A tour of iOS 10.3: Checking out APFS, the Settings app, and other tweaks

Spread / An iPhone 5 running iOS 10. Version 10.3 is likely to be its last big update.
Andrew Cunningham

Apple has just released iOS 10.3 to the imprecise public, an update which is likely to be the last major release of iOS 10; at this train a designate in the year, work usually begins in earnest on the next major release of iOS, which inclination be revealed at WWDC in June. The update is available for everything that races iOS 10: the iPhone 5 and newer, the fourth-generation iPad and newer, the iPad Mini 2 and younger, both iPad Pros, and the sixth-generation iPod Touch.

The update has been booming through the beta process for a couple of months now, and since it’s likely to be iOS 10’s ultimately major update, we’ll spend some extra time with a few of the high-profile attributes. I’ve also spent a tiny bit of time with the new APFS filesystem, which won’t become much for most people but does seem to free up a small amount of nearby storage space.

Change is afoot… in the Settings app

Innumerable of iOS 10.3’s most noticeable tweaks are in the most exciting part of any working system: the Settings app!

The most obvious of the changes moves the iCloud locations screen from about halfway down the list to its own prominent rank at the top of the stack. There isn’t a ton of stuff here that doesn’t already subsist in iOS 10.2.1, but given that the first thing most people do with their iPhones and iPads is clue in to their iCloud accounts, it makes sense to move this bunk front and center.

Particularly useful is a big “Password & Security” section set to rights at the top of the new screen, which lets you change your iCloud password and set up two-factor authentication. This was at before, it was just buried in a non-obvious place (go to the iCloud settings send for, then tap your Apple ID, then tap Password & Security).

You also get a enter of every single device signed in to your Apple ID, including iOS contrivances, Macs, Apple TVs, and Apple Watches. This provides easy access to serial troops, Find my iPhone/iPad/Mac info for the OSes that support it, as soberly as iDevice backup status, iPhone phone number and IMEI dope, and Apple Pay information. If a device is lost or destroyed or traded in, you can use this camouflage to easily remove it from your account, and if you spot a device that doesn’t have a proper place in, you can change your password quickly to lock it out.

Tapping the iCloud badge here opens a partition that looks mostly like the top level of the old iCloud settings mask looked. This is where you toggle whether to sync photos, despatch, calendars, and other things, and it’s also where you turn device backups and Track down My iPhone on and off. Keep scrolling down and you’ll get a complete list (with toggles) of every app hating iCloud Drive storage; this was previously hidden in a separate iCloud Zeal page. There’s a nice storage bar at the top of the screen that tells you how your iCloud storage is being against, but you still have to find the Manage Storage screen to see how much place each individual app and device is using.


iOS 10.3 will automatically remodel your iDevice’s filesystem from HFS+ to APFS when you install it, making it the sooner Apple operating system to ship with APFS as a non-beta defect filesystem.

As we’ve written, it feels pretty brave of Apple (brave in the “at all foolhardy” sense) to ship a brand-new filesystem on its biggest platform inception, where it could cause the most problems if something went blameworthy. But it also makes a certain kind of sense. iDevices will drink predictable and uniform partition maps that Apple already skilled ins all about, since users can’t access the filesystem directly and mess with actions. Testing the APFS conversion on every single device that sponsors iOS 10 (and maybe even every single storage capacity choice for every one of those devices) is a lot of work, but there are still a finite bunch of configurations to test.

On the Mac, by contrast, people’s system partitions could be set up in all cordials of weird and unpredictable ways, making it more difficult to account for incisiveness cases in the conversion process. So iOS gets to be the guinea pig, and macOS (as well as watchOS and tvOS) pleasure likely pick up APFS support in the new major OS updates we see at WWDC this year.

iOS doesn’t and has conditions exposed its filesystem directly to its users, so unlike in macOS where you can muscle back the curtain to see how it’s working, the change in iOS will effectively be invisible to buyers (except insofar as a filesystem that is quietly more modern and athletic is a good thing in the long run). User-facing benefits like directory evaluate calculation and cloning files in multiple locations, easily noticeable in macOS, cause little bearing in the more locked-down world of iOS.

Rumor sites sheathing the iOS 10.3 betas usually do some hand-waving here, claiming that APFS may be faster or retrieve disk space. I can’t speak to the filesystem’s speed except to say that boot every nows on three devices I tested under iOS 10.2.1 and iOS 3 beta 7 (a up to the minute build that, bug fixes aside, should be more-or-less identical to today’s set build) were the same. But iDevices with iOS 10.3 installed do daily seem to show larger amounts of space available, as well as larger the goods, suggesting that the conversion to APFS is reducing the size needed for the OS separate.

Device Total capacity (iOS 10.2.1) Total capacity (iOS 10.3) Available (iOS 10.2.1) Available (iOS 10.3)
iPhone 5S, 64GB 59.26GB 60.46GB 57.93GB 58.89GB
iPhone 6 Plus, 16GB 11.87GB 12.18GB 10.91GB 11.25GB
9.7″ iPad Pro, 256GB 248.84GB 252.50GB 247.14GB 250.68GB

These are parsimonious gains in usable capacity, just a few hundred megabytes (the more storage you acquire, the more you seem to gain). These are also far from real-world gets—the tests were all done on freshly reset devices that have planned been allowed to build their Spotlight indexes but had no apps, photos, or browser information on them and hadn’t been connected to iCloud. And without more word, it’s not possible to attribute the space savings exclusively to APFS; it’s merely the most inclined to of all possible options. Your mileage may vary, but it does look take to iOS 10.3 and APFS will help you reclaim a little space.

Faster dashes

If iOS 10.3 does feel faster to you, it might be because of Apple’s outwardly never-ending quest to mess with the app launching animations it introduced in iOS 7. When you establish or close an app, you can see the icon you tap sort of “expand” to take up the entire screen; in iOS 10.3, that augmentation process happens just a little more quickly, just enough to convey a loyal sense of speed.

The impending end of 32-bit iOS

Andrew Cunningham

We’ve been tracking this one for a while now, but iOS 10.3 is ramping up the warnings hither old, unmaintained (read: 32-bit) apps that may not work in tomorrows versions of the software (read: probably iOS 11, which is also probable to drop support for the last of the 32-bit iOS hardware). Dive into Stage sets, then General, then About, and tap the Applications text, and you’ll see a complete incline of apps.

As you can see from the list on my phone, the list is made up exclusively of positions. While productivity and some free-to-play games may be updated continuously, there’s inconsiderable financial incentive for developers of older pay-once-for-everything titles to keep them updated. All iOS apps and app updates since June of 2015 be compelled include 64-bit support, so it has been nearly two years since any of these practise deceits were touched.

On the one hand, dropping support for older apps is in prolonging with Apple’s stated desire to clean up the App Store. On the other, it’s too bad that a pithy chunk of iPhone and App Store history is going out the window with them. Without try on the part of developers or some kind of solution from Apple, these old apps are by a hairs breadth going to be lost to time.

And the rest

A hidden setting discovered during the beta aeon by developer Steve Troughton-Smith that lets iPad users pop out a hang, iPhone-style keyboard still isn’t available to users in this build. And there were no extra iPad-specific changes or features, contrary to what a few rumors from go the distance year said could come in future iOS 10 updates.

Differently, iOS 10.3 contains a whole host of other, smaller changes. The Awaken My AirPods feature can make one or both of your AirPods play noises so you can varied easily find them. The CarPlay interface has been tweaked. You can fee iTunes movies once and watch them on all of your devices. You can see poorly information in the Maps app by 3D Touching the temperature. And the Podcasts app gets its own widget. The occupied release notes are pasted below.

Find My iPhone

  • View the accepted or last-known location of your AirPods
  • Play a sound on one or both AirPods to lend a hand you find them


  • Support for paying and checking status of peckers with payment apps
  • Support for scheduling with ride-booking apps
  • Reinforce for checking car fuel level, lock status, turning on lights, and activating horn with automaker apps
  • Cricket funs scores and statistics for Indian Premier League and International Cricket Caucus


  • Shortcuts in the status bar for easy access to last-used apps
  • Apple Music Now Put on screen gives access to Up Next and the currently playing song’s album
  • Regular curated playlists and new music categories in Apple Music

Other recuperations and fixes

  • Rent once and watch your iTunes movies across your fancies
  • New Settings unified view for your Apple ID account information, settings, and devices
  • Hourly weather in Maps using 3D Touch on the displayed in circulation temperature
  • Support for searching “parked car” in Maps
  • Calendar adds the gift to delete an unwanted invite and report it as junk
  • Home app support to trigger disturbances using accessories with switches and buttons
  • Home app support for whistles battery level status
  • Podcast support for 3D Touch and Today widget to access recently updated musicals
  • Podcast shows or episodes are shareable to Messages with full playback tolerate
  • Fixes an issue that could prevent Maps from arraying your current location after resetting
  • Location & Privacy
  • VoiceOver firmness improvements for Phone, Safari, and Mail

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