iOS 17.3 Available This Week With These New Features and Changes

In its press release unveiling a new Black Unity Sport Band for the Apple Watch, Apple confirmed that iOS 17.3 will be released this week. The software update will likely be available later today. Update: It is out.

iOS 17
New features and changes for the iPhone in iOS 17.3 include Stolen Device Protection, collaborative Apple Music playlists, a Unity Bloom wallpaper for the Lock Screen, and AirPlay support for select hotel room TVs. More details are outlined below.

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

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 17.3.

Apple Music Collaborative Playlists

apple music collaborative playlist
A new Collaborative Playlists option for Apple Music subscribers allows multiple people to add, reorder, and remove songs in a shared playlist. Users are able to leave animated emoji reactions next to songs in the playlist.

This feature was initially expected to launch with iOS 17.2, but it was removed from that update towards the end of the beta testing period. The feature was re-added in iOS 17.3, and Apple's website confirmed that it would return in 2024.

Unity Bloom Wallpaper

Unity Bloom Wallpaper iPhone iPad
iOS 17.3 and iPadOS 17.3 include Apple's new Unity Bloom wallpaper for the iPhone and iPad, in support of the Black community. The wallpaper includes an outline of flowers that fill with color when the display is active.

Apple says the "blooming flowers and vibrant colors represent Pan-Africanism and symbolize generations working together to address injustice and dismantle systemic barriers." There is also a new Black Unity Sport Band for the Apple Watch, and an accompanying Black Unity watch face available with watchOS 10.3, which will also be released this week.

AirPlay Support for Select Hotel Room TVs

airplay hotels
iOS 17.3 allows the iPhone to connect to select hotel room TVs via AirPlay.

The feature allows iPhone users to scan a QR code on a supported hotel room TV to establish an AirPlay connection, allowing you to wirelessly stream videos, photos, and music from your iPhone to the TV. Google already offers a similar feature on some hotel TVs, allowing guests to stream content from their smartphone via Chromecast.

In June 2023, Apple said Holiday Inn parent company IHG Hotels & Resorts planned to adopt the feature, but exact availability is unknown. LG previously announced that it would be one of the first hotel room TV manufacturers to support the feature.

Other Changes

  • AppleCare & Warranty section in the Settings app shows your coverage for all devices signed in to your Apple ID account
  • Crash Detection optimizations for all iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 models
  • Bug fixes

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