Apple Releases iOS 10.3 With Find My AirPods, APFS, App Store Review Tweaks and More

Apple today released iOS 10.3 to the public, marking the launch of the third major update to the iOS 10 operating system since it launched on September 13, 2016. iOS 10.3 has been in testing since January 24 and Apple seeded seven betas to developers and public beta testers before releasing the software.

iOS 10.3 is available as a free over-the-air update for all iOS 10 users, and it can also be downloaded via iTunes.

As a major 10.x update, iOS 10.3 includes both significant additions and more minor design tweaks and changes. The biggest new consuming-facing feature is "Find My AirPods," which has been added to the Find My iPhone function to help AirPods owners locate a lost earphone should one be misplaced.

Find My AirPods can play a sound to help users find an AirPod misplaced nearby, and it also saves the last known location of when an AirPod was connected to an iOS device via Bluetooth, but it can't locate the AirPods when the iPhone isn't nearby nor can it locate the Charging Case.

iOS 10.3 introduces a new Apple File System (APFS), which is installed when an iOS device is updated. APFS is optimized for flash/SSD storage and includes improved support for encryption. Other features include snapshots for freezing the state of a file system (better for backups), space sharing, and better space efficiency, all of which should result in a more stable platform. Customers updating to iOS 10.3 should first make a backup given that the update installs a new file system.

Some App Store changes are coming in iOS 10.3, allowing developers to respond to customer reviews for the first time. iOS users are also able to label reviews in the App Store as "Helpful" or "Not Helpful" for surfacing more relevant review content, and Apple plans to limit the number of times developers can ask for a review. The update even adds a master switch that lets customers turn off app review request prompts all together.

Other new features in iOS 10.3 include a revamped open/close animation for apps, an Apple ID profile in Settings, a better breakdown of iCloud storage usage, warnings about outdated apps that may not work with future versions of iOS and could slow down devices, HomeKit support for programmable light switches, improvements to SiriKit (bill paying, bill status, and scheduling future rides), CarPlay interface improvements, and iCloud analytics options.
Related Roundup: iOS 10

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