​iOS 10.3: The best new features to try out


by Vanessa Hand Orellana April 4, 2017 9:55 AM PDT @vanehand

iOS 10.3: Best new features

Apple's new operating system is now available to download. Here are a few changes you can expect with the update.

by Vanessa Hand Orellana




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Apple has just released the official version of iOS 10.3 for everyone, the last major software update for iPhones, iPads and iPods before the big iOS 11 roll out in June.

Don't expect obvious changes in this version of iOS, but there are a few subtle tweaks that may be worth the upgrade.

1. Apple ID Profile

There's a new profile section at the top of the settings menu with all your account information.

Click on your profile to access your iCloud, iTunes, App Store and Family Sharing information in one place and scroll down to see a list of all the Apple devices linked to these accounts.

You'll still need to log in to the Find my iPhone app on your phone or web browser to access them all, but it will save you from having to dig through the settings to access each account.

2. iCloud storage breakdown

If you pay for extra storage on Apple's iCloud, this next one will be especially useful. You can now see exactly how you're using your iCloud storage by clicking on the iCloud option in this new profile section. Tap the graph at the top of this section to figure out exactly what the storage hogs are. This gives you a device and program-specific breakdown detailing how many gigs of storage are being used by each.

If you haven't activated the two-factor authentication on your account (which you should), you'll notice a new "suggestion" section right below your profile in the main settings page. Apple may use this space to give you other suggestions to improve your device's performance, but for now this is the only suggestion that appeared on my phone.

3. Weather in Maps

If you're a fan of Apple's proprietary Maps app, you will now have a glimpse of the weather wherever you go. The latest update adds a tiny weather bug to the bottom right-hand corner of the screen showing the current weather conditions in that area. For a seven-day breakdown of the weather just 3D Touch the weather bug or continue holding to open the weather app in a new screen.

4. Find my AirPods

If you've splurged on a pair of AirPods, this feature will save you time and money. If not, just read ahead.

Sign in to your Find my iPhone app and you should now see the AirPods as one of the devices associated with your account. Click to see the last known location of the 'Pods when they were paired with your phone or ping them to make them ring. Just make sure you're not wearing them if you want to keep your hearing intact.

Apple has not disclosed the official release date for iOS 10.3, which means these features are still subject to change. And the final version of the update may still end up including the "theater mode" or any other features Apple wants to debut before WWDC in June.

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5. App compatibility status

Chances are, you may be holding on to a few apps that have stopped receiving updates, which could be making your phone sluggish and buggy.

iOS 10.3 makes it easy to identify the culprits right from the Settings menu. Click on the About option on your General settings and wait for the information to load. If you have any non compatible apps lying around, you should see an arrow appear next to the number next to Applications. Another click should then take you to the App Compatibility page listing the offenders.

A better way to store your files

One of the most important changes in iOS 10.3 is one you can't really see or try. Apple is taking the first step in switching all of its devices to a more advanced file system known as the Apple File System (APFS).

Apple's new File System replaces the existing Hierarchical File System (HFS+) and has stronger encryption, storage optimization among other improvements.

What does this mean for you? What you'll notice right away is a longer installation time and a small bump in storage space. But over time this will mean improved performance over time, efficient storage and a more stable platform.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on January 27, 2017 and has since been updated.

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