Apple today seeded the seventh beta of an upcoming iOS 10.3 update to developers, just three days after seeding the sixth beta of iOS 10.3 and three months after the release of iOS 10.2, the last major update to the iOS 10 operating system.
Registered developers can download the seventh iOS 10.3 beta from the Apple Developer Center or over-the-air with the proper configuration profile installed.
iOS 10.3 is a major update, introducing significant new features and changes to the iOS 10 operating system. The biggest consumer-facing feature in iOS 10.3 is “Find My AirPods,” which is designed to help AirPods owners locate a lost earphone. Find My AirPods records the last known location of when an AirPod was connected to an iOS device via Bluetooth and can play a sound on a lost AirPod.
Apple’s latest update also introduces a new Apple File System (APFS), installed when an iOS device is updated to iOS 10.3. APFS is optimized for flash/SSD storage and includes features like strong encryption.
Apple plans to introduce some App Store changes 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,” which should help surface the most relevant review content.
Apple also plans to limit the number of times developers can ask for a review, allow customers to leave app reviews without exiting an app, and provide a “master switch” that will let users turn off all app review request prompts.
Also new in iOS 10.3 is a redesigned app open/close animation, an Apple ID profile in Settings, a better breakdown of iCloud storage usage, warnings about outdated apps that won’t work with future versions of iOS, HomeKit support for programmable light switches, improvements to SiriKit (bill paying, bill status, and scheduling future rides), CarPlay interface improvements, iCloud analytics options, and more.
For the last few betas, there have been no additional features discovered as Apple focuses instead on bug fixes and refinements ahead of a public release. We are likely nearing the end of the beta testing period, with a release expected in the near future.
Update: The seventh beta is also available for members of Apple’s public beta testing program.
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