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Apple seeds iOS 10.3 with Find My AirPods, Apple File System

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Apple iOS 10

Apple has dropped the third major update to iOS 10 since it launched last year, in the form of iOS 10.3. The over-the-air iOS update brings a whole lot of new (and good) things in tow, including Find My AirPods (inside Find My iPhone) and Apple File System (APFS), and is now available to download and install on iOS 10-compatible devices.

iOS 10.3 has a new addition in the ‘Find My iPhone’ app that lets you track your AirPods. This comes handy when you’ve misplaced your AirPods, assuming you own them, somewhere in your room, as it allows for in-app tracking via maps or noise alert. Not that it’s all, the app also shows the last known location of when an AirPod was connected to an iOS device.

The software update comes with Apple’s very own as well as new file format, Apple File System (APFS), which is optimized for flash/SSD storage and renders better support for encryption. Therefore, it is advised to make a backup of your iPhone or iPad before upgrading to iOS 10.3, as it will upgrade the entire file format. It might free up some space on your device, actually.

Thanks to SiriKit, Siri on iOS 10.3 is now more powerful. Siri can now let you pay and check bills with payment apps, schedule Uber rides, and check car fuel level, lock status, and more with automaker apps. It can also brief you scores and statistics for cricket. While Siri stays ahead of time (just like Belle), CarPay is also getting some love. You can now easily access to last used apps through shortcuts in the status bar. The Now Playing screen has granted you access to Up Next and currently playing song’s album, too. Plus, curated playlists and new music categories in Apple Music daily. There’s more to the addition of new features and improvements, please follow the official iOS 10.3 change-log after the fold…

Apple iOS 10.3 Full Features.

iOS 10.3

iOS 10.3 introduces new features including the ability to locate AirPods using Find my iPhone and more ways to use Siri with payment, ride booking and automaker apps.

Find My iPhone

  • View the current or last known location of your AirPods
  • Play a sound on one or both AirPods to help you find them

Siri

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

CarPlay

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

Other improvements and fixes

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

Apple starts signing older iOS firmware versions, downgrade possible

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Apple Flags

Update: As suspected, it was unintentional. Apple has once again stopped signing older iOS firmware versions. No downgrades now!]

Apple is now signing older iOS firmware versions, as spotted by IPSW.me tracker, including iOS 6 through iOS 11. What this means is you can now downgrade back to older iOS versions and can perform a jailbreak, if available. Moreover, you can also switch back to iOS 6’s skeuomorphic design on iPhone 5.

Older iOS Firmware Signing

This isn’t a usual move from Cupertino, who aggressively stops signing older firmware versions. Why Apple stops signing older iOS firmware is because of jailbreakers and other security loopholes (which are patched in following updates). This has been the case for years now. But today’s unexpected turn of events is likely a case of a bug, which should be fixed as soon as Apple realizes this. (Probably after reading this article!)

So if you’re willing to downgrade your iOS device, then better hurry up! We don’t know how long the servers are open for. Apple can close them anytime.

Be sure to check the signing iOS firmware version from IPSW.me before proceeding. All you will need to do is download the IPSW firmware (from IPSW.me), and restore back to the firmware using iTunes. Go ahead, do it while you can.

via / iDownloadBlog

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Apps & Software

Apple releases iOS 11.2 with Apple Pay Cash, 7.5W Wireless Charging, Date Bug Fix

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iOS 11 Icon

Apple today released iOS 11.2 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The OTA update for iOS 11 brings in a bunch of new features and improvements; however, the unusual timing of the software update makes sense to say that it is likely intended to fix a major date bug that began affecting users beginning December 2. After all, this is the first major iOS update to be dropped on a weekend.

First spotted by Yoshimasa Niwa, the bug caused some iPhones running iOS 11.1.2 crash when receiving local notifications from third-party apps. (The bug doesn’t have a fancy name!)

The date bug is now fixed with this release of iOS 11. If you’re affected with the bug, then it would be better to turn off Notifications before proceeding to install the iOS 11.2 software update, as it can crash the Springboard while you’re waiting for the download to compete. The best way would be to enable DND before installing the update and disable it after you’re on iOS 11.2. Simple as that. Apple’s official comment on this can be viewed here.

Apple Pay Cash

Aside from the immediate bug fix, iOS 11.2 comes along Apple Pay Cash, a peer-to-peer mobile payment system that lets Apple users send and receive money between each other. Although Apple Pay Cash is mentioned in iOS 11.2 changelog, it doesn’t appear to be live as of writing this post. Assuming that some server-side work is yet to be done from Apple, we’re hoping to see the service go live early next week (when the software update was originally scheduled to air).

Faster Wireless Charging and more

iOS 11.2 also includes faster wireless charging, jumping from 5W wireless charging to 7.5W. It is supposed to reduce the wireless charging time, of course, on iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. The software update also adds three new Live wallpapers for iPhone X, improves video camera stabilization, VoiceOver stability in some apps, and more. You can read iOS 11.2 full changelog right after the fold.

iOS 11.2 Full Changelog

Here’s what’s new in iOS 11.2, straight from Apple:

Apple Pay Cash (US Only)
● Send, request, and receive money from friends and family with Apple Pay in Messages or by asking Siri
Other improvements and fixes
● Adds support for faster wireless charging on iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X with compatible third-party accessories
● Introduces three new Live wallpapers for iPhone X
● Improves video camera stabilization
● Adds support in Podcasts to automatically advance to the next episode from the same show
● Adds support in HealthKit for downhill snow sports distance as a data type
● Fixes an issue that could cause Mail to appear to be checking for new messages even when a download is complete
● Fixes an issue that could cause cleared Mail notifications from Exchange accounts to reappear
● Improves stability in Calendar
● Resolves an issue where Settings could open to a blank screen
● Fixes an issue that could prevent swiping to Today View or Camera from the Lock Screen
● Addresses an issue that could prevent Music
● Addresses an issue that could prevent Music controls from displaying on the Lock Screen
● Fixes an issue that could cause app icons to be arranged incorrectly on the Home Screen
● Addresses an issue that could prevent users from deleting recent photos when iCloud storage is exceeded
● Addresses an issue where Find My iPhone sometimes wouldn’t display a map
● Fixes an issue in Messages where the keyboard could overlap the most recent message
● Fixes an issue in Calculator where typing numbers rapidly could lead to incorrect results
● Addressed an issue where the keyboard could respond slowly
● Adds support for real-time text (RTT) phone calls for the deaf and hard of hearing
● Improves VoiceOver stability in Messages, Settings, App Store, and Music
● Resolves an issue that prevented VoiceOver from announcing incoming Notifications

Happy Updating!

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Apps & Software

Apple Heart Study app launches in the US in partnership with Stanford Medicine

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Apple Watch Series 3

Apple has launched Apple Heart Study, a research study app that uses Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor to collect data on irregular heart rhythm, in partnership with Stanford Medicine. The app also notifies users who may be experiencing atrial fibrillation (AFib), with additional monitoring. The Apple Heart Study was announced back in September and is now available to Apple Watch users in the US.

AFib, the leading cause of stroke, is responsible for approximately 130,000 deaths and 750,000 hospitalizations in the US every year. Many people don’t experience symptoms, so AFib often goes undiagnosed.

iPhone Watch Heart Study

Apple explains how the Apple Watch is used in the research study:

To calculate heart rate and rhythm, Apple Watch’s sensor uses green LED lights flashing hundreds of times per second and light-sensitive photodiodes to detect the amount of blood flowing through the wrist. The sensor’s unique optical design gathers signals from four distinct points on the wrist, and when combined with powerful software algorithms, Apple Watch isolates heart rhythms from other noise. The Apple Heart Study app uses this technology to identify an irregular heart rhythm.

If an irregular heart rhythm is identified, users will receive a notification, of course, on their Apple Watch and iPhone alongside consultation with a study doctor for free, and an electrocardiogram (ECG) patch for more in-depth monitoring. The research study program is open to Apple Watch users (Series 1 or later) who are 22 years or older. The Apple Heart Study app is available in the US App Store and is limited to US residents — for now.

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