iOS 11.3 is the next update coming to iPhone and iPad, but it won’t be officially released until later this Spring. However, after several rounds of developer-only testing, Apple has opened up a pre-release version of iOS 11.3 to the public. Now anyone can try out the new features much earlier than planned as a beta tester.

There are several important changes in iOS 11.3 – more than usual for a mid-year update – most notably the addition of a new battery health feature. This was promised after the #iPhoneSlow controversy earlier this year, and will help users keep better track of long-term battery life as well as provide the opportunity to turn off performance-throttling functions that kick in with older batteries. Bear in mind that iPad batteries are able to last much longer and therefore aren’t affected by the same practices.

On top of that, iOS 11.3 includes serious improvements to ARKit, the ability to store messages in iCloud, a new Health Records app, improvements to Safari, and new Animoji characters for iPhone X users. So who could blame you for wanting to get your hands on it a little early?

If you’re curious to try out the new software before the rest of the world gets it, it’s an easy process to try out – but it’s not so easy to revert to an earlier version of iOS afterward, so proceed with caution.

A word of warning

Remember that this is an unfinished beta version of iOS 11 and as such is bound to contain a few bugs. The purpose of releasing to the public is to find and iron out any problems in the software before its official release.

That’s why we’d recommend installing the iOS 11 beta on a secondary device if you have one. As far as we can tell this beta is fairly stable, but if you choose to install it on your main device just remember you’re taking a risk.

Back up your device

If you do plan on trying out the beta, make sure to back up your device first – just in case. The easiest way to make a backup is using iCloud:

1. Ensure you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network.

2. Open Settings, then scroll down and press iCloud.

3. Select Backup and ensure iCloud Backup is toggled on.

4. Tap Back Up Now to save a current backup to iCloud. It may take a short while.

Installing the beta

Time to take the plunge.

1. First, you’ll need to sign up for the Apple Beta Software Program. Press here and then tap Sign Up.

2. Once you’re in, find the iOS section of the betas and press Enroll this device.

3. Choose Download Profile and then press Allow followed by Install.

4. Your device will reboot. Afterward, go to Settings General Software UpdateDownload and Install and press Install Now.

That’s it! It may take a while for the beta to install, but once it’s done your device will reboot with the new operating system. Check out the Battery section in Settings to see the most anticipated new feature in action!