Yesterday, Apple issued the release candidate for iOS 14.3 to developers, signifying that its widespread release to the public is imminent. With this in mind, we take a look at the top iOS 14.3 RC features, a release full of new changes, and support for upcoming products like AirPods Max and services like Apple Fitness+. Watch our hands-on video walkthrough for an overview of what’s new in iOS 14.3.

Brand new full bleed animated playlist headers in Apple Music

Apple Music gains some beautiful new animated playlist headers in iOS 14.3. The updated headers, which only appear for select playlists at the moment, are full bleed, meaning that they extend from edge to edge on your iPhone. The headers are also animated, with some playlists featuring subtle animations, while others like BEATstrumentals, sporting more complex animations. It’s not the sort of feature that adds new functionality to your iPhone, but it adds to the visual appeal of Apple Music playlists.

Video: Top iOS 14.3 RC features and changes

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AirPods Max support

Apple’s recently-announced AirPods Max will require iOS 14.3, so it’s no surprise that Apple name-dropped the new $549 over-the-ear headphones in its iOS 14.3 release notes.

Apple Fitness+ support

iOS 14.3 also includes support for Apple’s upcoming fitness streaming service, Apple Fitness+. Pieces of Fitness+ support have already appeared in previous betas, but it seems like the full foundation is present inside the iOS 14.3 release candidate. For instance, eagle-eyed users will already find Apple Fitness+ analytics and improvements preferences in Privacy settings with a full description.

Once Apple Fitness+ officially launches on December 14, iPhone users will see a new tab dedicated to the service in the Fitness app. Apple Fitness+ will cost $9.99 a month, or $79.99 a year. It’s also included in the premiere Apple One services bundle, which costs $29.95 a month.

Ecosia search option in Safari

Users can now go to Settings > Safari > Search Engine to configure Ecosia as default, a search engine that lends the majority of its profits to reforestation efforts.

Music app uses system-wide video player UI

Along with the updated playlist headers, Apple Music now gains access to the standard system-wide video player UI. This is a welcomed change, as it provides a more consistent viewing experience when watching music videos.

Apple Arcade enhanced filtering options

Due to the sheer volume of titles found within Apple Arcade, it can sometimes be difficult to find titles without knowing exactly what you’re looking for beforehand. To help with this issue, Apple has enhanced the ability to filter titles in Apple Arcade.

When you tap on the “See All Games” button at the bottom of the Apple Arcade tab, you’ll find options that allow you to sort by release date, last update, name, and category. You can also filter by controller support, app ratings, and multiplayer support.

People detection tool

iPhone 12 Pro users will find a new “People Detection” tool in the Magnifier app that lets you discern how far away people are with an assist from the LiDAR sensor.

PAL video format support

Apple has added support for 25fps PAL format shooting in the stock Camera app preferences. To enable PAL format, go to Settings > Camera > Record Video and enable the Show PAL Formats switch.

TV app updates and enhancements

The TV app gains subtle changes with its layout, but the biggest update involves the updated Search page, which surfaces popular video categories similar to what we find in Apple Music search. In addition, there’s a dedicated Apple TV+ category that makes it easy to find content exclusive to Apple’s video streaming service.

Apple News+ Audio updates

Apple News+ Audio updates include better formatting so that article titles are no longer truncated. There’s also a new Read Story link on each Apple News+ Audio article, useful for those that like to read along with audio playback. Additional improvements include a dedicated Apple News+ Audio channel, complete with individual audio categories.

Set wallpaper action in Shortcuts

iOS 14.3 marks the return of the Set Wallpaper action in shortcuts, which opens up a wealth of possibilities for Shortcuts app tinkerers. I’ve been using Set Wallpaper to enable dynamic wallpaper that automatically changes when my iPhone is connected to power. To learn more, watch our hands-on video that walks you through the entire process step-by-step.

Apple ProRAW support for iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max

And finally, perhaps the most important change for photography fans who own the iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 Max — Apple ProRAW support is available in iOS 14.3. As you’ll see in our hands-on video, Apple ProRAW is a big enhancement for photo editing workflows.

Apple ProRAW provides users with photos that contain more information with less baked-in image processing. Hence, Apple ProRAW lends greater flexibility and creativity to alter the photos in pro editing apps like Affinity Photo and Adobe Lightroom. Apple ProRAW results in increased dynamic range and more room to adjust editing exposure, white balance, etc. The biggest downside to Apple ProRAW is file size, with each image being approximately 25 MB in size. If you plan on taking a lot of RAW photos, you’re going to need an iPhone with plenty of storage space.

9to5Mac’s take

iOS 14.3 is a huge update that adds support for new hardware and services like AirPods Max and Apple Fitness+. It also adds one of the most important features for iPhone 12 Pro users — Apple ProRAW support. In addition, it brings noteworthy enhancements to Apple News+, makes finding Apple Arcade titles easier and brings welcomed visual flair and consistency to Apple Music.

What’s your favorite new change or feature in iOS 14.3? Sound off in the comments below with your thoughts.

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