Apple recently released a new iOS 10.3 beta 7 to testers and developers and today we want to take a close look at everything we know, right now, about the the iOS 10.3 update and its release for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
iOS 11 rumors are starting to pickup but a release is still several months away. iOS 10 is still in focus and Apple is planning at least one more iOS 10 milestone upgrade for iPhone and iPad users in 2017.
The iOS 10.3 update is currently in beta ahead of release and it will be a massive upgrade for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
And with an iOS 10.3 release getting closer, we want to take a look at everything we currently know about the contents of the update, the iOS 10.3 release date and time, and more.
A number of key iOS 10.3 release details remain unconfirmed so this roundup adds in a few things we expect from Apple.
We’ll continue to update this roundup with new details so check back for frequent updates. We should learn more about iOS 10.3 as it progresses through its beta.
How to Get the iOS 10.3 Update Right Now
If you want to try the iOS 10.3 update on your device ahead of the official release date you can do that thanks to the iOS 10.3 beta.
Apple’s released its iOS 10.3 beta 7 to both developers and those signed up for the free Beta Software Program. The company’s Beta Software Program is available to anyone with a working Apple ID.
If you decide to try the iOS 10.3 update before its official release you’ll want to be extremely careful. Early software can (and probably will) cause problems on your device. This is why we recommend doing some prep work before you install iOS 10.3 beta.
We’ve put together a guide that will take you through the steps to take before you download the iOS 10.3 beta on your iPhone or iPad.
You’ll also want to take a look at our list of reasons to, and not to, install the iOS 10.3 beta update on your device. Most of you will probably want to skip the beta and wait for the official version of iOS 10.3 to arrive.
When and if you get the iOS 10.3 beta on board your device, make sure you report issues to Apple so company engineers can improve the software ahead of its official release.
You Can Downgrade from iOS 10.3 Beta to iOS 10.2.1
If you decide to try the iOS 10.3 update know that there is a way to drop down to an official version of iOS 10.
If iOS 10.3 starts causing problems for you, you can get off the beta. Apple is currently signing off on iOS 10.2.1 which means you can drop down to it if you’re unhappy with the beta’s performance on your iPhone or iPad.
Unfortunately, you can’t drop down to anything older than iOS 10.2.1 so you’ll want to be absolutely sure about the iOS 10.3 beta if you’re coming from an older iOS 10 update or an older operating system like iOS 9.
For more on the iOS 10.3 beta to iOS 10 downgrade process, take a look at our roundup. It’ll take you through the important steps.
iOS 10.3 Release Date
An iOS 10.3 release date remains unconfirmed though it will be out for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch by the end of April. This is confirmed.
Earlier this month Apple made some significant changes to its iPad lineup. The company killed the 32GB iPad mini 4 in favor of a $399 128GB model. Apple also killed off the iPad mini 2, a budget option that has been available for several years now.
Apple also announced a brand new 9.7-inch iPad that features a brighter Retina Display and improved performance. It runs iOS 10 and it will arrive on Friday, March 24th.
There’s a chance Apple releases iOS 10.3 ahead of the new iPad (similar to how it releases iOS updates ahead of a new iPhone release) but this remains unconfirmed as we push toward the device’s release date.
It’s also worth noting that one of the key features from the latest version of iTunes, 12.6, requires the iOS 10.3 update.
The iTunes 12.6 update delivers a “Rent once, watch anywhere” feature that lets iTunes users watch their movie rentals across all of their devices.
iOS 10.3 is required to use this feature which seems to point to an imminent release date.
If not March, we’ll definitely see iOS 10.3 arrive before the end of April.
Apple’s also announced a new Clips application that requires iOS 10.3. Clips is expected to be out sometime in April and we could see the company opt to roll out iOS 10.3 alongside its brand new application.
iOS 10.3 Release Time
The iOS 10.3 release date is still a bit unpredictable but the iOS 10.3 release time for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch isn’t. Apple’s iOS release times are very predictable.
The iOS 10.3 update will almost certainly arrive around 10AM Pacific on release day. You can expect the same from upcoming Apple’s iOS 10.3 beta updates, if there are any left.
Here’s what that will look like for other regions in the United States and countries around the world including Australia and Japan:
- Eastern – 1 PM
- Central – 12 PM
- Mountain – 11AM
- London – 6 PM
- Moscow – 9 PM
- New Delhi – 10:30 PM
- Shanghai – 1 AM
- Tokyo – 2 AM
- Melbourne – 3 AM
- Auckland – 5 AM
Apple might not confirm the iOS 10.3 release time ahead of the official roll out. So, if you want to get it as soon as possible, you’ll want to keep an eye out for new software around 10AM Pacific Monday-Friday. Apple never releases iOS updates on the weekend.
iOS 10.3 Update
The iOS 10.3 beta’s confirmed some of the potential features coming with the official version of the iOS 10.3 update. We say potential because the beta’s change log could be a little different than the official version.
Apple could add features and/or it could strip out some features/functions that didn’t perform well in testing.
One of the main features in iOS 10.3 beta is a “Find My AirPods” function that will make it easier for AirPod owners to, you guessed it, find their AirPods. The feature is currently located in the Find My iPhone app.
iOS 10.3 beta also includes a useful new iCloud storage breakdown feature that’s found in the new iCloud section of the iOS 10.3’s new Apple ID Settings.
As you can see in the screenshot above, the feature makes it easier to see how your iCloud storage space is being used.
I remain reasonably convinced that an iOS device screen refresh rate higher than 60Hz is possible this year pic.twitter.com/k9W4q8rxcm
— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) March 22, 2017
The iOS 10.3 beta also includes a way for app developers to respond to user reviews on the App Store and the Mac App Store, code that hints at a 10.5-inch iPad, a hidden one-hand floating iPad keyboard layout, Wi-Fi Calling to Verizon customers with iCloud-connected devices, and an important feature for unexpected shutdown issues plaguing the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6.
New in iOS 10.3, a one-handed floating iPad (9.7" or less) keyboard layout. Can be moved around onscreen like the PiP overlay 🤔 pic.twitter.com/KLKybkR820
— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) January 24, 2017
Here are a few other potential iOS 10.3 features developers found in the first beta, courtesy of MacRumors forums:
- Expanded HomeKit switch accessory support.
- Siri learns cricket scores from Indian Premier League and International Cricket Council.
- Safari now supports Reduced Motion preference in web apps.
- New user security section in Settings app.
- Podcast Widget.
- In App Ratings & Reviews in settings lets you turn them on or off.
- New app opening animation (angled in the corners then expands to full screen).
- Three (UK) now includes Wi-Fi Calling support.
- Playlist sorting changes in Music app (Apple Music Playlists are now at the top, rather than the bottom when sorted by type).
- In CarPlay the time/cell strength/network in the status bar is now centered between 3 current apps and the home button.
That CarPlay tweak is tiny compared to one testers found lurking inside Apple’s iOS 10.3 beta 2 update.
In older versions of iOS, CarPlay users had to tap twice to get to another application. One tap to go Home and another to open up the application. Apple’s made improvements in iOS 10.3.
In iOS 10.3, CarPlay users will now notice three recently used applications sitting in the dock that’s aligned on the left side of the screen. This will make it easier, and safer, to switch back and forth between applications.
Also noteworthy is the change to the iPhone file system. When you install iOS 10.3 beta on your device, your iPhone’s file system will be updated to use Apple File System (APFS).
This change, announced at WWDC 2016, APFS is optimized for Flash/SSD storages. It delivers stronger encryption among other features.
AFPS also reportedly improves boot speed on older devices like the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 5s, two aging former flagships running iOS 10.
It’s also worth mentioning that iOS 10.3 beta is spitting out warning messages when users try to run 32-bit applications.
The message tells users that these apps “will not work with future versions of iOS” and that the developer will need to update them to continue running properly. Apple has required 64-bit support for new app submissions and app updates since 2015.
RIP 32-bit emulation mode in iOS 11? pic.twitter.com/byMFuJPuVN
— Peter Steinberger (@steipete) January 31, 2017
These apps still run in iOS 10.3 which means Apple will likely drop support for old 32-bit apps with its iOS 11 release later this year.
The message still appears in the latest iOS 10.3 beta though there is a new “Learn More” button attached to it.
In the iOS 10.3 beta 3, there is now a “App Compatibility” section in Settings that lists apps that might not be compatible with future versions of iOS, probably iOS 11.
Testers using the iOS 10.3 beta 5 in Canada discovered the TV app lurking on board. It’s non-functional but it could go live when the official version is released.
And finally, the newest versions of iOS 10.3 beta have also started prompting users to enable two-factor authentication via a push notification.
Install iOS 10.2.1 If You Want Better Security
If you value your security, you'll want to seriously consider downloading the iOS 10.2.1 update on your iPhone or iPad.
The iOS 10.2 update brings 13 known patches for potential exploits. That's one more than its predecessor (iOS 10.2).
These patches enhance the security on your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch making them ideal for those of you who store sensitive files/data on your device. Most people do.
If you skipped the iOS 10.2 update and/or the iOS 10.1.1 update, know that iOS 10.2.1 brings their security patches with it as well. Again, the iOS 10.2 update had 12 important patches on board. You can see them all right here.
If you failed to install Apple's iOS 9.3.5 update, iOS 10.2.1 will also bring the three crucial security patches it delivered last year. These patch up serious security problems that could potentially expose your calls, contacts, texts, and emails.
If security is important to you, iOS 10.2.1 is probably worth a download right now.