After a two-month beta testing period, Apple today released iOS 11.3, macOS 10.13.4, tvOS 11.3, and watchOS 4.3, the latest versions of its device operating systems. Each of the releases contains a handful of new features, as well as bug fixes.
The new iOS, macOS, and tvOS releases notably include a new Privacy screen, introducing an icon that flags requests for personal information by an Apple app or feature, and links to information on Apple’s use and protection of that data. Though the Privacy feature has been in beta for months, its public release comes right after Facebook’s personal data sharing debacle and right before the EU’s May 25, 2018 enforcement date for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Additionally, Bloomberg reports that Apple will offer a one-stop Privacy web page in early May, letting users download and delete personal data on an app-by-app basis.
iOS 11.3 is the first version of iOS to include a battery health feature, designed to indicate when the battery on a device is impaired enough by age, heavy use, or environmental conditions to benefit from diminished processor performance. It also includes a visually enhanced update to the ARKit augmented reality framework, four new Animoji for the iPhone X, support for medical record storage on iPhones, and a Messages feature called Business Chat to let participating companies offer direct customer service chats through Apple’s iMessage network.
macOS 10.13.4 is the first version of macOS to officially include support for external GPUs, enabling recent Macs to use high-performance video cards inside Thunderbolt 3 enclosures. It also includes Business Chat support within the Messages application and a variety of security fixes for Safari. This version of macOS also provides warnings of future incompatibility when running 32-bit apps.
tvOS 11.3 is a relatively minor update for the fourth-generation Apple TV and Apple TV 4K. It was originally expected to include a major feature, AirPlay 2, that would enable iOS and tvOS devices to synchronize audio playback across multiple Apple TVs or HomePods at once. That feature was pulled, leaving only smaller additions such as the Privacy screen, auto frame rate switching for the fourth-gen Apple TV, and bug fixes.
watchOS 4.3 is also a minor update for Apple Watch users. It features a new battery-charging animation, the option to use Nightstand Mode to show the current time while the Watch is in portrait orientation, and some small graphic tweaks for alerts and app-loading indicators.
Though it isn’t strictly an OS-specific feature, Apple also updated the Music applications across its devices and released iTunes 12.7.4 to include a large collection of free Music Videos for Apple Music subscribers. The feature is launching with new videos from Beck (Colors) and A Tribe Called Quest (The Space Program).
The latest release of iOS is available for download directly from the Settings app on compatible iPhones, iPads, and/or iPod touches, while a version of iOS 11.3 for Apple’s smart speaker HomePod is available through the Home application under Speakers > Software Update — the first update since HomePod’s initial release, iOS 11.2.5. Similarly, watchOS 4.3 can be downloaded through the iPhone’s Watch app.
tvOS 11.3 can be downloaded directly from fourth- and fifth-generation Apple TVs, under the Settings application. macOS 10.13.4 is downloadable from the Mac App Store. All of the updates are free and follow smaller updates designed to address the Telugu bug in February.
Note that Apple has already disclosed that iOS 11.4 will “soon” be available to developers in beta form, notably including support for the ClassKit educational API. It will likely be released alongside the Xcode 9.4 beta later today.
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