Recently iOS 11.3 in Beta 6 was released for developers and public beta testers and is soon going to be released. Though Apple rarely gives exact release dates for iOS point releases, but has given a general time frame of “this spring.” So far, only the first three betas have been released. Given the many new features in this release, you can expect at least four or five beta releases and currently estimate the release to in few days or early April.
From the beta releases it appears to contain no major feature changes, just bug fixes and optimizations. As these betas are coming on quite rapidly and not introducing new features, you can suspect Apple is getting close to a final release.
Features you will find in iOS 11.3
- Apple will bring some much-needed power management to the battery settings in iOS 11.3. 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.
- The feature first showed up in Beta 2. Head to Settings > Battery > Battery Health (Beta) and you will see the peak capacity (relative to a brand-new battery) and whether or not your phone is capable of sustaining peak performance. If your older iPhone is subject to slowing down because the battery can no longer deliver the necessary peak voltage for full performance, this is where you would see it. This is also where you would disable such throttling.
- Another feature is the iCloud messaging. The first developer beta includes the ability to opt in to Messages on iCloud. This stores all your Messages on your iCloud account, 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.
- Apple is also upping its AR game in iOS 11.3 with ARKit 1.5, bringing, “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.
- iPhone X users will also get four new Animoji to play with: a lion, bear, dragon, and skull.
- iOS 11.3 (and macOS 10.13.4) ship with Safari 11.1. The new version sports a number of new features, including: Service Workers: Implement background scripts for offline web applications and faster web pages; Payment Request: Provide a consistent user payment experience in Safari using a standards-based API; Security Improvements: Improved protection against memory corruption and code execution attacks; Web Inspector Updates: New designs for the Network Tab and the Styles sidebar in the Elements Tab. Users can expect better password autofill (including in apps that use Web View), a better Reader mode, and improved protection against cross-site web tracking.
- Apple will add a new feature to Messages called Business Chat that will let users communicate directly with businesses, including Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s, and Wells Fargo. Apple says customers will be able to schedule service appointments or make purchases without sharing contact information.
- iOS 11.3 will also feature a new Health Records app that aims to streamline patients’ medical data across health-care providers. According to Apple, the passcode-protected app will collect health data from various institutions and organize the it into a single view, including notifications for lab results, medications, conditions.
- Among the other additions in iOS 11.3 will be music videos inside Apple Music and news video clips inside Apple News.
- Apple is highlighting HomeKit software authentication (a feature it first talked about last year), which removes a big barrier for smart home gadget makers. They used to have to include a special secure authentication chip in their products to support HomeKit, but no longer.
- Apple will also support Advanced Mobile Location (AML). This is 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 to get iOS 11.3 upgrade on your iPhone
Once it is released you will get a notification and you can check manually by going to Settings > General > Software Update.
If you’re running iOS 11, then you can get iOS 11.3. iOS 11 is supported on the following devices: iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4, iPod touch 6th, iPhone 5s, iPhone SE, iPhone 6/6 Plus, iPhone 6s/6s Plus, iPhone 7/7 Plus, iPhone 8/8 Plus and iPhone X
This means that not all devices that run iOS 10 can run the iOS 11.3. Specifically, the following: are not supported: iPhone 5, iPhone 5c and iPad 4.
So, the oldest Apple devices that can support iOS 11 will be the iPhone 5s and iPad Air.
Things to keep in mind so that your upgrade goes smoothly and you don’t lose any data
As things can go wrong, stuff may be broken, and you may lose data while upgrading to iOS 11.3. Earlier plenty of iOS launches have been marred by bugs and problems, so with that in mind, it’s better to keep the following things in mind to have the upgrade go all smooth:
Keep a back up
It is a good idea to have an up-to-date backup, because making a fuss isn’t going to bring back your lost photos or documents. You can either create a local backup using iTunes, or backup to iCloud by going to Settings > iCloud > Backup, and then turning on iCloud Backup. Keep in mind that unless you’re willing to jump through hoops and do things that Apple frowns upon, going to iOS 11.3 is a one-way trip, so you might want to let other people to go ahead of you just in case there are gotchas. You ignore backups at your peril!
Remove unwanted apps
Chances are that your iPhone or iPad has accumulated a lot of detritus over the months and years, so what better time to get rid of it than now. While iOS 11.3 doesn’t need as much free space to install as some of the earlier releases of iOS, getting rid of apps that you no longer use.
Remember your Passwords
Following the upgrade, you’ll need to enter your iCloud password in order to be able to reconnect to all your data and photos. If you don’t have this close to hand — remember, having it on the device you’re upgrading isn’t all that convenient — then this might be a good time to do that. Also, if your iTunes backup is encrypted, then remember you’ll need that password if something goes wrong!
If you are still running IOS 10
The end is nigh for all 32-bit iOS apps, so if you’ve not already upgraded to iOS 11 and are still relying on older apps, it’s time to find alternatives. For some time now, Apple has been warning iPhone and iPad users that legacy 32-bit apps may slow down their devices, but with the recent release of iOS 10.3, Apple has escalated things by making it clear that the end is nigh. You can check installed apps for compatibility using the built-in checker tool as you need to be running iOS 10.3 or later for this to work, but not iOS 11.
You can find that by clicking: Settings > General > About > Applications. From there, you’ll get a list of all the 32-bit apps on your iPhone or iPad that won’t run on iOS 11.3. If you’re lucky, you won’t have any apps listed, or the apps that are listed will be old stuff that you forgot you had installed and no longer use.
However, if an app that you are relying on is listed, then you need to get ready for its demise.
It’s a lot less hassle to just upgrade a device because you get to keep all your apps and settings. So you can reload a new iOS too and then install and re-set up all your apps and you will see your device running faster with few problems. However, wiping and reloading the apps and data is pretty big hassle, and it’s probably more work than most want to undertake.