Apple has today released iOS 10.3 to the public.
At the time of posting, release notes are not yet available; however, this release brings a number of new features to iOS in addition to the usual mix of under-the-hood improvements and fixes.
For blind and low vision users, our testing indicates that Apple has made some progress towards addressing the accessibility bugs present in iOS 10.2.1.
As we always stress, it is impossible for us to test all devices, apps, and use cases. Consequently, it is entirely possible that there are changes, regressions or improvements that we are not aware of at the time of posting. With this in mind, we would greatly appreciate your help in ensuring that the information on this page is as complete and accurate as possible. If you spot any accessibility-related changes in iOS 10.3 that are not already listed here, please do let us know in the comments below.
Accessibility-Related Fixes in iOS 10.3
- When opening a message in the native Mail app on iPhone, VoiceOver focus is once again placed into the body of the message. (Note: Based on our testing, this does not appear to be the case on iPad.)
- It is once again possible to move an app out of a folder using the VoiceOver rotor. When moving an app out of a folder, VoiceOver users will find a new Rotor option to close the folder. Once activated, focus is moved out of the folder and the user can then navigate to wherever they wish to place the app.
- The Space bar on the onscreen keyboard can again be reliably and consistently located by touch.
- Navigating by Heading in the native News app is now more consistent and reliable.
- VoiceOver no longer announces “incoming call” when making a call with the native Phone app.
- VoiceOver now provides feedback when dragging an app from a folder on the Home screen.
New Accessibility-Related Bugs Introduced in iOS 10.3
- Behavior of Shortcut Menus triggered on app icons by 3D Touch is unreliable. Things appear to work as expected if, after triggering the 3D Touch menu, you keep your finger pressed to the screen and drag to locate a menu item by touch or perform a very distinct swipe gesture to move VoiceOver focus. However, anything else (such as lifting your finger and then trying to locate a menu item by touch) may result in one of the menu items being triggered with no input from you.
Some Other changes of Note in iOS 10.3
Help With Finding Mislaid AirPods
Find My AirPods is a new option available in the "Find My iPhone" app. It keeps track of the last known location where AirPods were connected to an iOS device over Bluetooth, making a mislaid AirPod easier to find. It also allows you to play a sound to locate a lost AirPod. .
Some Changes to App Store Reviews
According to MacRumors, iOS 10.3 will introduce a number of changes to App Store reviews.
App developers will be able to respond to reviews; and users will be able to label reviews as "Helpful" or "Not Helpful".
The number of times that an app can prompt users to submit a review will now be limited; and there will be a new setting option that lets you turn off app review request completely. The process of submitting a review when prompted by an app is also reported to be more streamlined, and should now be able to be completed without leaving the app in question.
iOS Gets a New File System
When installing iOS 10.3, the device’s file system will be updated to use Apple File System (APFS). Announced last year at WWDC, APFS is optimized for Flash/SSD storage and includes features like strong encryption, space sharing, copy-on write metadata, cloning for files and directories, snapshots, and more.
This article from iMore provides information on APFS and what it will mean for you.
It has been reported by AppleInsider that the conversion to APFS is making the upgrade to 10.3 take longer for some than is typical for an iOS release.
And a Few More Changes
- Settings covering Apple ID, iCloud, iTunes & App Store are now grouped together in a new section in the Settings app.
- The Settings app now provides a list of your installed apps which Apple say may slow down your iPhone and will not work with future versions of iOS if they are not updated by the developer. This is located at Settings>General>About>Applications.
- SiriKit has been updated with new features that will let Siri be used to pay bills, check on the status of payments, and schedule future rides from services like Uber.
- You can now use 3D Touch on the weather icon in the native Maps app to see weather-related details for your current location.
- The "Diagnostics and Usage" option in the Privacy section of the Settings app has been renamed to "Analytics". It continues to allow you to decide whether or not to send usage information to Apple to help the company improve its services. There's also a new "Share iCloud Analytics" option.
How to Update to iOS 10.3
iOS 10.3 is available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings>General>Software Update) or via iTunes on your Mac or PC. As always, we recommend making a backup of your device before installing any software update.