Apple releases iOS 11.3: Beta 5 to developers, public beta testers

iOS 11.3
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13 March 2018 | 0

Hot on the heels of iOS 11.2.5, which brought HomePod support, Siri news, and a fix for the Messages text bomb, Apple has started to release betas of iOS 11.3. And it’s going to have some pretty cool features on board, including the one we’ve all been waiting for: a toggle for CPU throttling on phones with old batteries.

Here’s everything you need to know:

Battery and performance
As promised, 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.

iCloud Messages
One of iOS 11’s most exciting features, promised back in June 2017, may finally land in iOS 11.3. 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.

ARKit 1.5
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 recognise and place virtual objects on vertical surfaces such as walls and doors, as well as map non-square surfaces such as circular tables.

Tim Cook has been a huge proponent of AR, and just yesterday told the Financial Post that “AR is the most profound technology of the future,” Cook said in an interview. “It amplifies human performance. It amplifies humans, not substitutes, and doesn’t isolate. I’m a huge believer in it.”

Phone X users will also get four new Animoji to play with: a lion, bear, dragon, and skull.

AirPlay 2
AirPlay 2 functionality has been removed from iOS 11.3 beta 3. The features were buggy and not entirely functional, it’s not a surprise that they’re gone. There’s no telling if they will return in iOS 11.3 or if they have been pushed off for a later iOS version.

Safari 11.1
iOS 11.3 (and macOS 10.13.4) ship with Safari 11.1. The new version sports a number of new features, including:

  • Implementing background scripts for offline web applications and faster Web pages.
  • Providing a consistent user payment experience in Safari using a standards-based API.
  • Improved protection against memory corruption and code execution attacks.
  • 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.

Business chat
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.

Health Records
IOS 11.3 will also feature a new Health Records app that aims to streamline patients’ medical data across healthcare providers. According to Apple, the passcode-protected app will collect health data from various institutions and organise the it into a single view, including notifications for lab results, medications, conditions.

Videos in Music and News
Among the other additions in iOS 11.3 will be music videos inside Apple Music and news video clips inside Apple News. We don’t yet know how this will impact navigation in Apple Music, if at all.

HomeKit and AML
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. It has been supported on Android since 2016 and already has some high-profile success stories.

When will iOS 11.3 be released?
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, we expect at least four or five beta releases. We currently estimate the release to be in late March or early April.

The fifth beta was released to developers in the morning of 12 March, followed by the public beta in the afternoon. It’s quite unusual for the developer and public betas to release on the same day, though it happened with Beta 4 as well. As these betas are coming on quite rapidly and not introducing new features, it’s likely Apple is getting close to a final release.

How can I get it?
If you’re a developer, you can get the developer releases from the Apple Developer site.

If you’re a regular user and want to join the beta test, you’ll need to head to on the device you want to run the beta on. You can enroll there, and download a special profile that will allow your device to download the beta releases. After that, new beta releases will be delivered just as regular iOS updates are: you’ll get a notification when one is ready, and can check manually by going to Settings > General > Software Update.

IDG News Service

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