iOS 17.3 beta versions just rolled out to developers on 12 December and it includes Apple’s new security feature that promises to assist if your iPhone is ever stolen. We grow increasingly dependent on our digital presence every day and any threat to it means a multifold threat to our privacy and data. Apple already has many tools in place that can help you keep your data safe or even find your device if you lose it, and the iPhone Stolen Device Protection in iOS 17.3 is meant to add another precautionary layer to this. 

 iOS 17.3 Introduces Apple’s New Security Feature To Discourage iPhone Theft

The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. Image credit – Apple

iOS 17.3 Features: What’s the Reason for Apple’s New Security Feature?

A stolen phone is a huge issue for most of us and not only because it costs a kidney to purchase. Most of our personal and professional lives are built around the contents of our phones, making losing it a very stressful ordeal. The iPhone’s existing security features allow you to use your Apple ID on another device to trace the location of the phone and anyone who tries to use it will need your password to access content on the device. 

While this should be enough to protect your information in most cases, The Wall Street Journal recently reported that criminals were getting more cruel with the MO, watching victims type in their iPhone passcode and then stealing the iPhone so they’d have access to the information on the device. The simple passcode would allow them to access sensitive data, including financial information and resources. The quick change of hands leaves victims with no time to change their passcode or lock a thief out, turning Apple’s protection features against them.

Apple’s new security feature adds another layer of safety in this case, the iOS 17.3 update requiring biometrics to access certain details on the iPhone. The iPhone Stolen Device Protection is definitely a feature you should be turning on once you receive the update.

iPhone Stolen Device Protection—What Does It Do?

According to the iOS 17.3 beta version that is out for testing, turning on the iPhone Stolen Device Protection feature makes the device more secure by requiring biometric verification to access certain information or alter any settings on the phone. Face ID and Touch ID are features that are harder to duplicate when compared to copying a passcode, making the reasoning behind Apple’s new security feature very clear. 

After the iOS 17.3 update, when the iPhone Stolen Device Protection feature is enabled, the smartphone will require face or finger biometrics to view passwords stored on the iCloud, use any saved payment methods on Safari, apply for an Apple Card, turn off the Lost Mode protection Apple provides or even for erasing data on the device. This ensures a double layer of protection—the passcode and the Face or Touch ID. 

A third layer of precautions is included for sensitive features that you’re not likely to be accessing or turning off frequently. The new iOS 17.3 feature will enforce an hour-long delay and biometric re-authentication for actions such as changing the Apple ID password or turning off the Find My Phone feature when the device is in unfamiliar locations. This will ensure that if your iPhone is stolen when you are out and about, you will have enough time to access your Apple ID on a different device and locate the phone before the person who stole the device has a chance to lock you out. Available under the Face ID and Passcode setting, the iPhone Stolen Device Protection seems like a really good feature to have enabled.

Apple Music Collaborative Playlists And Other iOS 17.3 Features

Apple had quite a few features that were tested in the iOS 17.2 betas but were eventually dropped with the release of the current iOS update. We will likely see the Apple Music collaborative playlists as one of the features we get to try out with iOS 17.3 and considering the update will officially be out only in 2024, we have a brief wait before it goes live. This feature will allow playlists to have a “Collaborate” option that will allow users to invite friends to join their playlists and make changes to them. It’s a simple but enjoyable addition to the list of features Apple has in store for users. The AirPlay feature for hotel rooms has also been delayed for next year and the main update with the iOS 17.3 beta release remains the iPhone Stolen Device Protection.

The list of features that Apple released for the iOS 17 update is quite an extensive one and while some are out already, there does seem quite a bit lined up for 2024, making it quite an exciting year to look forward to for iPhone users already.