Apple Previews iOS 11.3

Posted on January 24, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in iOS with 15 Comments

Apple Previews iOS 11.3

In a rare move, Apple today published a detailed document explaining new features in a minor revision to iOS.

Why would they do this?

Well, as you may recall, Apple recently came under fire for deliberately slowing down iPhones in order to preserve battery life over time. The firm admitted to this practice, and apologized, though it slyly claimed that it only applies to the previous few generations of iPhones. (When anyone who uses an iPhone knows that this performance degradation was common to all versions.) Later, it said that it would allow users to control performance throttling in a future update.

Well, iOS 11.3 is that update. Such a small update would normally pass without any mention by Apple, sans a quickie release notes accompanying the release. But this time, Apple is touting iOS 11.3 as containing “major updates.” Ah, hyperbole.

“This spring, iOS 11.3 will deliver exciting new ways to experience augmented reality on iPhone and iPad, new Animoji on iPhone X, and the ability to view health records in the Health app,” Apple announced.

Sure. That is all very exciting. But the only thing anyone actually gives a crap about is how iOS 11.3 will allow users to configure performance and battery life on aging devices. And to understand that, we’ll need to see the first iOS 11.3 beta, which I will be installing on my iPhone as soon as its available.

In the meantime, Apple does include a brief mention of what we can expect.

“iOS 11.3 adds new features to show battery health and recommend if a battery needs to be serviced … [but only on] iPhone 6 and later,” the firm notes. “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 … These features will be coming in a later iOS 11.3 beta release.”

So that last bit suggests that iOS 11.3 Beta 1 will not include this functionality, I guess. Or, perhaps, that the new power management functionality will actually be in a future iOS 11.3.1 or 11.3.2 (or whatever) release.

iOS 11.3 will be available this spring as a free software update for iPhone 5s and later, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation, iPad mini 2 and later and iPod touch 6th generation, Apple adds.


Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (15)

15 responses to “Apple Previews iOS 11.3”

  1. dontbe evil

    animoji...that's a revolutionary os

  2. the_sl0th

    Crap that the battery information is only on iPhone 6 and newer. And where is the iPad support?

  3. Ron Diaz

    I’m still waiting for MS to get Windows 10 right....

    • jdawgnoonan

      In reply to Hypnotoad:

      Likewise. My Surface Pro 3 STILL doesn’t know what it should do for Contiuum with or without the Type Cover or when docked regardless of how it is configured. I have even reset it to see if it would fix the issues. I like Windows 10, but it is not perfectly implemented even on Microsoft’s own hardware.

  4. RM

    Remember when Apple got caught increasing the signal strength icon by one bar so people thought it had better reception than it really had. Apple never seams to learn. That is part of the reason they have never gotten a penny from me.

  5. djross95

    Love the graphic lead-in to your article, Paul... :-) That used to be Google's modus operandi, (release in beta, then iterative improvements). Now it seems Apple has taken on the this mantle. No one (and I mean literally no one) that I know who's using iOS 11 is not having at least some problems with it.

    • SvenJ

      In reply to djross95: Not sure what you mean by that. No-one (literally no one) is not having some problems with, Android, Chrome, Win 10/7/XP, Linux, Windows Phone.... The days of perfect software never existed. I think I wrote a Hello World once that was rock solid.

      • djross95

        In reply to SvenJ: Agreed, of course. But the level of noise this time around is far louder than it's ever been for a major Apple iOS release (I worked in an Apple store for 2 yrs, so have some experience with this). They'll get it right, they always do, but it's taken a lot more time (and releases) than usual!

  6. Chris_Kez

    I'm curious about the new health stuff, which Apple describes as follows: "The new Health Records feature brings together hospitals, clinics and the existing Health app to make it easy for consumers to see their available medical data from multiple providers, whenever they choose. Patients from participating medical institutions will have information from various institutions organized into one view and receive regular notifications for their lab results, medications, conditions and more. Health Records data is encrypted and protected with a passcode."

    This reminds me of what Microsoft was looking to do with HealthVault. I love the idea of having access to my medical records and being able to share them with health care providers.

  7. rbgaynor

    "a brief mention of what we can expect"

    This beta has support for iMessage in iCloud.

  8. bluvg

    I'm hardly an Apple fan (though Microsoft is making it less and less of a choice...), but I think Apple handled this situation pretty impressively: they owned up to it quickly, and took immediate steps to address it on multiple fronts (cheap battery replacements, forthcoming OS setting). Not many other companies go to that level.

    It's easy to be cynical about their motives, but I think their response should be seen as a laudable example to the rest of the industry.

  9. wocowboy

    A very salient point that was included in the press release about iOS 10.3 is the list of devices on which it can be installed. It includes all iPhone and iPad models for several years back, and this is normal for Apple and is what really distinguishes iOS from Android. Android Oreo only comes installed on a portion of new flagship phones, not every new model, and whether or not it can ever be installed at all or even be offered to users to be installed on anything other than those new flagship phones is dependent on the whims of phone manufacturers and cellphone carriers, so some phones released just a year ago might never be able to run Oreo at all or not until a year or more has passed until the OS can be "tested" by those manufacturers and carriers and piled with bloatware, customizations, and other crap that customers do not want.

    Yes, users can sideload and install Oreo on their own, but that is a geeky and difficult process that the vast majority of users have no interest in ever doing. I will gladly install iOS 10.3 on my iPhone X and I would do the same if I had an iPhone 6. Processors have advanced in between those two devices and the performance of iOS might be a little different on each, but at least I would know I would have the benefit of privacy and security updates that have advanced over the years, and that is something that Android users cannot say at all.

  10. PanamaVet

    My iPhone 6 spent its entire life protected by Otterbox Armor. Late last year the bottom half inch of the screen displayed some faint blinking lines.  Over about a week that area containing important icons and keyboards frequently ignored taps and became a gray overlay to anything displayed. Fortunately the phone is a job perk and I replaced it with an 8. If I were a paying consumer I would have been inclined to dump Apple.

    I replaced the battery in my wife's iPhone 6 last year with the help of an electron microscope. Several IOS updates later it is performing poorly on a fresh new battery.  It will be interesting to see if IOS 11.3 restores performance to old phones with fresh batteries. 

    Could it be that Apple is protecting Apple from fresh batteries? The consumer has been brainwashed into thinking an easily replaceable battery is impossible.  Let's include memory card slots and a waterproof headphone jack in that mix.