The latest iOS update is out, and iOS 14.3 delivers some important and useful new features to all kinds of Apple devices including older iPhones and iPads. It’ll smarten up your selfies, improve your custom Home Screen icons, deliver useful features for photography pros and even help you get fit. It adds support for the AirPods Max and delivers ProRAW images for the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max.
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iOS 14.3: smarter selfies and ProRAW for the pros
iOS 14.3 delivers some good things for selfie snappers and photo pros alike. iPhones from the iPhone 6S onwards can now mirror their selfies from the front facing camera, something that was only previously available to the iPhone XR/XS onwards. You’ll find it in Settings > Camera > Composition. The Camera app also gets the option to shoot video at 25fps.
For iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max owners, iOS 14.3 also brings the promised ProRAW support. This is off by default, and if you switch it on in Settings > Camera > Formats it adds a toggle in the Camera app that enables you to turn ProRAW on or off.
Why does this matter? Raw photos give editors massive amounts of freedom to tweak an image without degrading it because it's basically unfiltered pixel data – you can improve colours, and even pull totally usable photos out from seemingly black shadows.
Raw photos from phones have never been very desirable, because the sensors are so small – they're just not that high quality. But Apple's ProRAW system improves the quality by applying Apple's HDR processing tech and Deep Fusion system for sharper details, but still in a package that can be edited like a normal raw photo.
iOS 14.3: smarter shortcuts for your custom icons
When iOS 14 first came out, lots of people got excited by the ability to create customised Home Screen icons using the Shortcuts app. There was just one problem with that: those Shortcuts still launched the Shortcuts app before they launched the app you actually wanted them to launch. That’s changed in iOS 14.3, so launch icons will work much more quickly. It should also speed up background shortcuts which once again don’t need to invoke the app before running.
iOS 14.3: Fitness+ and all-day cardio fitness monitoring
Apple’s Fitness+ is finally here. It’s Apple’s subscription service for fitness, and it lives inside the Fitness app on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. It’s designed to make the most of the sensors inside the Apple Watch and features a wide range of workouts including treadmills, HIIT, cycling, yoga and even dance.
Fitness+ isn’t the only health feature in iOS 14.3. If you have an Apple Watch running watchOS 7, it can now measure your cardio fitness levels during the day. Prior to iOS 14.3 that feature was only available during workouts, outdoor walks and runs.
iOS 14.3: App Clips could make every day easier
App Clips in iOS 14.3 are little things that might turn out to be a big deal. The idea is really clever: instead of downloading an entire app to do just one thing, you download the relevant App Clip instead – so for example if you want to pay for parking or to hire an e-bike, you could scan the App Clip code to process the payment on your phone without having to install a parking or e-bike app.
If you think that sounds like QR codes, it’s very similar – but unlike QR codes, which are everywhere already, App Clips are an Apple-only format and only work on Apple hardware.
iOS 14.3 AirPods Max support
As expected, the iOS 14.3 update supports the new AirPods Max headphones: it’s only just arrived because Apple doesn’t like to give the game away by adding support in the operating system before the product actually launches.
iOS 14.3: lots of other useful improvements
iOS 14.3 now provides air quality health recommendations at specific levels in the US, UK, Germany, India and Mexico, and you can now use the environmentally-focused Ecosia search engine as a default in Safari. There’s a new Apple TV+ tab coming to the TV app, and Apple Music now supports animated album artwork.
How to get iOS 14.3 or iPadOS 14.3
The iOS 14.3 update is available now for all supported devices from the iPhone 6s onwards.
You’ll find it in Settings > General > Software Update. That should automatically find the update, and all you need to do is select Download & Install. It’s not a huge update file: including reboots, updating our iPhone only took a few minutes.