iOS 10.3 targets all iOS 10 compatible devices: the iPhone 5 or later, iPad 2 or later, iPad mini 2 or later, iPad Pro range and the 6th generation iPod touch or later.
You should be prompted to upgrade to iOS 10.3 automatically, but if that hasn’t happened it can be triggered manually by going to Settings > General > Software Update.
iOS updates differ in size depending on your device. In the case of iOS 10.3 it is a medium-sized update weighing in at up to 600MB, and it’s an important one.
The Deal Breakers
iOS 10.3 will break any jailbroken devices. In recent years jailbreaking teams’ game of cat and mouse has been decidedly one sided with Apple consistently retaining the upper hand and iOS upgrades making jailbreaks less important than they once were. That said, if you value having a jailbroken device, steer clear.
Secondly there is an ongoing argument at Apple’s official over whether iOS 10.3 (and its previous betas) truly fixes the 30% Battery Bug which Apple (which in truth was only a partial success).
The argument from those who are skeptical is that Apple has changed how it reports the battery percentage (an ‘artificial meter’), rather than fixing the underlying cause. Whether this is true remains to be seen, but the fact is – fixed or not – this should not stop users upgrading if they are already affected.
Aside from this there are some isolated reports in Apple Support Communities about (impatience ) and Bluetooth connectivity issues ( , ) but nothing has shown any sign of wide scale problems. I’ll update should that change.
So What Do You Get?
Being a ‘major point upgrade’ iOS 10.3 is a feature rich update, the highlights of which include:
Find My iPhone – track lost AirPods by requesting a sound is played from them (you’ll need a relatively quiet environment, but it works well)
Siri – support for paying and checking bill status in payment apps, scheduling in ride booking apps, access the functionality of car maker’s apps
CarPlay – shortcuts in the status bar for easy access to recent apps, Apple Music Now Playing gives access to Up Next and the currently playing song’s album, daily curated playlists and new music categories in Apple Music
iTunes – movie rentals (finally!)
Settings – a unified view for Apple ID account information, settings and devices V
Maps – Hourly weather using on the displayed current temperature, searching for your ‘parked car’
Calendar – delete unwanted invites and report them as junk (vital given this has been a method for spam)
Home – support for ‘scenes’ using accessories with switches and buttons, battery level status in accessories
Podcasts – support for 3D Touch and Today widget to access recently updated shows, episodes now shareable to Messages with playback support
In addition to this the biggest news is the introduction of the Apple File System (APFS). APFS replaces the ancient HFS+ (launched back in 1998) which itself is based on HFS (launched in 1985!). APFS is more efficient so it saves space (expect 1-7GB depending on the storage size of your device), enables better backups, is more secure and optimised for solid state storage – which was what all iOS devices use.
An Apple engineer also revealed that Apple has to make navigation feel faster.
Meanwhile on the security side of things iOS 10.3 is now actively warning users if they have 32-bit apps installed. iOS moved to 64-bit several years ago and now Apple is hunting down outdated apps which have yet to make the change. In addition to this around 100 vulnerabilities have been fixed, including a high profile Safari flaw which allowed hackers to stop users browsing the web and demand payment through an endless stream of pop-ups.
Apple iOS 10.3 Install Verdict: Upgrade
iOS 10.3 is one of the most impressive updates Apple has released in some time. Switching the entire file system of around one billion compatible devices is a huge task and all signs are it has gone smoothly, while also saving users space and improving performance. No doubt there is also room for further optimisation with time.
In addition to this the new features are useful, practical and in some cases (iTunes movie rentals) overdue. A cloud still hangs over Apple’s lack of transparency regarding the 30% Bug and affected users are still reporting it isn’t a perfect cure (and are doubtful about the methods Apple has employed to ‘fix’ it), but overall iOS 10.3 is a very good step forward for all compatible iPhones, iPads and iPod touch.