iOS 11.3 gets its first public beta


iOS 11.3 ARKit
Augmented reality will be even better with glasses.
Photo: Apple

Apple has rolled out its first public beta of iOS 11.3, just a day after its first developer release.

The update brings a whole host of new features, including new Animoji for iPhone X, Business Chat for iMessage, Messages in iCloud, and more.

Apple teased iOS 11.3 earlier this week ahead of its public release this spring. Although it is only an incremental update, there’s lots of changes and improvements to look forward to for iPhone and iPad users.

What’s new in iOS 11.3?

iPhone X users can now enjoy lion, bear, dragon, and skull Animojis, while ARKit 1.5 promises even greater augmented reality experiences for all. It’s now possible to place virtual objects on vertical surfaces like walls and doors, as well as irregular-shaped surfaces.

Business Chat lets you connect with businesses via iMessage, with support from Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s, and Wells Fargo initially. You can use it for customer service, to schedule appointments, and even to make purchases with Apple Pay.

Health Records are now available inside the Health app, while a larger catalog of music videos is coming to Apple Music. iOS 11.3 brings the ability to create music video playlists so you can enjoy your favorite tracks back-to-back.

Performance throttling changes

Apple has also made improvements to HomeKit, and taken steps to address its controversial performance throttling practices.

Users will soon be able to see when their iPhone battery needs servicing, and they’ll have the option to choose between the best possible performance, or better battery life. However, this functionality isn’t yet available inside iOS 11.3 beta 1.

Other additions in this update include Messages in iCloud, a new Privacy icon and settings menu, a renamed Books app, and more.

If you’re signed up to receive public beta releases, you should be able to download iOS 11.3 now. If not, you can register for Apple’s Beta Software Program.