Apple today seeded fourth betas of iOS 10.3, macOS Sierra 10.12.4 and watchOS 3.2 to members of the Apple Developer Program. iOS 10.3 beta 4 (build number 14E5260b), macOS Sierra 10.12.4 beta 4 (build number 16E175b) and watchOS 3.2 are now all available as over-the-air downloads through the Software Update mechanism on devices with an appropriate configuration profile. We’ll update the article if we find new features or important under-the-hood changes in the new betas.
Aside from the usual assortment of bug fixes, performance improvements and security enhancements, iOS 10.3 packs in more than a dozen improvements, nice-to-haves and other user-facing enhancements.
One of the bigger ones is a new Find My AirPods feature for locating your misplaced earbud through the Find My iPhone app and service. A one-handed floating iPad keyboard was discovered in iOS 10.3 beta as well, but it’s unclear if it will be exposed to users when the software update launches for public consumption.
iOS 10.3 includes a new App Compatibility section in Settings where legacy 32-bit apps are named and shamed. A reworded system prompt now states that 32-bit apps may slow down 64-bit devices, essentially confirming that 32-bit apps won’t work with future versions of iOS unless they’re updated.
This is yet another indication that iOS 11 will most likely be 64-bit only.
iOS 10.3 also lets your favorite apps update their icon dynamically. This will let third-party apps convey their states right on their Home screen icon. For example, upon upgrading to the full version of an app via the In-App Purchase mechanism its Home screen icon might change as a result.
These are but a few of the more than a dozen useful improvements and productivity-enhancing changes that iOS 10.3 will bring to the table when it becomes available publicly this spring, including stuff like:
- Apple File System
- iCloud Analytics opt-in feature
- Redesigned iCloud section, now at the top of the Settings app
- Siri and CarPlay improvements
- Reduce Motion for websites
- Disabling in-app ratings and reviews
- Hourly forecast in Maps
- Navigation improvements for Mail’s Conversation View
- Easier typing on Chinese and Japanese keyboards
“When iOS 10.3 ships to customers, you will be able to respond to customer reviews on the App Store in a way that is available for all customers to see,” notes Apple.
macOS Sierra 10.12.4
Night Shift Mode is coming to your Mac with the new Sierra 10.12.4 update.
The feature was originally designed to help iOS users adjust the temperature of their device’s display from cool to warm, either manually or based on the time of day.
You can access Night Shift in System Preferences, Notification Center or via Siri.
A dedicated preference pane lets you adjust when your Mac’s display will begin gradually shifting from blue to yellow to cut down on exposure to blue light, which is said to cause sleeping problems.
In addition to Night Shift, macOS Sierra 10.12.4 includes Dictation support for Shanghainese, an updated PDF API fixing a few annoying bugs and a new iCloud Analytics feature while enabling Siri look-ups of Cricket schedules, scores and rosters for two new cricket leagues.
The macOS Sierra 10.12.4 software update “improves the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac,” according to Apple’s official release notes.
watchOS 3.2 beta includes Theater Mode, a new toggle in Control center that lets you quickly disable the Raise to Wake feature and mute alerts on your Apple Watch.
According to Apple:
Theater Mode lets users quickly mute the sound on their Apple Watch and avoid waking the screen on wrist raise. Users still receive notifications (including haptics) while in Theater Mode, which they can view by tapping the screen or pressing the Digital Crown.
Aside from Theater Mode, watchOS 3.2 will let you control your favorite watch apps with Siri so that you can send a message, make a payment, book a ride, start a workout, call a contact or search photos by using your voice, like on iOS 10.
iOS 10.3 and macOS Sierra 10.12.4 are also available to those who would apply for Apple’s Beta Software Program. watchOS and tvOS betas are not currently available through Apple’s public beta program.