Apple Seeds First Beta of iOS 11.3 to Developers With New Animoji, Business Chat, Health Records, iCloud Messages and More

Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming iOS 11.3 update to developers, one week after releasing iOS 11.2.5, an update that focused primarily on bug fixes and security improvements.

Registered developers can download the iOS 11.3 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center.


Apple this morning shared a preview of iOS 11.3, outlining all of the new features we can expect to see in the update.

iOS 11.3 will bring four new Animoji characters to the iPhone X, like a lion, bear, dragon, and skull, giving iPhone X users new characters to play with, and it reintroduces iCloud Messages, a feature that was removed from the initial iOS 11 release.


The software update includes improved ARKit tools for developers. ARKit 1.5 can recognize and place virtual objects on vertical surfaces and it can more accurately map irregularly shaped surfaces like circular tables. ARKit is able to recognize the position of 2D images like signs, posters, and artwork, integrating them into AR experiences. Museums, for example, can be filled with interactive exhibits or a movie poster can be brought to life. The real-world view through the camera when using AR also offers 50 percent greater resolution (1080p) in ARKit 1.5 and supports auto-focus.


Business Chat, a feature that first debuted in iOS 11, is officially launching in beta capacity this spring with support from businesses like Discover, Hilton, Lowe's, and Wells Fargo. You'll be able to have customer support chats with these companies right within the Messages app.


In the Health app, Apple is adding a new Health Records feature to make it easier for customers with a participating medical institution to access their records right on their iPhone, even when those medical records are spread across multiple providers.


Supported providers include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine, Geisinger Health System, UC San Diego Health - San Diego, California, UNC Health Care , Rush University Medical Center, Dignity Health, Ochsner Health System, MedStar Health, Ohio Health, and Cerner Healthe Clinic.

A later beta of iOS 11.3 will feature new, more detailed information about the health of a device's battery. The change comes following controversy over power management features implemented in older devices to prevent unexpected shutdowns. Those power management features throttle iPhones with degraded batteries at times of peak power usage to maintain stable performance.

The update should provide a lot more data about battery health, and there will also be an option to let customers turn off the power management feature entirely, though Apple does not recommend disabling it. The new features can be found in Settings --> Battery and are available for iPhone 6 and later.

Other new features included in iOS 11.3 include support for streaming unlimited music videos in Apple Music without ads, a new "For You" video of the day in Apple News along with improved Top Stories, HomeKit software authentication to make it easier for accessory makers to add HomeKit support into existing devices, support for Advanced Mobile Location (AML) to automatically send a user's current location when making a call to emergency services in supported countries, a new name for "iBooks," which is now just "Books," and an update to the App Store updates page, which now shows the version number and download size of all updates.

Today's beta is limited to developers, but Apple says a public beta will be released for public beta testers soon.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
35 months ago
Messages in iCloud

Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
35 months ago
Waiting for Messages in iCloud is like waiting for Copy Paste for two years (even though never promised)

Ah, the memories...
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
35 months ago

Any word on the possible dark mode that was rumored for 11.3?

Doesn't really seem like anything like that was rumored.

Maybe Apple can come out with "iOS Professional" version where is leaves out all this emoji, Animoji, iMessage stickers apps, etc.

I believe that's just called not using those things.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
35 months ago
The .3 releases are lately the bigger, better ones.

Although they should stop this silly game where there needs to be a major new version every year. Quality seems to suffer from it. Just give us 11.4 in May, and announce 11.5 on WWDC in June. iPhone 11 can ship with iOS 11.6 or whatever they want to call it.

Same goes for macOS.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
35 months ago

Messages in iCloud has been reserved for iOS 20 as a groundbreaking revolutionary magical feature

It's in this beta
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
35 months ago

Eh same reason Force Touch only came to 6S (because “hardware” limited it from the 6). Sure it probably could be used on other devices (like the app you mentioned) but Apple has always had a habit of limiting features to the newest devices because: business and marketing.

Errrrr. How would you implement 3D Touch without hardware support?

And while you can achieve some level of face tracking with a camera, which every iPhone since the 4 has had, the X adds infra-red and can thus make a 3D model of your face, making the tracking far more accurate. Hence Animoji working far better.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Leaker: 'iPhone 12 mini' and iPhone 12 Storage Capacities Start at 64GB, Pro Models at 128GB

Tuesday September 29, 2020 2:31 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple's iPhone 12 launch event will be held on October 13, with the more affordable 5.4 and 6.1-inch devices set to ship out ahead of the more expensive 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch Pro devices, and this morning hit-and-miss leaker Jon Prosser has further committed to that date by providing alleged details on Apple's first shipment of finalized iPhone 12 units. Prosser claims the...

Hands-On With iOS 14.2's New Shazam Music Recognition Toggle in Control Center

Monday September 28, 2020 2:35 pm PDT by
Shortly after launching iOS 14, Apple introduced an upcoming iOS 14.2 update, which is now available to developers and public beta testers ahead of a public release that could come at some point in October. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iOS 14.2 update mainly focuses on the Control Center, introducing a new Music Recognition toggle that deepens the Shazam...

Top Stories: iOS 14 Feature Tour, 'iPhone 12 mini' Rumors, Apple Watch Band Controversy

Saturday September 26, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Things started to calm down a bit this week following last week's rush of media event, Apple Watch and iPad launches, and the release of iOS 14 and other operating updates. But that doesn't mean there wasn't still a lot of news, from digging deeper into iOS 14 to more iPhone 12 rumors to the uproar over trying to exchange band sizes on the new Apple Watch. On top of all of that, we heard...

DigiTimes: 12.9-inch Mini-LED iPad Pro Arriving Early 2021, Mini-LED MacBook Coming Later

Tuesday September 29, 2020 4:18 am PDT by
Apple will launch a 12.9-inch mini LED-backlit iPad Pro in early 2021 and a mini LED-backlit MacBook in the second-half of next year, according to DigiTimes. The Taiwan-based industry publication claims Epistar will supply the over-10,000 mini LEDs used in each iPad Pro tablet. Meanwhile, Apple is expected to recruit Osram Opto as another supplier of mini LEDs for use in a new "high-end"...

iPhone 12 May Launch Earlier Than Usual in South Korea

Monday September 28, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
The upcoming iPhone 12 lineup may launch earlier than usual in South Korea, reports The Korea Herald. South Korean telecoms firms speaking to The Korea Herald have said that the iPhone 12 lineup will launch ahead of its usual schedule. Normally, the release of new iPhones in South Korea comes about one month after launch in the United States. Last year, the iPhone 11 arrived in South Korea ...

iOS 14: 'Phoenix 2' Space Shooter Delivers Playable Demo via App Clips

Saturday September 26, 2020 2:08 pm PDT by
One of the new features that arrived in iOS 14 is called App Clips. App Clips is described by Apple to be a "small part of your app" that can be available to users at just the right moment.App Clips focus on finishing one task quickly. An ideal App Clip experience allows users to open and complete a task in seconds. Instead of requiring an App Store download, they can be loaded and run via...

Epic Games Unlikely to Win Injunction in Ongoing Fortnite Battle With Apple, Jury Trial Possible

Monday September 28, 2020 1:14 pm PDT by
The ongoing legal dispute between Apple and Epic Games continued on today, with a preliminary injunction hearing taking place this morning. We're still waiting to hear the judge's official ruling, but it looks like Epic is not going to be granted an injunction to allow Fortnite back into the App Store as the case unfolds. Many of the arguments that lawyers for Apple and Epic Games made were...

iPhone 12 Production Lines at Foxconn's Zhengzhou Factory in China Running '24 Hours a Day'

Tuesday September 29, 2020 3:38 am PDT by
Apple contract manufacturer Foxconn is running its massive Zhengzhou factory in China 24 hours a day to produce the new iPhone 12, according to Chinese media reports. Apple's main iPhone manufacturer in China is said to be cancelling workers' holidays and introducing mandatory overtime with additional bonuses for longer-serving staff, according to information garnered from employees,...

'iPhone 12 mini' Name Reappears in Leaked Apple iPhone 12 Case Stickers

Friday September 25, 2020 1:58 am PDT by
Earlier this week a proven leaker claimed that the iPhone 12 lineup would be named "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max," and today the same nomenclature has appeared again in a photo depicting alleged stickers from unreleased Silicone iPhone cases originating from Apple's international distribution center in Ireland. The photo shows three stickers with the...

Apple Releases iOS 14.0.1 With Fix for Bug That Resets Default Apps After Rebooting

Thursday September 24, 2020 10:12 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 14.0.1, the first update to the iOS 14 operating system that was released on September 16. Today's update is a bug fix update addressing issues that weren't able to be fixed in the initial iOS 14 launch. The iOS 14.0.1 update is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. ...