With iOS 8.3 you can customize your emoji and enjoy a faster iPhone

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In case you weren’t inundated by Apple coverage yesterday, here’s another story: iOS 8.3 has been finally, officially released. In testing for a little over two months, the new software packs a number of promised fixes and enhancements.

The most obvious are additions to emoji and CarPlay. The default keyboard’s emoji selector has been updated with a scrollable list view, categories, and a skin tone picker for each face. A few brand-new emoji resemble Apple’s family of products — the iPhone, iMac, and Apple Watch. CarPlay, meanwhile, has gained wireless playback.

Performance has notably been improved across the board. According to the release notes, you can expect quicker-launching and more responsive apps, for one, along with more predictable behavior from Wi-Fi, Messages, Control Center, Safari, third-party keyboards, keyboard shortcuts, and the Simplified Chinese keyboard.

Smaller tweaks have been made to the App Store, Passbook, Apple Pay, Siri, Photos, and iMessage. Passbook now separates Passes from Apple Pay. The updated Photos app has icon overlays for albums. Siri can make calls using speakerphone. The China UnionPay now integrates with Apple Pay. There’s a new option in iMessages to filter friends from unknown senders. Also, free apps can now be downloaded without the need to enter your password, if you so choose.

There’s a bevy of miscellaneous fixes in tow, far too many to note here. For an exhaustive rundown, head on over to the official release page.

The iOS 8.3 update is available through iTunes or as an over-the-air update for iPhones running iOS 8 (the 4S, 5, 5C, 6, and 6 Plus), the second-generation iPad and up, and the fifth-generation iPod Touch.

Looking ahead, Apple’s considering bundling its revamped, Beats-powered music streaming service with iOS 8.4. If you’re fixing to get an early look, you might consider signing up for the newly minted iOS beta program.

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