iOS 8.3 brings major changes to the iPhone

On Wednesday, Apple released iOS 8.3, an update that brings a slew of new changes with the iPhone experience.

Robert Galbraith
File - Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook stands in front of a screen displaying the IPhone 6 during a presentation at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California.

On Wednesday, Apple released the latest update for its operating system to the public, iOS 8.3. Finally out of the beta testing period, which offered plenty of hints to what Apple fans were in for, the update came packed with new features and bug fixes. MacRumors compiled a full (and very long) list of all the new changes here.

Some of the new features include a wireless music connection for CarPlay, easier use of Google’s two-factor authentication, the ability to download free apps without a password, and an elongated space bar to avoid hitting the period key while typing a text.

But some of the more exciting updates will bring big changes for some iPhone enthusiasts.

Wi-Fi calling

While Wi-Fi calling was introduced to the iPhone with the initial launch iOS 8, the iOS 8.3 update will now allow for Sprint and EE subscribers – a British telecommunications provider – to activate wireless calling. In Settings under the Phone options, Sprint and EE customers can now access a toggle titled Allow Wi-Fi Calls.

According to Sprint’s website, only after users download iOS 8.3 and the Carrier Version 19.1 will the feature appear. But, as MacRumors notes, the company’s press release about Wi-Fi calling for customers suggests the full expansion of the new program might take a few days.

EE users may also end up waiting in line to use wireless calling. According to Engadget, the mobile provider will limit the number of iPhones that can register per day to 100,000. Though, waiting a few days to sign-up for wireless calling is better than getting none at all (looking at you Verizon and AT&T).

Apple Maps

Some of the biggest changes iOS 8.3 brought was to Apple Maps.

The mapping service now allows for users to take any contact with an address and create a route without having to plug-in the contact’s location. When using Apple Maps, one can tap the Search field, select favorites, locate contacts at the bottom, and choose an individual with a saved address.

Apple Maps also now offers a “3D Flyover tour” with Maps. With select locations, such as New York City, users can take a virtual, helicopter-like tour. As users are “flying,” the digital guide will pause over popular destinations such as the Statue of Liberty. The tour was not seamless though and often took a moment to load the full graphics of an area.

The company also introduced other transit recommendations in Apple Maps. Now when customers type an address into the Search bar, options for Drive, Walk, and Apps will appear underneath. If someone does not like the route Apple’s service chose, Apple Maps will access all other transit applications as alternatives.

The iPhone diversifies

Siri, Apple's digital assistant, learned seven new languages with this update, which included additional accents for English, such as local accents for India, New Zealand, and Singapore.

Apple fans also got to check out the new diversified emojis that made headlines recently. Now, when consumers hold down certain emojis, such as a bride or a baby, they will get to choose from a more inclusive display of skin tones. The keyboard will even remember the specific color emoji a user chooses and set it as the default.

It should be noted that there are a lot of characters that still offer only one skin color, such as all of the family and same-sex couple illustrations. While the family graphics feature same-sex couples with varying numbers of children, they are all the same yellow color with no other options. To be fair, with the wide array of mixed race couples in the world, it would probably be difficult to include everyone, but Apple could have likely switched up the shades of the smiley face emojis rather easily. But at least this is a start in the diversifying process.

Rumors about iOS 8.4 have been swirling since February, and some believe it might bring an Apple music streaming service to the iPhone’s future.

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