Apple today seeded the first beta of what would become the third major software update to iOS 10 since its September 2016 release. The release includes a new Find My AirPods feature and other enhancements, like Reduce Motion for websites.

iOS 10.3 beta 1 (build 14E5230e) is available to registered developers who are members of Apple Developer Program. A version of the software aimed at public beta testers registered with Apple Beta Software Program is expected shortly.

Find My AirPods

Release notes accompanying the download state that this beta version of iOS 10.3 contains bug fixes and improvements, but that’s not entirely true at all.

Apple’s official changelog gives more clues about a new Find My AirPods feature.

“Find My iPhone now supports Location and Play Sound for AirPods,” Apple writes. Play Sound emits noise from AirPods that reaches a high volume after a few seconds. Apple advises removing both AirPods from your ears before testing this feature.

Location and Play Sound currently work only from the iOS device that was most recently used with AirPods. However, one of our readers has noted that Find My AirPods already lets you locate iCloud-paired AirPods via the Find My iPhone mobile app.

Reduce Motion for websites

Safari in iOS 10.3 beta 1 now supports a new media query which lets web developers provide alternate page styles for users who are sensitive to large areas of motion. Like with apps, users can change their preference for reduced motion in Settings and websites honoring the “prefers-reduced-motion” media query will adapt accordingly.

Siri and CarPlay improvements

Siri in iOS 10.3 beta 1 can retrieve cricket scores from Indian Premier League and International Cricket Council. More importantly, the SiriKit framework can now be used to pay bills, check on the status of payments and schedule future rides. By the way, Apple states that the new SiriKit car commands are still in development.

An updated CarPlay in iOS 10.3 beta 1 provides handy shortcuts for launching recently used apps while CarPlay’s Maps app now highlights electric vehicle charging station locations, a feature Apple Maps for iPhone gained in December.

Security and privacy

In the Settings app, there’s a new user security section at the top with useful user information that basically acts as your central place for everything related to you and your Apple ID. It also shows all your iCloud-enabled iOS devices.

The section was previously found in a different spot in Settings so it’s not entirely new.

iOS 10.3 beta 1 also removes support for SHA-1 signed certificates used for Transport Layer Security (TLS) in Safari and WebKit that are issued from a root Certification Authority (CA) included in the operating system default trust store.

All other TLS connections will continue to support SHA-1 signed certificates until late 2017, Apple acknowledged. SHA-1 signed root CA certificates, enterprise- distributed SHA-1 certificates and user-installed SHA-1 certificates are not affected by this change.

Say hello to Apple File System

Deploying iOS 10.3 will also update your device’s file system to the new Apple File System (APFS) while preserving existing data on the device. As we explained earlier, Apple File System is a next-generation file system from Apple designed to increase data integrity and security across iOS, tvOS, macOS and watchOS platforms.

Apple advises making a backup of your device prior to installing the beta.

Tidbits: hourly forecast in Maps, Mail & keyboard improvements

The weather icon in the Maps app can be pressed with 3D Touch to show hourly forecast. In HomeKit, support for programmable switches has been expanded. Apple’s stock Podcasts app in iOS 10.3 beta 1 now has a widget, but the overall design of the app hasn’t changed.

Mail’s Conversation View includes “navigation improvements” while facemarks on the Chinese and Japanese keyboards have been moved around to make it easier to type. Spotlight Search Suggestions now have a border to make them easier to spot.

A new iCloud Analytics opt-in feature lets you help Apple improve its products, services, language models and other “intelligent features” by allowing analytics of usage and data from your iCloud account.

Apple ensures that all analysis is performed using privacy-preserving techniques such as iOS 10’s new Differential Privacy feature. iCloud Analytics is not associated with you or your account, the company states.

You can opt out of iCloud Analytics at any time via Settings.

Apple now provides a new way for developers to request app ratings.

We’re not entirely sure how it works, but if the screenshot seen above is an indication developers can now update apps with an in-app feature for responding to App Store reviews. A switch in Settings lets you opt out of this feature to block these requests.

“When iOS 10.3 ships to customers, you will be able to respond to customer reviews on the App Store in a way that is available for all customers to see,” notes Apple.

This feature will also be available on the Mac App Store.

Where’s my Theater Mode?

Australian leakster Sonny Dickson claimed iOS 10.3 would bring out a new Theatre mode, but Apple makes no mention of that feature in release notes.

According to Dickson, Theater mode will be a popcorn-shaped icon in Control Center that users will be able to tap to put their device in a stealth mode of sorts, with either a dimmed display or dark user interface assets for less distraction.

It’s a wrap-up, folks!

Judging by the changes in the first beta, iOS 10.3 is shaping up to become another release worth downloading considering it’s bringing additional features to the table. The full iOS 10.3 beta 1 installer is available from Apple’s portal for developers.

Registered developers can deploy iOS 10.3 beta 1 on devices with a prior iOS beta and an appropriate configuration profile installed. We’ll make sure to update the article with other outward-facing user features in iOS 10.3 beta 1 as we encounter them.

Send us your own feature findings to and we’ll update.

  • Nathan

    The newest macOS Sierra update adds night shift to the Mac!

  • Cerberus The Wise

    Please let theater mode be an actual dark mode and not something actually for theaters that dims and silences the phone

    • [RECON1]

      Haven’t seen any option for that

      • Cerberus The Wise

        Yeah installed only to be severely disappointed.

      • [RECON1]

        Yeah. Was hoping it was there to also get rid of that big stupid Night Shift button lol

      • Zunaish

        Any exciting feature at the moment?

      • [RECON1]

        None that I’ve come across.

  • Mike M. Powell

    Could this be it!?!?! Could Apple have finally released Dark Mode? Find out on the next episode of IDB!

  • Kurt

    I knew Apple was working on something for the AirPods since they pulled that app a while back! Typical Apple! Now I just have to get my AirPods that I have been waiting on forever to arrive…

    • igorsky

      This is a new one…criticizing Apple for supporting a product that you don’t even own yet. Yeehaw.

      • Kurt

        I must have missed the part where I was criticizing Apple…

      • Kurt

        But really can you please point out where I was criticizing them? I think maybe you misread it.

      • Y2J: Keeper of the List

        “Typical Apple” at least appears like a jab at them.

      • Kurt

        Yeah I can see that, wasn’t my intention though. Perhaps I will remove that so I’m not “criticizing”.

      • Y2J: Keeper of the List

        I feel you. I didn’t take it as criticizing because you just bought $150 earbuds from them so clearly you like their products.

  • [RECON1]
    • Fede777

      Wait what, 148 capacity to 252?
      The available I can understand but Capacity?

      • [RECON1]

        Yeah idk, but it’s done it before in betas.

      • Fede777

        So you have a 256 iPhone but somehow you had only 148GB in total?

  • [RECON1]
  • Tony Trenkle Jr.

    Well Sonny Dickson’s credibility has gone down after this.

    • appletimemac

      It’s possible we may see it in a future beta of 10.3 or it’s possible they moved it to iOS 11 since 10.3 has the APFS. APFS launched in 10.3 is smart, it avoids a PR mess if iOS 11 would have introduced it, should anything go wrong for the end user.

      • Tony Trenkle Jr.

        Well he got the date wrong his whole report so far is false.

      • Jay

        They are just trolling him making him look bad.. I doubt thats true but they can change their mind at anytime, it doesn’t mean he’s wrong but they could just be waiting on it.

      • Norbi Whitney

        Not false, just alternative.

      • Tony Trenkle Jr.

        You win comment of the day! Lol

    • Wilber Alexander Flores

      Maybe beta 2

      • Tony Trenkle Jr.

        it’s already on apple watch and to be honest it’s kinda lame. It’s not dark mode. So I dont really care anymore.

  • What a huge disappointment. Was really hoping for theater mode. Oh well. Guess I’ll be waiting for that jailbreak then.

  • ChloeWade

    Why not find my solo3?

    • ravinigga

      Solo3 is a big headphone u can’t miss that

  • Apple file system will require clean install?

  • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

    So Apple kicks Finder for AirPods because it wasn’t “appropriate” for the App Store, yet they launch Find My AirPods

    • Jon20

      Yeah that was pretty dirty. But then again, they did it to F.Lux as well. What they should do is make a “Find my SIRI Remote” feature. That is the age old device that always gets lost. Come Apple!!!…RETHINK DIFFERENTLY!!!

      • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

        Well, I understand F.lux because it was a jailbreak tweak, but that was an official app for all mobile Apple users. I don’t think their excuse was “Inappropriate to the App Store” but yet it was “Hey, we JUST thought of that and you kinda took it from us” and for the Siri remote, I believe the reason they haven’t done that is because that feature is patented by Roku who already has that feature. Then again, if you lose your remote, there are alternatives.

      • Alec Ratzell

        it seems pretty likely that Apple already had this idea in the pipeline since long before that app was released. in the same way that the Iphone that will be released in September is probably getting close to having a finalized design, if it doesn’t already

      • Blip dude

        This, and the option to use lightning headphones on the Siri remote for private listening on the Apple TV 4.

    • igorsky

      That app was a half-baked way of doing it anyway…now Apple released the proper way. You’re welcome.

    • Jay

      I mentioned that when they posted the article a few weeks ago. This “I told you so” is for everyone who doubted me lol.

  • Isaac Moncure

    Please realize this is the First Beta. Apple might add more features in upcoming betas.

  • Steve Harold

    Come on people, Dark Mode will be on iOS 11. Apple can’t give you very thing they got right now, or iOS 11 would be boring.

  • OK; so now you can get an audible beep from your AirPod if you drop it inside the sofa.

  • jabohn

    These might be new in Mail:
    – the “back” button in the top left corner is now a blue dot with the unread email count if you have unread email
    – the arrows in the top right corner used to navigate a thread have changed back to up/down. iOS 9 had them up/down, iOS 10 changed them to left/right.

  • Nerdy

    So thats why they took down that find my earpods from the app store

  • Y2J: Keeper of the List

    As soon as they bring an official dark mode I really don’t have a need to jailbreak

  • Phil Iverson

    well I’ve had iOS 10.3 for two days now and I see NO real big or WOW changes…and Like I’ve said from the beginning …Why not free iPhones and STOP trying to block us from JAILBREAKING our PAID FOR devices