Apple releases iOS 11.3 with Battery Health tool, Business Chat, more

Apple has released iOS 11.3 with a Battery Health tool, a Health Records feature, ARKit 1.5, Business Chat, new Animoji, and more. You can download it by going to the Settings App, selecting General, then choosing Software Update.

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The Battery Health tool provides info on your iPhone’s battery. Additionally, users can now see if the power management feature that dynamically manages maximum performance to prevent unexpected shutdowns, first introduced in iOS 10.2.1, is on and can choose to turn it off. 

Business Chat is a new way for users to communicate directly with businesses right within Messages. According to Apple, with Business Chat, it's easy to have a conversation with a service representative, schedule an appointment or make purchases using Apple Pay in the Messages app. Business Chat doesn’t share the user’s contact information with businesses and gives users the ability to stop chatting at any time.

There are also four new Animoji for the iPhone X in iOS 11.5. Working with A11 Bionic in the iPhone X, the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera captures and analyzes over 50 different facial muscle movements, then animates those expressions in a dozen different Animoji (animated emoji), including a panda, unicorn and robot. Available as an iMessage app pre-installed on iPhone X, customers can record and send Animoji messages with their voice that can smile, frown and more.

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The new Health Records feature brings together hospitals, clinics and the existing Health app to make it easy for consumers to see their available medical data from multiple providers, whenever they choose. Patients from participating medical institutions will have information from various institutions organized into one view and receive regular notifications for their lab results, medications, conditions and more. Health Records data is encrypted and protected with a passcode.

ARKit allows developers to tap into the latest computer vision technologies to build detailed virtual content on top of real-world scenes for interactive gaming, immersive shopping experiences, industrial design and more. In addition to horizontal surfaces like tables and chairs, ARKit can now recognize and place virtual objects on vertical surfaces like walls and doors, and can more accurately map irregularly shaped surfaces like circular tables. Version 1.5 more accurately maps irregularly shaped surfaces, has image and object recognition, and allows virtual objects to be placed on vertical surfaces like walls. 

A new "For You" section in Apple News displays hand-picked content and top videos. Support for Advanced Mobile Location (AML) offers a more accurate location when placing an emergency call in a supported country.

Software authentication for HomeKit is included to expand the number of devices that can support HomeKit. A new Privacy screen and icon pops up whenever Apple asks you for info. And, in the App Store, you can now sort reviews by most helpful, most favorable, most critical, and most recent.

However, iOS 11.3 doesn’t include AirPlay 2, which offers multi-room audio support. AirPlay 2 is Apple’s followup to the original AirPlay Wi-Fi-based music playback standard. While Sonos popularized Wi-Fi-based multi-room audio playback, Bluetooth became ubiquitous, and multi-platform Wi-Fi audio standards spread in popularity, Apple lacked a competing story until AirPlay 2.