After previewing iOS 11.3 update, Apple has released the first beta of iOS 11.3 to developers. This is the last major point release before we see iOS 12 in June. We’re finally seeing iOS 11 features we were promised at WWDC 2017. Messages on iCloud and AirPlay 2 will finally make it to our iPhones this spring. Below, we’ve highlighted the best features of the iOS 11.3 release.
1. Messages on iCloud
We first learned about Messages on iCloud feature way back at WWDC 2017. Since then it has been delayed. We will finally see this feature rolled out in iOS 11.3. This feature puts all your iMessage conversations on your iCloud account. This way you can free up storage space on your iPhone or iPad. Plus, it will keep messages synced between all your devices (something that just doesn’t work right now).
To use this feature, you’ll first need to turn on 2-factor authentication. You’ll find the Messages toggle in your iCloud settings.
2. Power Management Switch
In response to the Batterygate backlash, Apple had promised transparent information about battery health and user control over its power management feature. While this feature isn’t available in the first iOS 11.3 beta, it will be available by the time iOS 11.3 makes its public debut.
In Settings -> Battery, users will be able to see the health of their battery. If Apple has turned on the power management feature which throttles the CPU, they’ll be able to turn the feature off as well.
3. New Animoji
iPhone X users will be greeted by 4 more fun Animoji after they upgrade to iOS 11.3. In the Animoji iMessages app, they’ll find four new Animojis – lion, bear, skull and dragon. The lion Animoji is especially cute.
4. AirPlay 2 with Multi-Room Streaming
Another WWDC 2017 feature will finally make it to iPhones in iOS 11.3. AirPlay 2 will enable users to stream the same audio to multiple devices around the house. You can stream to a couple of Apple TVs and HomePod (and other AirPlay 2 compatible accessories). Go to the AirPlay section in any app and you’ll be able to select multiple outputs.
5. ARKit 1.5
ARKit is evolving and we’re starting to see features that developers have asked for in the past year. ARKit can now recognize vertical objects. So you can now put virtual objects on walls. ARKit can also recognize 2D objects like signs and posters and integrate them directly in the augmented reality experience. For example, a still poster can animate and transform into something entirely different when you point your iPhone’s camera to it.
ARKit is also getting a huge boost in resolution. It will now run at 1080p instead of 720p. This will be a great upgrade for Plus sized iPhones and iPads.
6. Business Chat
Business Chat is Apple’s method of letting you directly communicate with businesses and brands in a simple interface right from the Messages app. And as this is Apple (and not Facebook), you’re in complete control of the interaction and none of your personal information is shared with the business. You can choose to end the conversation at any time (and be assured that the brand won’t be bugging you again with messages).
Business Chat will go live as iOS 11.3 goes public this spring. To get things off the ground, Apple is partnering with Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s, and Wells Fargo.
7. Health Records
With the Health Records feature in the Health app, Apple wants to create a simple convenient place for you to store and video all your medical records. The records are encrypted and protected with a passcode.
Apple is working with medical institutes to roll this feature out. Currently, Apple supports Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine, Geisinger Health System, UC San Diego Health, UNC Health Care, Rush University Medical Center, Dignity Health, Ochsner Health System, MedStar Health, Ohio Health, and Cerner Health Clinic. Apple will add more health providers in the future.
iOS 11.3 Release Date
iOS 11.3 will release sometime this spring. As spring starts on March 20th in the US, we can expect a late March release for iOS 11.3. This means iOS 11.3 will spend two months in the beta. Right now it’s only available in the developer beta channel but the public beta should be out soon. If you can’t wait for the final release, you can jump on the beta bandwagon simply by installing the beta profile on your iPhone (there’s no need for a PC or iTunes).
What do you think of iOS 11.3? Are you happy with all the new features? Share with us in the comments below.