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iOS 11.3 Released: Here's the Top 6 Features

Apple has pushed out the iOS 11.3 update for its iPhones and iPads, bringing a feature that’s been highly anticipated since the company's battery management scheme came to light late last year.

Photo Credit: Adam Ismail/Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Photo Credit: Adam Ismail/Tom's Guide)

With 11.3, owners of iPhone 6 devices or newer can check on their battery’s health from the Settings app. The new menu, which launches in beta, not only shows you how significantly your iPhone’s battery has degraded since you bought it, but also lets you opt out of throttling processing power to extend longevity on a charge. Previously, iOS automatically limited performance in the name of longer battery life, if the battery had diminished in capacity beyond 80 percent.

The latest iOS release includes many other additions and changes. Here’s a run down of the big ones:

New Animoji

Four new Animoji are arriving for iPhone X users: a lion, bear, skull and dragon. These additions have been a part of 11.3 beta releases for a while, and now brings the total number of Animoji up to 16.

Animojis can be used to send customized messages that track your facial expressions and speech. Our Animoji guide delves into how to use the feature to shake up your iMessage game.

Business Chat

Like Facebook Messenger, iMessage is gaining the capability to let users talk with businesses. The feature will go live first in the U.S. and Canada, with other regions to follow.

Image Credit: Apple

(Image credit: Image Credit: Apple)

The option to chat with a business will appear across Apple Maps, Safari and Spotlight Search. Within the conversation, the vendor can even list items for sale that can be instantly purchased using Apple Pay — all without leaving the app.

Business Chat will launch with a handful of companies. Predictably you’ll be able to use it to chat with an Apple Store representative, along with employees from Wells Fargo, The Home Depot, Marriott, Lowe’s, Hilton and Discover.

AR Kit Improvements

Apple’s augmented reality development suite, ARKit, sees new functionality in iOS 11.3. Developers can now allow on-screen objects to interact with vertical surfaces in the real world, instead of only horizontal surfaces like desks and floors.

MORE: Best AR Apps for iOS

Additionally, ARKit has been refined to work better with irregularly-shaped surfaces, including circular tables. Apple says the feed from the camera in AR applications has a 50 percent sharper resolution in iOS 11.3, and also supports autofocus for the first time.

Data and Privacy

Amidst the brouhaha over Facebook’s data mishandling, Apple is setting out to make its own data practices a bit more transparent in iOS 11.3. While the new software doesn’t change Apple’s privacy protocol or even give users more options, it should make it a little more obvious when an app or system service is using your personal information.

A new icon will display whenever your iPhone or iPad requests sensitive data, alongside “detailed privacy information,” according to the company. This update is reaching Apple’s computers as well, as part of the macOS 10.13.4 release.

Health Records

Patients of participating medical clinics will now be able to view their encrypted medical records from their iPhone or iPad. Health Records launches with more than 40 partner networks, including DukeHealth and NYU Langone. The new feature is accessible from the Health app.

The 11.3 release brings other changes as well. Apple Music will no longer display ads in music videos, and the News app, which was relaunched in iOS 11, now has a section devoted to video in the For You tab. Calling emergency services also now employs Advanced Mobile Location, so first responders have your whereabouts as soon as you’ve connected. The full changelog is available on Apple’s site.