After beta testing the update since January, Apple is today rolling out iOS 11.3 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The new version includes a slew of additions including new Animoji characters for iPhone X, improved ARKit for more advanced augmented reality, and the ability to turn off processor throttling for iPhones with aging batteries inside.
That last feature is the result of a hailstorm of criticism and bad press that Apple faced when it was discovered that iOS automatically slows down peak processor performance in some iPhones to prevent unexpected shutdowns. The controversy forced Apple to issue a public apology, and now customers will be given the option to disable all throttling no matter how old their iPhone’s battery is.
This comes at the risk of their iPhone powering down if the battery can’t provide sufficient power for some intensive processor tasks. Replacing your iPhone’s battery is the best way to maintain peak performance and avoid throttling altogether. The ability to toggle throttling on or off only applies to the iPhone 7 / 7 Plus, SE, 6S / 6S Plus, 6 / 6 Plus for now. But all users with an iPhone 6 or later will see a new battery health screen that will recommend if a battery needs to be serviced.
Aside from all this stuff, iOS 11.3 also includes a number of bug fixes. One that I’m very happy about pertains to Apple’s Smart Keyboard for iPad. If yours has been randomly disconnecting at times, the company seems to have fixed that. Somehow the problem was related to captive Wi-Fi networks (like those at coffee shops). Weird. But it was super annoying, and I’m glad it’s supposedly been fixed.
But a couple significant features — Messages in iCloud and AirPlay 2 — that appeared in earlier betas have been removed from the final version of iOS 11.3. It seems they still just aren’t ready for an official release. So Apple’s HomePod speaker still won’t be able to do multi-room playback or stereo pairing in the near term. AirPlay 2 was pulled relatively early in the beta builds, but it seemed like we might finally get the convenience of keeping our message history in iCloud. Unfortunately, the wait continues for both.