Apple is releasing iOS 11.3 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch today with the software update expected to be available at the top of the hour. While the update includes the usual bug fixes and performance improvements, iOS 11.3 is also a significant feature update as well.

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Apple first previewed iOS 11.3 at the end of January followed by six developer and public beta versions for testing. iOS 11.3 includes loads of new features including four new Animoji on iPhone X, battery health features in beta on iPhones affected by performance throttling, Business Chat for iMessage in the United States, new Health Records features in Health, and HomeKit software authentication without chip certification.

Prior to iOS 11.3 officially releasing today, Apple released a version for the new 9.7-inch iPad with Apple Pencil support on Wednesday (although the new iPad hasn’t quite reached customers yet). Official release notes for iOS 11.3 have also surfaced ahead of time which you can find below. Note that there is no mention of Messages in iCloud which has been available in each beta version for testing.

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iOS 11.3 is currently making its way to customers and should be available at the top of the hour. For a recap of changes that have appeared (and in some cases, disappeared) during beta, read our coverage below.

New in iOS 11.3

Beta 1

  • 4 new Animoji on iPhone X: Lion, Skull, Bear, and Dragon
  • ARKit 1.5 with support for vertical surfaces like walls, irregular shaped surfaces like circular tables, support for auto-focus, and 50% higher resolution
  • Business Chat for iMessage in beta with Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s and Wells Fargo on board
  • Health Records in Health app automatically updated from select partners
  • More prominent music video features in Apple Music
  • HomeKit software authentication without chip certification
  • Advanced Mobile Location for sending your location to emergency services when calling from iPhone
  • Messages in iCloud
  • New privacy page during set up and a new Privacy icon in Settings (gray becomes blue)
  • Splash screen for Messages in the Cloud, backup can be disabled in Settings
  • iBooks is now just Books
  • App Store lists version number and update size on Updates screen
  • App Store following text size
  • Hello, Feedback app…
  • Apple TV shows up in Home app with tvOS 11.3, doesn’t work as hub for automation and remote access without tvOS 11.3 on iOS 11.3, AirPlay 2 also working 
  • New ‘Confirm with Side Button’ prompt for purchases on iPhone X

Beta 2

  • No iOS 11.3 beta 2 for iPod touch yet, Apple says a future beta will add support (possibly related to battery management)
  • Battery management settings now visible on certain iPhones (H/T Chris!)
    • The new section is found under Settings → Battery → Battery Health (Beta)
    • iOS details maximum battery capacity and peak performance capability
    • iPhones affected by performance throttling due to aging batteries should be able to disable throttling at the risk of experiencing unexpected shutdowns
    • As discovered by 9to5Mac’s Rambo, this text appears on affected batteries: Your battery’s health is significantly degraded. An Apple Authorized Service Provider can replace the battery to restore full performance and capacity.
    • Apple links to its battery explainer article for more information
  • New splash screen for App Store
  • Podcasts app now plays episodes with one tap, hyperlinks episode pages (H/T Ryan!)
  • Messages in iCloud now includes a confirmation dialogue when deleting message threads
  • VoLTE support for Vodafone contract customers in the UK (H/T Tom!)
  • iPod touch support returns with iOS 11.3 beta 3

Beta 3

  • No more signs of AirPlay 2 for now
  • iOS 11.3 beta no longer attempts to pair HomePods in stereo mode
  • Deleting Messages now have a finished warning dialogue (H/T Duy)

Beta 4-6

  • Books no longer Books, reverted to iBooks
  • Devices should now be recognized by the host computer after updating a device to iOS 11.3 beta 4 and later.
  • iOS 11.3 beta 3 and later support iPod touch (6th generation).
  • In beta 2 and later, Health Record accounts and data are properly synced to Health in iCloud. (35431094)

See our hands-on video with the original beta below:

For more on iOS 11.3, check out these stories:

iOS 11.3 is available today

Major Update Brings New AR Experiences, Animoji, Health Records and More

iOS 11.3 delivers exciting new immersive augmented reality experiences, new Animoji for iPhone X users, access to personal health records in the Health app and more. This free software update also offers customers more visibility into the battery health and performance of their iPhone.

New AR Experiences

The introduction of ARKit with iOS 11 put augmented reality into the hands of hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users, making iOS the world’s biggest AR platform. With iOS 11.3, apps can now deliver AR experiences that use vertical surfaces like walls and doors, in addition to horizontal surfaces like tables and chairs, and more accurately map to irregularly shaped surfaces like circular tables.

Using advanced computer vision techniques to find and recognize the position of 2D images such as signs, posters and artwork, ARKit can integrate these real world images into AR experiences such as filling a museum with interactive exhibits or bringing a movie poster to life. The view of the real world through the camera now has 50 percent greater resolution and supports auto-focus for an even sharper perspective.

Animoji

iPhone X users can now enjoy even more Animoji with lion, bear, dragon or skull. Four all-new Animoji bring iPhone X users’ expressions to life as a lion, bear, dragon or skull. The A11 Bionic chip and TrueDepth camera give users the ability to record and send Animoji messages (and even create Animoji karaoke videos) using their voice and more than 50 different facial muscle movements.

Business Chat

Business Chat lets users communicate directly with businesses like Home Depot right within the Messages app. When searching for a business, users will see the option to contact the business using Messages. With Apple Pay, users can pay with a touch or a glance without leaving the Messages conversation.

Business Chat is launching today in Beta in the US and Canada. This new messaging feature provides users with a new way to communicate directly with businesses, reach a live person to ask a question or make a purchase using Apple Pay, on the go or at home. When searching for a retailer, hotel, bank or other business in Spotlight Search, Safari or Maps, users will have the option to send a message directly to them from the Messages app on iPhone and iPad, and continue conversations with Apple Watch or Mac. Users are always in control of their contact information — businesses will not receive any personal data by default.

Health Records

Starting today, patients can select from several health institutions to access medical information. Starting today, patients can select from several health institutions to access medical information. The new Health Records feature helps patients of more than 40 health systems including Duke, NYU Langone, Stanford and Yale view their medical records from multiple institutions right from their iPhone. With the inclusion of these new institutions, patients have greater access to their medical information including lab results, medications, conditions and more. Health Records data is encrypted and protected with a passcode.

Data & Privacy

iOS 11.3 makes it even easier to understand how personal data may be used. iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 introduce updated data and privacy information that makes it easier than ever for users to understand how their personal data may be used. A new privacy icon and detailed privacy information will appear whenever Apple asks for access to personal information to enable features, secure Apple services or personalize an iOS experience.

Batteries and Performance

View battery health on iPhone and better understand device performance. View battery health on iPhone and better understand device performance. iOS 11.3 adds new features to show battery health of an iPhone and recommend if a battery needs to be serviced. These can be found in Settings -> Battery and are available for iPhone 6 and later. Additionally, users can now see if the power management feature that dynamically manages maximum performance to prevent unexpected shutdowns, first introduced in iOS 10.2.1, is on and can choose to turn it off. This feature can be found in Settings -> Battery and is available for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

Additional iOS 11.3 Features:

  • Apple Music now streams music videos uninterrupted by ads. Users can watch the hottest new videos, classics or ones from their favorite artists back-to-back in new music video playlists.
  • Apple News makes it easier to stay up-to-date on the most important videos of the day with a new Video group in For You, and improved Top Stories.
  • Commuters in Beijing and Shanghai can begin using Apple Pay on their iPhone and Apple Watch for an easy, fast and secure ride on Metro and bus lines.
  • Apple TV app, a unified place for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV users to discover and start watching the best shows and movies, will launch in Brazil and Mexico. These markets join Apple TV app users in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the UK.
  • Brazil will gain Siri support on Apple TV 4K and Apple TV (4th generation), making it possible to search for and access movies, shows, songs, apps and more, using just your voice.
  • HomeKit software authentication provides a great new way for developers to add HomeKit support to existing accessories while protecting privacy and security.
  • Support for Advanced Mobile Location (AML) to automatically send a user’s current location when making a call to emergency services in countries where AML is supported.
  • To learn more ways to get the most out of iOS 11.3, users can visit the Tips app on iPhone or iPad. For details on how to update iOS devices, visit Apple Support.

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