhancements and Fixes
- Supports AML technology, which provides more accurate location data to emergency services during an emergency call (in countries where this technology is available).
- Supports software authentication, which provides developers with a new way to create and activate HomeKit-compatible accessories.
- Podcasts now plays episodes with a single tap, and you can tap Details to learn more about each one.
- Improves search performance for users with long notes in Contacts.
- Improves the performance of Handoff and the universal clipboard when both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
- Fixes a problem that may prevent incoming calls from activating the screen.
- Fixes a problem that may prevent or prevent voicemail playback.
- Fixes an issue that prevents opening a web link in Messages.
- Fixes a problem that may prevent users from returning to Mail after previewing an attachment to a message.
- Fixes a problem that could cause the deleted screen to reappear on the locked screen.
- Fixes a problem that can cause the time and notifications to disappear on the locked screen.
- Fixes an issue that prevents parents from using Face ID for approving purchase authorization requests.
- Fixes a problem that could prevent updating of the current weather conditions in Weather.
- Fixes a problem that could prevent the synchronization of contacts with a vehicle directory when connected via Bluetooth.
- Fixes a problem that may prevent an audio app from playing content in a vehicle while it was in the background.