Apple on Monday seeded the fifth developer beta of iOS 11.3 with several hints that a final version is getting close to release.
To be clear, iOS 11.3 beta 5 is not the Golden Master (GM) version of the software update. The update still contains the Feedback app, meaning we still have at least one beta version to go — if not more. But in spite of that, there are indications that we’re nearing the final release of iOS 11.3.
For one, Apple’s release notes for iOS 11.3 beta 5 are exactly the same as the release notes for beta 4. That suggests that no major features or fixes were introduced, and that beta 5 is simply an update cleaning up tightening the software update. By most early accounts, there haven’t been any major additions to iOS 11.3 spotted in the new developer beta.
The timeline also suggests that we’re inching closer to a final release. Even though it’s March, it’s not technically “spring” (in the Northern Hemisphere) until March 20. That means we probably won’t see a final release until after that date — but that date is quickly approaching.
iOS 11.3 itself is a fairly major update to Apple’s mobile operating system. It includes iMessage storage in iCloud, Business Chat in Messages, and a new version of ARKit that allows for more accurate mapping and object placement on a wide variety of surfaces and shapes. There are four new Animoji characters, including a dragon, bear, skull and lion.
The new update also introduces Apple’s promised battery-related features. There’s a new Battery Health section where users can get information about their iPhone’s battery. Additionally, users can now switch off the power management feature that throttled iPhone performance to prevent random shutdowns.
Notably, the power management is disabled in iOS 11.3 by default. It only turns on (and slows down an iPhone) if the device experiences a random shutdown.
Other new minor features includes updates to Apple News, more detailed app size information in the App Store Updates tab, several updates and improvements to Apple Music, and a new Privacy icon that will help users avoid phishing scams on their iOS device.
Registered developers can download iOS 11.3 beta 5 as an over-the-air update, provided that the appropriate profile is installed on a device. It’s also available via Apple’s developer’s portal.