iOS 11.3 update adds battery health, new Animoji and advanced AR features

Apple launched iOS 11.3 today, marking the biggest update for the iPhone and iPad since iOS 11. It's also just in time for the new iPad 2018 release date on March 30.

The new software brings about several important features, chief among them the new battery health menu. It measures the maximum capacity of your battery. Our nearly five-month-old iPhone X now display 99%, meaning it can charge up to 99%.

This new submenu in battery settings menu comes after it was discovered that Apple was purposely slowing down the performance of older devices. The company's explanation was that it did this in order to maintain battery life and reduce impromptu shut offs. The reason was good – the lack of a public explanation that it was doing this was poor.

Better AR with iOS 11.3

We got to experience new AR features with iOS 11.3 when testing out the new iPad 2018 this week. This is thanks to ARKit 1.5.

The iconic painting appears as if it's on the brick wall with plenty of detail

The iconic painting appears as if it's on the brick wall with plenty of detail

With iOS 11.3, new AR apps like Boulevard AR can more accurately map to vertical surfaces like walls and doors, horizontal surfaces like tables and chairs and, importantly, irregular shaped surfaces like circular tables. 

All of this is an important development, as Apple is extremely bullish on augmented reality apps, especially for classrooms.

Four new Anomoji

There are four new Animoji ready to populate and animate your iPhone X Messages app. You'll find a lion, bear, dragon and skull when you download iOS 11.3. We're now up to 16 Animoji masks.

Like the previous 12 Animoji characters, Apple is able to animate these masks using 50 different facial muscles movements. It's all captured by the TrueDepth camera and A11 Bionic chipset, a pairing that's exclusive to the iPhone X.

Other iOS 11.3 features

The release notes for iOS 11.3 don't stop there. Apple is debuting Business Chat in Messages to let you communicate directly with businesses in the retail, finance and hospitality field. 

These are the four new Animoji in iOS 11.3

These are the four new Animoji in iOS 11.3

Health records are here to help patients of more than 40 health systems view their medical records from multiple institutions. Apple wisely encrypts this data and puts it behind a passcode.

Apple's updated Data & Privacy menu a part of iOS 11.3, just in time for the company to look more on top of it than Facebook when it comes to your privacy protection.

Apple Music now has music videos with iOS 11.3, and Apple is highlighting the fact that you can watch them ad-free.

This is likely the significant iOS 11 update with front-facing features before Apple launches the iOS 12 beta at its WWDC 2018 keynote on June 4. It's reportedly out to solve a lot of those pesky iOS 11 problems.

Matt Swider