Heads up, iOS device users: It’s time to update your mobile operating system
Apple on Thursday released iOS 11.3, which, perhaps most notably, lets you switch off its controversial slowdown feature and see a breakdown of your battery’s health, so you’ll know whether it needs to be serviced. After installing the update, head over to Settings > Battery > Battery Health to see if the slowdown feature is enabled on your iPhone 6, 6 Plus, SE, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, or 7 Plus. There, you can turn it off if you so choose.
Apple tipped the new battery health features earlier this year following the revelation that it intentionally cranked down iPhone CPU speeds without telling anyone. Introduced as part of iOS 10.2.1 in January 2017, this “power management feature,” as Apple calls it, was intended to ensure that aging batteries could keep up with newer mobile OSes and to avoid crashes.
The revelation set off a flurry of consumer complaints over why the company kept the practice secret, and Apple responded with a battery replacement discount for the whole of 2018.
On the privacy front, the update introduces a new icon—two blue people shaking hands—which will appear “whenever Apple asks for access to personal information to enable features, secure Apple services, or personalize an iOS experience,” the company explained in a news release.
There’s also a new Health Records feature within the Health app that will let patients of more than 40 health systems—including Duke, NYU Langone, Stanford, and Yale—view their medical records on the iPhone.
Another new feature called Business Chat will let you communicate with companies via the Messages app on your iPhone or iPad. To try it out, search for a business in Maps, Safari, Search, or via Siri, and you may see the option to text the company. Newegg, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, Hilton, Marriott, Discover, Wells Fargo, TD Ameritrade, and 1-800-Flowers have already agreed to support this new feature.
Finally, iOS 11.3 also allows for some fun, new augmented reality experiences.
“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,” Apple explained.