Apple iOS 10.3 Is Now Available: What Is Included in This Major Update?
Apple has officially released iOS 10.3 to the public today, which is considered a major update. Apple released seven betas of iOS 10.3 to developers and the public before rolling out the final version. The first beta was released back on January 26. So what are the new iOS 10.3 features? Here is a breakdown:
Find My AirPods
One of the biggest problems about Apple’s new Bluetooth earbuds -- which are called AirPods -- is that it can be easy to lose since they are small. Fortunately, iOS 10.3 includes the ability to find your missing AirPods using the “Find My iPhone” app.
Using the “Find My iPhone” app you can tell the AirPods to make a noise so that it makes it easier to find. Or you can mute audio playback on each of the individual AirPods in case one of them went missing. And the “Find My iPhone” app will show you on the map where it is located as long as it is connected to your iOS device.
Wi-Fi Calling on iCloud Devices With Verizon
Last month, it was revealed in a beta version that iOS 10.3 supports Wi-Fi Calling through iCloud without having to use your iPhone for Verizon.
Verizon already offered the ability to make Wi-Fi Calling, but iOS 10.3 enhanced the feature. How so? In the past, you would still have to route your Wi-Fi Calling calls through your Verizon iPhone using the same network to make calls. But now you can make and receive Wi-Fi calls through iCloud connected devices such as iMacs, Mac minis, MacBooks, iPads, iPod touches and Apple Watches without having to route the calls through your phone even if your iPhone is not connected to a Wi-Fi network.
You can turn on Wi-Fi Calling by going to the Settings app > Phone > Wi-Fi Calling. And you can control which devices to allow calls by going to the Settings app > Phone > Calls on Other Devices > Toggle on. It’s worth pointing out that this feature is also available with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, MetroPCS and Simple Mobile.
This feature is useful if the battery on your iPhone battery is low. Or if you do not feel like getting your iPhone from a different room to make your calls.
The devices that support this feature include:
iPad and iPod touch on iOS 9 or later;
Apple Watch on watchOS 2 and later; and
Mac (2012 and later) running on at least OS X El Capitan.
Note: The Mac Pro does not support this feature
New App Developer Benefits
Developers will benefit from new features in iOS 10.3. The new developer features include the ability to respond to customer reviews and the ability to seamlessly update app icons.
Now developers can update app icons any time without having to submit an update. This can come in handy when developers want to add a seasonal update to their icons such as placing a Santa hat on the artwork.
One of the biggest Apple App Store limitations is that developers cannot respond to customer reviews. Now developers can respond to reviews as part of the iOS 10.3 update. The developer responses to comments can be publicly viewed within the iOS App Store and iTunes on desktops. iOS users can also provide feedback to App Store reviews by tapping on "Helpful" or "Not Helpful."
Support Dropped for 32-Bit Apps
Apple has dropped support for 32-bit apps in iOS 10.3. If an app was designed in 32-bit, a dialog popup box will appear that says “This app will not work with future versions of iOS. The developer of this app needs to update it to improve its compatibility.” Apple has been warning developers about these changes since February 2015.
New Podcasts App Widget
When you are looking on the lock screen of your iOS device and swipe to the right, you will see app widgets — which pull contextual data and simplifies the information for users. In iOS 10.3, there is a new Apple Podcasts app that looks similar to the Music app widgets.
New App Animation
Apple has adjusted the app animations when you open and close apps. Now when you open apps, the apps appear to have rounded edges. This is only noticeable for apps that do not open as quickly as others.
New Apple ID Settings Menu
A new “Apple ID” menu has been added in the Settings app. This menu shows your Apple ID information and all the devices that you are logged into. It also shows which devices are connected to your iCloud, iTunes, App Store and Family Sharing. This used to be under the iCloud settings.
There is a new iCloud section under the Apple ID Settings menu that shows a breakdown of your cloud storage usage. This feature also shows which apps use iCloud. And it shows the settings for Keychain, iCloud Backup and Find My iPhone.
Apple has updated SiriKit so that developers can build apps that allow Siri to pay bills, check payment statuses and schedule future rides with Uber.
Maps App 3D Touch Quick Action
Apple iOS 10.3 includes an update for the Maps app so that 3D Touch can be used for a new Quick Action. Now when you push down on the weather icon in the Maps app, you can see the weather forecast for your current location.
Siri Now Knows Cricket Scores
When you use Siri on iOS 10.3, you might notice that it can provide answers to cricket scores and stats. This feature has been highly anticipated in India, which is Apple’s fastest-growing market. Siri is going to pull the cricket scores and stats from the International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments and the Indian Premier League (IPL), according to Mashable. Siri understands how to answer queries about live scores, team ranks, player stats and tour dates.
Apple File System (APFS)
Under the hood, iOS 10.3 will be revamping the files on your phone to a format called Apple File System (APFS), which is optimized for Flash and SSD storage, stronger encryption and file cloning.
This new format will be replacing HFS+, which is a file system that Apple has been using since 1998 for its computer operating systems.
No Theater Mode Yet
Unfortunately, iOS 10.3 does not include the rumored Theater Mode feature. This feature would have activated a dark theme to the user interface while watching videos.
Some of the Minor Updates
There are a number of smaller features added in iOS 10.3 as well. The Settings app has new user security options. Apple CarPlay now allows users to quickly access the three most recently used apps and find electric vehicle charging station locations. And Apple added a feature in HomeKit to add support for programmable light switches.
You can install iOS 10.3 by connecting your device to iTunes or downloading it by going to Settings > General > Software Update. The iOS 10.3 update is available for the following devices: iPhone 5 and later, iPad 4th generation and later and iPod touch 6th generation and later. The software update is about 650MB in size so you may need to clear up some space on your device to install it.
Here is the changelog that Apple provided with the update:
iOS 10.3 introduces new features including the ability to locate AirPods using Find my iPhone and more ways to use Siri with payment, ride booking and automaker apps.
Find My iPhone
View the current or last known location of your AirPods; and
Play a sound on one or both AirPods to help you find them.
Support for paying and checking status of bills with payment apps;
Support for scheduling with ride booking apps;
Support for checking car fuel level, lock status, turning on lights and activating horn with automaker apps; and
Cricket sports scores and statistics for Indian Premier League and International Cricket Council.
Shortcuts in the status bar for easy access to last used apps;
Apple Music Now Playing screen gives access to Up Next and the currently playing song’s album; and
Daily curated playlists and new music categories in Apple Music.
Other improvements and fixes
Rent once and watch your iTunes movies across your devices;
New Settings unified view for your Apple ID account information, settings and devices;
Hourly weather in Maps using 3D Touch on the displayed current temperature;
Support for searching “parked car" in Maps;
Calendar adds the ability to delete an unwanted invite and report it as junk;
Home app support to trigger scenes using accessories with switches and buttons;
Home app support for accessory battery level status;
Podcasts support for 3D Touch and Today widget to access recently updated shows;
Podcast shows or episodes are shareable to Messages with full playback support;
Fixes an issue that could prevent Maps from displaying your current location after resetting Location & Privacy; and
VoiceOver stability improvements for Phone, Safari and Mail.
For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: https://support.apple.com/HT201222
Image source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/amitchowdhry/2017/03/27/ios-10-3-features/#1596d9cc257e