iOS 10.3 Beta 1 Released to Developers, Find My AirPods and What Else? [Video]

iOS 10.3 beta 1 features - video

On Tuesday morning, Apple released the first iOS 10.3 beta to developers. This is the third major iteration of the iOS 10 operating system for iPhones and other mobile devices from Apple. iOS 10.3 beta was supposed to be out by January 10, but on January 9, Apple released iOS 10.2.1, presumably forcing this update to be pushed by a couple of weeks.

Although the biggest feature on the new iOS 10.3 beta seems to be the “Find My AirPods” function, there are quite a few other goodies Apple has thrown into the mix. Let’s look at each new feature and what it does.

Find My AirPods

Let’s get this out of the way first, for those who actually own AirPods. The pent-up demand for AirPods almost guaranteed strong sales for Apple as soon as the product was released to the market. But since then, a lot of users found that they were misplacing the earpieces and couldn’t find them again.

Apple’s new iOS 10.3 beta now brings a solution to that problem in the form of the “Find My AirPods” function. You’ll see it in the Find my iPhone app, and it uses Bluetooth to keep track of where your AirPods were last “seen”.

The AirPods can be made to emit a sound, which helps you find them. Unfortunately, functionality is limited at this point because it doesn’t work when the earpieces are in the case. Besides, they don’t have connectivity on their own unless they’re paired with your device.

Animation for Apps

There’s a slight tweak on how apps are animated when opened and closed. More rounded edges, basically, but you can only really see it if an app opens or closes slowly. Not a major change, to be honest.

iCloud Usage Breakdown

This one’s a lot more useful. iOS 10.3 beta now shows exactly how you’re using cloud in terms of photos, email, backup, documents and so on. It does help you manage your usage and stay within the minimum price band, if you’re particular about that.

New Apple ID Settings Profile

With iOS 10.3, you’ll be able to see the devices you’ve signed into and all your other Apple ID information.

It also has links to iTunes, iCloud and Family Sharing. Previously, these elements were nested under the iCloud settings tab.


There is now HomeKit support for programmable light switches.

Apple File System (APFS)

This is related to what Apple announced at last year’s WWDC. APFS is essentially an updated file system for iPhones that is optimized for SSD/Flash Storage. It brings in enhanced encryption, file and directory cloning, copy-on write metadata, snapshots and so on.

When you install iOS 10.3, your iPhone’s existing file system will start using APFS, which means you’ll need to make a backup of your device before installing iOS 10.3.

Diagnostics and Usage Renamed to Analytics

Functionality is much the same, but there is now a Share iCloud Analytics option that let’s you send data from an associated iCloud account. Privacy levels have been left as they were, and you will still be able to decide what information gets sent to Apple and what doesn’t.

iPad Keyboard (not yet available)

There seems to be a new setting for floating iPad keyboard that can be used for single-hand typing, but the feature itself is not yet available. We’re assuming it will come in one of the subsequent betas for iOS 10.3.

Apart from these main changes, SiriKit is getting new features that allow users to authorize Siri to make bill payments and schedule future rides from Uber and other car-hailing services. CarPlay has some new shortcuts, such as locating electric vehicle charging stations and launching recently used apps. Maps now gets 3D Touch for the weather icon, and it will show you weather-related information for your device’s location.

Here’s a video of all the new features on iOS 10.3 Beta 1, courtesy EverythingApplePro:

This first beta of iOS 10.3 is only for developers, but Apple should be dropping a public beta very soon for testers. Going by previous beta timelines, the full version will only be available to the public in late March or April 2017.

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