What’s New With iOS 10.3?

iOS 10.3 is an important new release, with new features from Siri to the file system. As with almost every release, it includes lots of security fixes, so just staying safe is enough of a reason to upgrade. The latest version is actually 10.3.2, which fixes some bugs and security issues. The release notes are available from Apple.

Version 10.3 requires an iPhone 5, fourth-generation iPad, sixth-generation iPod Touch, or later.

A new file system

The biggest change isn’t a visible one. It replaces the old HFS+ file system with the modern APFS (Apple File System). HFS+, which dates from the late twentieth century, was designed for hard disk drives. APFS works more efficiently with solid-state storage. Users will see a bit more available space, and files will copy faster. If a copying operation fails, it’s rolled back.

Encryption wasn’t at the top of people’s thoughts around 2000. It’s a native part of APFS, with support for full-device encryption and multiple keys. Sensitive metadata can have its own key.

Security upgrades

The update includes dozens of security fixes. Reading through the security notes might be enough to convince you to upgrade. Malicious files in several formats could in principle execute arbitrary code. Release 10.3.1 fixes a Wi-Fi hijacking vulnerability. Apple doesn’t talk about security holes till it can fix them, but now that the release is out, nasty people may find the weaknesses in the old versions and take advantage of them. Staying up to date is the safest course.

Siri, where’s my car?

New features help you to keep track of things. Do you keep losing track of your AirPods? You can look for them under Find My iPhone. This only works if they’re within Bluetooth range and are turned on, but if they are, you can make them emit a beeping sound to track them down.

CarPlay, which lets your iPhone talk to your car, has advanced significantly. The in-dash display is updated, allowing quick switching among the three most recent apps. You can locate your parked car in Maps. You can ask Siri how full your gas tank is or whether the doors are locked.

These features require a car with compatible hardware and software, of course. If you don’t have a car at all, you can now ask Siri to schedule an Uber ride for you.

Managing iCloud

The settings for iCloud are reorganized for greater convenience. Everything is now near the top of the Settings list. The password and security settings are easier to find, and a list of all devices signed in with your Apple ID is available. If you’ve lost a device, you can easily remove it from your account’s authorized devices. It’s also easier to see what applications are using iCloud storage and how much.

Some users have reported seeing their iCloud settings changed after the update, so take a look at them to make sure everything is the way you want it. iOS 10.3.1 is supposed to have fixed the problem.

Application obsolescence

As new iOS releases come out, not all applications keep up. Some of them develop compatibility issues over time. You can look at the application list under Settings and see which ones “may slow down” your device. This means they use deprecated API features that may cause problems. If you haven’t updated an app in a long time because the newer version got bad reviews, it may be time to give in. If no updates are available, you can keep using it as long as it doesn’t break, but you’ve been warned that it could have issues and might stop working with the next iOS update.

Staying up to date

If your device has the required hardware, moving to iOS 10.3 is common sense. The update from iOS 10.2 or earlier is a big one, and it will convert the file system to APFS, so set aside a few minutes and make sure your Internet connection is solid. Then enjoy the latest experience Apple offers.

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