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.