Apple on Tuesday released a brand new version of its mobile operating system for the iPhone and iPad, but for the time being it’s only available to developers (and anyone else who installs a simple developer profile on his or her device, of course). Following a report earlier this month, the star of the show in iOS 10.3 was expected to be a new “theater mode” feature that allows users to switch their iPhone or iPad interfaces to a dark mode of sorts. Well, as it turns out, theater mode is a new feature headed to the Apple Watch at some point in the near future, and it has nothing to do with the dark mode that users are anxiously awaiting.
We already shared Apple’s official iOS 10.3 release notes with you in our post on Tuesday, but the company’s release notes for developers never detail the nifty new user-facing features that get added in new iOS builds. In this post, we’ll run down all of the new features waiting for iPhone and iPad users in iOS 10.3.
Find My AirPods: This is definitely the most talked-about new feature in iOS 10.1. A new option in the Find My iPhone app tracks the last known location of each AirPod so that in the event one is lost, the app can show you its last known location on a map. Since individual AirPods are theoretically forgotten somewhere as opposed to stolen, this feature should help people locate missing AirPods more often than not.
Of note, AirPods are not equipped with GPS, so the app can only store the last location where an AirPod connected to your iOS device.
Apple ID Profile: There is now a new profile section of the Settings app available at the very top of the screen, giving users access to a single page that gives quick access to the iPhone owner’s contact info, security settings, payment information, iCloud, App Store settings Family Sharing settings and more. This page also displays all Apple devices where a user is signed in.
Floating iPad keyboard: This feature isn’t available to testers yet, but there’s a hidden setting in iOS 10.3 discovered by developer Steve Troughton-Smith that pops the iPad’s keyboard off of the bottom of the screen and replaces it with a one-handed keyboard that can be dragged around and placed anywhere.
And this is iPad's floating keyboard. Both of these are kinda fiddly and awkward and it's not hard to see why they didn't ship as-is pic.twitter.com/YB1q18ei2w
— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) January 25, 2017
App Animations: Apple made a subtle change to transition animations that many people likely won’t even notice. As apps open and close in iOS 10.3, they now have more rounded edges.
iCloud Storage: A new section at the top of the iCloud settings page gives people a graphical breakdown of how their iCloud storage is being used.
Weather in Maps: In the Maps app, users can now 3D Touch the weather icon to see a local forecast for the area.
New File System: Installing iOS 10.3 automatically updates an iPhone or iPad so that it uses Apple File System (APFS) instead of HFS+. APFS is better optimized for NAND flash storage and it also supports stronger encryption.
A few more behind-the-scenes updates in iOS 10.3 include changes to SiriKit, HomeKit, CarPlay and Analytics. There is also a new feature in iOS 10.3 beta 1 that allows developers to update their app icons remotely without pushing a full app update.