iOS 17.3 Adds New Feature That Every iPhone User Should Know About

Apple's upcoming iOS 17.3 software update includes an important new feature that all iPhone users should know about: Stolen Device Protection.

ios stolen device protection
Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported about thieves spying on an iPhone user's passcode before stealing the device, often in public places like bars. With knowledge of the passcode, the thief can then change the victim's Apple ID password, turn off Find My, and more to gain full control of the device. The thief can also use the passcode to gain access to passwords stored in iCloud Keychain and other sensitive information.

Stolen Device Protection is Apple's hopeful solution to the problem. Apple says the feature is designed to add an additional layer of security in the event someone has stolen your iPhone and also obtained the device's passcode.

When the feature is turned on, Face ID or Touch ID authentication is strictly required for the following actions, with a passcode fallback no longer available:

  • Accessing passwords or passkeys saved in iCloud Keychain
  • Applying for a new Apple Card or viewing an Apple Card's virtual number
  • Turning off Lost Mode
  • Erasing all content and settings
  • Taking certain Apple Cash and Apple Card Savings actions in the Wallet app
  • Using payment methods saved in Safari
  • Using your iPhone to set up a new device

For especially sensitive actions, including changing the password of the Apple ID account associated with the iPhone, the feature adds a one-hour security delay on top of biometric authentication. In these cases, the user must authenticate with Face ID or Touch ID, wait one hour, and authenticate with Face ID or Touch ID again. However, Apple says there is no delay when the iPhone is in familiar locations, such as at home or work.

Actions that require Face ID or Touch ID authentication, and have a one-hour security delay, when the feature is turned on:

  • Changing your Apple ID password
  • Updating select Apple ID security settings, including adding or removing a trusted device, trusted phone number, Recovery Key, or Recovery Contact
  • Changing your iPhone passcode
  • Adding or removing Face ID or Touch ID
  • Turning off Find My
  • Turning off Stolen Device Protection

iOS 17.3 is currently in beta for developers and public beta testers, and the update will likely be released widely in January or February. Stolen Device Protection is an opt-in feature that can be found in the Settings app under Face ID & Passcode, and it is available for all iPhones that are compatible with iOS 17. iPhone users who update to the iOS 17.3 beta are able to test a "preview" version of the feature.

Apple plans to share additional information about the feature once iOS 17.3 is released widely.

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