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Apple iOS 10.3: Should you update right now?

Apple’s latest operating system upgrade, iOS 10.3, has arrived. Here’s what you should know before selecting “Install.”

First, the good news: the upgrade comes with a long list of perks. 

If you lose your AirPods (Apple’s wireless earbuds), you can now track them down using Apple’s “Find My Phone” feature. They’ll make a sound wherever they are. 

The new iOS also expands on Siri’s capabilities to sync with other apps. That means you can now command Apple’s personal assistant to carry out more commands for many of your payment, ride booking, and automaker apps, according to Apple. 

Another convenient addition: in iOS 10.3, Maps now shows you the weather forecast in the city you’re heading towards, so you don’t need to toggle between Maps and Weather. 

One unexpected benefit of this upgrade? It actually appears to free up additional storage space on your phone. Apple Insider reports that new file storage technology means data can be saved more efficiently; in their test, a top-of-the-line 256 GB iPhone 7 Plus gained an extra 7.81 GB of available storage space by switching to iOS 10.3.

It will probably make your phone processing feel a little faster, too. Apple engineer Renaud Lienhart explained how the team accomplished that on Twitter:

With the latest upgrade, Apple is also leaping forward in its goal to bar 32-bit apps, which are thinly supported by app-makers, from running on its operating system. The new iOS 10.3 includes a new way to identify which of your apps are 32-bit and see if there are updates available: just open Settings, select General, select About, and then select Applications to see the list. Apple is expected to phase out 32-bit apps entirely at some point down the road. 

So what’s the verdict on whether to upgrade? Technology writers are chiming in:

“iOS 10.3 is one of the most impressive updates Apple has released in some time,” technology reporter Gordon Kelly wrote at Forbes. “Switching the entire file system of around one billion compatible devices is a huge task and all signs are it has gone smoothly, while also saving users space and improving performance.”

All in all, the subtle tweaks of iOS 10.3 “may be worth the upgrade,” wrote CNET’s Vanessa Hand Oreilana. 

The new upgrade builds on iOS 10, which debuted in September along with Apple’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. The operating system included whimsical new messaging features, from stickers to the ability to write directly on your screen, as well as better app integration for Siri, an overhaul for Maps, and a new “Wake Up” feature that activates your phone simply when you lift it up. 

As with all operating system upgrades, be mindful of potential bugs. There are some isolated reports of glitches on Apple’s Communities Forum. As with most upgrades, the risks are higher with Apple’s older products. 

One important note: Make sure to backup your precious data and media before you make the switch. With this upgrade, Apple is switching over to a new filing system, and some users have reported losing files stored on their phones in the process. 

And as always, remember to connect to Wi-Fi before you start downloading iOS 10.3 to save on data usage.

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