iOS 11.3 Features: All the New and Hidden

After previewing iOS 11.3 and talking about a couple of headlining features, Apple has released the first developer beta of iOS 11.3. This third and final major point release of iOS 11 brings a lot of new and interesting features. First of all, iMessages in iCloud, the iMessage cloud syncing feature we were promised at WWDC 2017 will finally make it to our iPhone screens this spring. There are also new Animoji, better ARKit features and yes, Apple’s promised battery management feature is coming soon as well.

What’s New in iOS 11.3

Here is a detailed rundown of all the new and hidden features of iOS 11.3 software update.

Messages on iCloud

Let’s start with the one we’ve all been waiting for since June 2017. For heavy iMessage users, this feature promised to get rid of 4-8 GB of conversations without actually having to delete anything. Once this feature actually arrives, it will also reduce the frustration of manually moving iMessage conversations every time you get a new phone.

All of your iMessages will be saved in the iCloud account and only the latest messages will appear on your device. However, as you’d scroll up or search for something, you’ll find your entire messages archive there. This feature will also put an end to all your devices showing different iMessage conversations.

Once iOS 11.3 is available and you install it on your device, you’ll see a splash screen asking you to enable iMessages in iCloud. This feature required two-factor authentication enabled and after that you’ll see a progress bar at the bottom of Messages app showing the upload.

New Animoji Characters

iOS 11.3 suggests that Apple will release new Animoji characters through Over-the-Air updates. With this upcoming software update, the iPhone X users will get four new Animoji characters including a lion, a bear, a dragon, and skull. Animoji works inside iMessage.

Health Record

Apple, in collaboration with several hospitals, institutions, and clinics, has created a feature in the Health app to keep Health records in a new way. The Health app in iOS 11.3 will aggregate and keep all your health-related data in one convenient and easy to use place inside the app. that is if your medical records are linked with one of the supported medical institutions. Apple has also tightened the security of your health data by encrypting your health records and protecting it with a passcode.

The list of supported medical institutions includes 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. More health providers will be added to the list of supported medical institutions in the future.

ARKit 1.5

Apple is listening to user feedback and bringing improvements to its ArKit. With iOS 11.3, ARKit will finally recognize vertical spaces allowing you to put up objects on doors and walls. It will now be able to recognize surfaces that are not perfectly square such as a fancy handcrafted table.

ARKit 1.5 is capable of recognizing 2D images such as posters and signs and integrate them into your experience. In simple words, you will be able to bring the poster to life and animate it by simply pointing your iPhone’s camera in its direction. ARKit goes 1080p, a huge bump in quality.

Battery Management

Apple has finally introduced a power management feature in iOS 11.3. While the feature is not available right off the bat, the company will push it in a later beta release of iOS 11.3. When the BatteryGate hit the company really hard, Apple promised to introduce a toggle that lets users disable CPU throttling if their battery health is below a threshold. The feature will also provide battery health-related information under the Battery section in Settings app of the iPhone 6 or newer models.

Business Chat

iOS 11.3 also gets the Business Chat feature. This feature allows iOs 11.3 users to contact businesses through iMessages without providing them any personal information unless user him/herself provides it. With Apple’sprivacy-first approach, the user can end the chat anytime he/she like and the business won’t be able to approach you again themselves.

Initially, the Business chat will support only a few brands including Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s, and Wells Fargo. However. apple will add more businesses down the road.As time goes on, Apple will add more businesses to the fold.

Video in Apple Music

Apple’s music streaming service app Apple Music will now have a dedicated section for videos. Under this section, the Apple Music users will be able to view videos. At this point, there is not much detail available about this feature but this could be something similar to YouTube’s Music service. Apple Music will provide these videos without ads.

In iOS 11.3, when you tap on the title of the track, you are presented with a list of options to choose from such as artist, album, or the playlist.

HomeKit Improvements

With iOS 11.3, Apple has introduced a new software authentication system. With this new feature, manufacturers can add HomeKit support to existing devices. Before this, the devices needed hardware authentication. With this new update, the number of devices compatible with HomeKit is expected to swell pretty much.

Videos in Apple News

In the Apple New app, the For You section will show you the trending videos that might interest you.

iBooks is now Books

In an effort to distance itself from the “i” prefix, Apple has renamed iBook app to simply Books. Now the user will refer to iBooks app as the Apple Books.

Apple Store gets App Update Size

With iOS 1, Apple removed the app update size feature from its mobile operating system and it didn’t make any sense why. However, the company has brought back the feature and now you’ll see both the update version number and its size under the Updates tab.

Face ID Purchases Animation

On an iPhone X, when you double press the side button, it initiates the Apple Pay and App Store purchases. Before iOS 11.3, Apple only showed you static splash screen instructing the user how to use the feature. The splash screen was a bit misleading because it seems like the user were to double tab the highlighted area on the screen.

New Privacy Screen When Setting Up

When you’re setting up a new iPhone running iOS 11.3, you’ll find a new privacy screen. This screen explains that when an app is accessing your personal information, you’ll see a new private information sharing icon in the status bar. This also resulted in many frustrated less tech-savvy users.

We will keep updating this page as we learn about any new feature in iOS 11.3. So bookmark it and come back later.

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