Three iOS 11.3 Features Business Users Should Know About

Several new iOS 11.3 features will likely appeal to businesses large and small. Here's how three of them could impact your company (and its customers).

Paul Heltzel

April 30, 2018

3 Min Read
Business Chat iOS 11.3

The release of iOS 11.3 this spring adds on to last September's big update of Apple's mobile operating system, introducing new business-friendly features but also some potential hangups.

A number of iOS 11.3 features are aimed at consumers--such as personalized Animoji and a new Health Records feature that enables users to carry their medical history with them--but several new features in the upgrade will appeal to businesses both large and small. Here are three iOS 11.3 features you need to know about.

1. Battery Health (beta)

Your battery will be better managed.

The iOS 11.3 upgrade addressed well-publicized battery issues that led to intentional slowdowns for some users of older iPhones with weakened batteries. (Users with battery issues can upgrade with Apple for $29 through the end of the year.) New in iOS 11.3 is a feature that shows the battery health of the iPhone and can also recommend a replacement if needed.

If a phone with a weak battery unexpectedly shuts down, you can now disable this intentional--if annoying--performance management feature. Note that this setting is available only for the iPhone 6 and 7 (along with the Plus models), as well as the SE. The iPhone 8, the 8 Plus and X all use a mix of software and hardware design that Apple says should more efficiently manage performance and avoid unexpected shutdowns.

2. Arkit

New augmented reality tools enable companies to add context and perspective to the customer experience.

“With iOS 11.3, apps can now deliver AR experiences that use vertical surfaces like walls and doors, in addition to horizontal surfaces like tables and chairs, and more accurately map to irregularly shaped surfaces like circular tables,” Apple said in a release. “The view of the real world through the camera now has 50 percent greater resolution and supports auto-focus for an even sharper perspective.”

3. Business Chat

iOS 11.3 builds new connections to the consumer. 

The new release also offers business-to-consumer communication within the Message app through a feature called Business Chat. Large retailers like Lowe's and Home Depot have signed on, and communication with them was available at launch. Also signed on are banking and finance companies, including Wells Fargo and Discover, the online technology store Newegg, as well as Hilton and Marriott hotels.

“What Apple is doing is opening up the Messages app for commerce, which is a great idea if they can get the vendors, the enterprise support,” said Michael Finneran, president of wireless and mobility consulting firm dBrn Associates. “From a functionality standpoint, Business Chat is cool as can be.”

Potential Hangups

Within days of the release, there were the usual reports of bugs, some of which will disappear after users power cycle their phones a few times. But there were also reports of some organizations experiencing issues with mobile device management (MDM) upgrades. Some organizations using device management software Jamf Pro, which the company says maintains 15,000 Apple devices, saw what the company called a “failed loop,” which wouldn’t allow the phones to respond to remote commands. Jamf has since resolved the problem with an upgrade.

Chris Koeneman, senior vice president of strategic solutions at mobility management provider MOBI, says the upgrade hasn’t created problems that would cause MOBI to warn enterprise users away from it.

“We are not seeing issues with the leading MDM solutions in connection with an iOS 11.3 update,” Koeneman said.

Shortly after the release of iOS 11.3, some tech watchers wondered whether an incremental update would be released to address bugs before the next major release of iOS, which is expected in the fall.

On April 24, Apple released iOS 11.3.1 to address problems with disabled touch screens on phones that had their displays repaired using third-party replacement displays.

“iOS 11.3.1 improves the security of your iPhone or iPad and addresses an issue where touch input was unresponsive on some iPhone 8 devices because they were serviced with non-genuine replacement displays,” Apple said in a release.

About the Author(s)

Paul Heltzel

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