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iOS 11.3 – all the new features you need to know

The release of iOS 11.3 is right around the corner, and it’s bringing a tide of new features and fixes to iPhones and iPads – including changes to the controversial battery performance settings.

The update brings some nice additions to the iPhone X, making use of its unique facial capture capabilities.

In light of the phone’s flagging sales, perhaps iOS 11.3 can tempt some customers past its £999 price tag.

Battery life changes

The biggest change in the update, and what’s put iOS 11.3 in the spotlight, is the revision of the power management features.

Apple has drawn massive criticism in recent months after customers discovered that iOS updates were secretly limiting the performance of old iPhones.

Early critics alleged that the slowdown was intended to “encourage” customers to upgrade their handsets to newer models. In response, Apple confirmed that the feature was a method of optimizing the older batteries of iPhones and actually improved their lifespan.

More: Apple pledge £25 replacment batteries after outcry

Well, now you can turn it off.

To help users make that decision, the battery health of your device is now on display to show how close it is to needing a replacement. When battery health dips too low, the performance management feature will kick in – only now the phone actually tells you.

The battery changes will be available for all iPhone 6 or later devices.

More Animoji

Available exclusively for iPhone X, iOS 11.3 introduces four new Animoji to its roster of colorful characters.

Animoji are avatars you control with your face with the iPhone X’s Face ID technology to send to your friends. If you’ve ever felt that standard emoji can’t really express all the nuances of your emotions, Animoji might be what you’re looking for.

The four new additions are: a lion, a dragon, a teddy bear and a skull. Previews of the characters indicate that the lion and dragon are the most expressive, whilst the skull (as you may expect) has a more limited range.

More: Apple fixes ChaiOS ‘text bomb’ bug that crashes iPhones with SMS

Health Records

Although still in the early stages, the new Health Records feature introduced in iOS 11.3 is a very exciting prospect. Health Records can be used to keep a portable copy of your complete medical history to be used at any clinic, hospital or medical practice. It can also regularly notify patients of lab results, medications, appointments and more.

Although only a few medical institutions are currently signed up with the service, it is set to grow quickly over the coming months. If this feature finds success, it could revolutionize the efficiency of medical services across the world.

Augmented Reality

Another exciting update is the implementation of ARKit 1.5, improving the engine driving all of Apple’s augmented reality experiences.

ARKit 1.5 is a major upgrade, with the system now able to detect walls and other vertical services, as well as being able to handle irregular shapes like circular tables. This literally adds a whole new dimension to AR, introducing possibilities for animated movie posters, museums of interactive paintings and much more.


Samuel Newman is a consumer journalist and blogger based in Sheffield.
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