Apple Releases iOS 11.3 With Battery Health, Throttling Controls And New Animoji

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Apple today released iOS 11.3 for iPhone and iPad users, and with it comes a number of welcome updates. The most important update for users -- especially those with older iPhones -- is the inclusion of a "Battery Health" feature, which Apple promised following the revelation that the company was secretly throttling iPhone performance to preserve battery life.

After Apple was called out for its actions, it confessed and offered an apology. It also reduced the price of battery replacements for affected devices to $29. The latest step with iOS 11.3 allows iPhone users to see the maximum capacity of their battery along with peak performance capabilities. For those users that have batteries that have degraded to the point where automatic throttling would have normally occurred, Apple now gives users the ability to turn off this functionality. However, it'd probably be wise to just take Apple up on its offer for a $29 replacement if your battery is severely degraded.

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In a commendable move, Apple is disabling its previous performance management routine (aka throttling) by default. It will only automatically kick back in if you encounter and unexpected shutdown.

Other features introduced with iOS 11.3 are four new Animoji for the iPhone X: a lion, bear, dragon and a skull. ARKit has been bumped up to version 1.5, and now allows you to partake in AR experiences using vertical surfaces including walls and doors (this is in addition to horizontal surfaces which were supported in earlier versions of ARKit).  In addition, ARKit 1.5 is able to more accurately map irregular shaped surfaces.

iOS 11.3 includes a new Health Records section within the Health app, which gives you access to your personal health records. You'll be able to view your medical records from more than 40 participating health systems including Duke, NYU Langone, Stanford and Yale. You'll receive notifications regarding labs results and medications, and access to these records is encrypted and protected with your device passcode.

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Another new addition is Business Chat, which will allow you to directly communication with select business using the iMessages app. It's currently available in beta for Apple customers in the United States and Canada.

And given the negativity surrounding Facebook with regards to user privacy these days, Apple is taking additional steps on that front as well:

iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 introduce updated data and privacy information that makes it easier than ever for users to understand how their personal data may be used. A new privacy icon and detailed privacy information will appear whenever Apple asks for access to personal information to enable features, secure Apple services or personalize an iOS experience.

In addition to the new features, there are also a host of bug fixes, security updates and other minor tweaks that you view in the full change log. For users of supported iOS devices, you can download iOS 11.3 b going to Settings --> General --> Software Update.