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Apple isn’t done improving and adding features to iOS 11 yet. Anyone with a compatible iPhone or iPad model can now download iOS 11.3 over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update.
You can also update through iTunes by plugging in an iOS device, selecting the iPhone or iPad, and then choosing the Summary section. Then select Check for Update.
Unlike some software updates that only brings bug fixes and other behind-the-scenes improvements, iOS 11.3 is a major step forward offering a number of new features for users. Here’s a rundown of what to expect.
Say Hello to Battery Health
Apple stirred controversy in late 2017 when it admitted that it slows down the processors on some older iPhone models to help protect from unexpected shutdowns and preserve the overall battery life. But a new addition in iOS 11.3 is providing users more information about their handset battery.
Found under Settings > Battery > Battery Health is the new Battery Health feature.
In the first section, users can see the current maximum capacity of the handset battery compared to when it was new. You’ll also be able to see if the battery is currently supporting peak performance.
If not, anyone with an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, or iPhone 7 Plus can disable the power management option after the first unexpected shutdown on a handset. If that happens, you’ll see this message:
“This iPhone has experienced an unexpected shutdown because the battery was unable to deliver the necessary peak power. Performance management has been applied to help prevent this from happening again.”
But be careful before you select that option, as you can’t turn it back on. The power management feature will automatically kick in if your iPhone ever shuts down unexpectedly.
Anytime your maximum battery capacity drops below 80 percent, you’ll also see a message that replacing the cell will restore the handset to full performance and capacity. Click through to see more information about replacement options through Apple.
A comprehensive support document also offers more detail about iPhone batteries and handset performance. You can even learn about some great tips to help get the most out an iPhone battery.
While the feature won’t exactly change how lithium-ion batteries work, it will give users a better idea of how their battery could be affecting overall performance. And it’s something Apple should have originally done when it rolled out the power management feature in 2016.
New Animoji for the iPhone X
Those wacky and crazy Animoji for iPhone X users are even getting a big boost with iOS 11.3. A surprise hit, Animoji use the TrueDepth camera in the iPhone X to capture more than 50 different facial features and overlay them on the fun emoji-like characters.
Apple is adding four more characters to the mix: a dragon, bear, skull, and lion. Those additions will bring the number of Animoji up to 16. So expect to see a lot more Animoji karaoke.
Health Records in the Health App
The Health app is also taking a big step up with a great new addition. With the app in iOS 11.3, Apple is teaming up with a number of different medical institutions across the United States to allow users to quickly and easily access to their health records.
Using the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources standard, Apple worked with the providers to create a way to transfer electronic medical records.
Available to view in the Health Data section of the app, you can check records from a number of different institutions in one view. Some of the information you can see includes allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures, and vital signs. You’ll also see a notification when the data is updated.
All of the health records are encrypted and protected by the iPhone passcode. While 12 different institutions support the feature at launch, Apple is promising to add others in the future.
Other New Features in iOS 11.3
iOS 11.3 offers some additional smaller improvements that you might not notice right away:
- Developers will be able to start taking advantage of ARKit 1.5 for their apps. The augmented reality protocol can now recognize and place virtual objects on vertical surfaces—think doors and windows. Also included is support for detecting and incorporating images like movie posters in AR. The real-world view through the camera also sports 50 percent better resolution and an auto-focus capability.
- Rolling out in beta, Business Chat will allow users to chat with a business directly in Messages to schedule an appointment, make a purchase, or talk with a customer service representative. Some of the business available will include Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s, and Wells Fargo.
- Anytime an Apple app wants to use or access personal information, you’ll see a new privacy icon along with a link that provides more information about how Apple will use and protect the data. That’s enormously timely with the Facebook’s seemingly lax approach to data protection.
- Adding support for Advanced Mobile Location will automatically send your location whenever a call is made to emergency services where the feature is supported.
- Apple News now features an improved Top Stories section and a new video option in the For You section.
- Apple Music subscribers can view a revamped Music Videos section with a number of exclusive playlists. Music lovers can also view friends with similar tastes in tunes.
Ready, Set, Download iOS 11.3
Apple’s iOS 11.3 has a little something for every iPhone or iPad user. From more control over battery life and performance to new Animoji and much more, the substantial update should help tide us over until the official arrival of iOS 12, more than likely coming sometime this fall.
And while you’re checking out all of the new features in iOS 11.3, make sure to take a look at some great iPhone shortcuts to help become more productive.
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