All the Cool New Features Coming in iOS 10.3 for iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch
Apple just seeded the fifth 10.3 beta out to all supported iOS devices enrolled in the Apple Beta Software Program. It's been a little over a week since the fourth 10.3 beta was pushed out, so this can only be a clear indicator of the latest iOS upgrade being finalized and prepared for a public rollout.
iOS 10.3 is a fairly major update, and will succeed iOS 10.2.1 on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. From the changes we can see so far, iOS 10.3 is dedicated to enhancing the overall user experience, and will probably be the last major iOS 10 upgrade to get released (there has only been one X.4 version in iOS's history).
For the most part, updated iOS devices should be faster after the 10.3 upgrade, will have more free storage space, and will enjoy a whole lot of refinement to features that we've seen lingering around for a while now, not to mention the new additions.
Perhaps the biggest and most welcome change to 10.3 will be a new file system, called APFS, or Apple File System. It's not something that users will get to play around with, but they certainly will appreciate it. APFS should free up some storage space and improve performance, as users playing with the latest beta have reported up to an additional five gigabytes of storage availability.
This upgrade will be most appreciated on older devices (such as the iPhone 5s) that seem to have been slowed or bogged down after receiving iOS 10. While the file system is brand new, you won't have to worry about losing any of your data as you would while changing the file system type on Android. The transition to APFS is practically seamless.
Cricket is a fairly popular sport played in many countries all over the world, but Siri was never able to give you results on cricket games—until now. It's a welcome addition in countries such as Australia, England, and India. It's also another notch for Siri to tick off, adding cricket to the already useful feature of game results from other sports such as basketball and hockey. Scores come from the Indian Premier League and International Cricket Council.
A couple of other noteworthy improvements to Siri include booking Uber and Lyft rides for later, and being able to assist you with paying your bills.
The App Store has been around for long enough, so it's about time a couple new features were added to it. The main feature being that developers can now reply to comments left on their applications (something developers have been able to do on the Google Play Store for what feels like ages). This will not only help developers follow up on complaints or suggestions, but will make users feel more engaged as well.
Another handy feature is the ability for developers to change app icons without having to push an update to the application itself. From the sounds of it, installed app icons will be stored in a cache that gets updated whenever the App Store is opened.
There's also another new feature which will allow users to disable in-app purchases and rating popups within apps themselves—very handy and neat.
The Settings app will also be getting a makeover in iOS 10.3, notably the addition of a "Profile" section. This new section will contain all of your personal information for easy access, much like the "Accounts" section on Android. Your name, email(s), phone number(s), and iCloud and iTunes information, all in one easily accessible area.
You already have Find my iPhone installed on your iOS device, so why not add a little more functionality to it? Find my iPhone will now be able to help locate your AirPods if you've misplaced them. This will only work if your AirPods are in the vicinity of your device's Bluetooth connection, otherwise it'll simply say that your AirPods are not in range. You can also initiate playing a sound on your AirPods to help locate them faster.
Pretty useful for locating them in your bedroom or apartment, but not so useful if you forgot them at work or on the subway.
Since iOS 10.0.1, we've had the ability to see the current weather for the viewed location in Maps. But now, if you have a newer iPhone, you can use 3D Touch to see an hourly forecast of the area. Just hard-press to view it, then press harder to jump right into the Weather app.
Before, all you would have to do is make sure you're in Satellite view, the zoom all the way out to see the world as a 3D globe. If you were to do that now, it would just be a flat 2D representation. To get the 3D globe back, when viewing an area in Satellite mode, select "3D" from the menu, then zoom all of the way out. If you don't see the "3D" option, zoom in a little until you do.
The big user-facing changes are all listed above, but there are a handful of smaller tweaks and updates in iOS 10.3 that are worth mentioning:
- UI changes, such as new animations for opening and closing apps.
- Podcasts now has its own widget.
- HomeKit can now dim your lights for you.
- CarPlay has improved multitasking and app switching.
- In Mail, the back button in an email now shows you how many unread messages you have in that mailbox.
- An alert on the "Event Details" screen in Calendar lets you report unknown senders as junk.
- Reduce Motion is supported in Safari for webpages.
- You can rearrange songs on repeat in Music.
There are a lot of minor tweaks and updates not worth going into detail with, as you'll barely notice them, like the new border around Spotlight Search Suggestions, but we're keeping an eye out for all the big ones.
What do you guys think? Is iOS 10.3 something you're looking forward to installing, or have you already decided to skip the wait and join the beta program? Let us hear your thoughts on iOS 10.3 in the comments section below.
Screenshots by Kevin M./Gadget Hacks