Apple is rolling out iOS 10.3 to iPhone and iPad users as of today, and while there's plenty of small improvements across the board, there's one surprisingly big change. Apple is using the iOS 10.3 update to swap the iPhone and iPad's underlying file system from the somewhat old HFS+ file format to its new Apple File System.
Essentially, Apple is completely replacing the way in with your iPhone and iPad manage your data.
Apple File System looks to be a far more efficient solution, provides better encryption, and in some cases, may even save you some storage space. However, once you upgrade there's no going back, at least, not without starting fresh. While we're sure Apple's spent a great deal of time in ensuring a seamless transition between the two file system formats, if something does happen to go wrong, data loss is a real possibility if the update has already started transitioning your files.
While we always recommend backing up your phone or tablet before running a software update, it's especially important with this one. You can back up your iPhone by following the steps below:
- Open iTunes and connect your iPhone to your computer.
- If a message asks for your device passcode or to "Trust This Computer", follow the onscreen steps.
- Select your iPhone when it appears in iTunes.
- If you want to save Health and Activity data, you'll need to encrypt your backup. You can do this by ticking the "Encrypt iPhone backup" box. Make sure your you pick a password you can remember, because there's no way to access your backup without it. If you don't want to save your Heath and Activity data, you don't need to tick this box.
- Press the "Back Up Now" button. This process will take a couple of minutes.
Other new features include support for finding lost AirPods in the "Find My iPhone" app, Weather information in the Maps app, app compatibility status info to find programs which could be making your phone buggy, and an iCloud storage breakdown to help you find out exactly what you've got stored in the cloud.
To upgrade to iOS 10.3, open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad, select General, and then choose Software Update. The upgrade to iOS 10.3 is about 600MB, so it's best to download it when you're connected to Wi-Fi.
iOS 10.3 is compatible with the following iPhones: iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus.
iOS 10.3 is compatible with the following iPads: iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4, iPad (4th generation), iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro (9.7-inch) and iPad Pro (12.9-inch).