Apple’s commitment to user security takes a welcomed step forward with the introduction of “Stolen Device Protection” for the iPhone in the iOS 17.3 beta. This feature adds an extra layer of defense against unauthorized access, even if a thief obtains your iPhone’s passcode.
Recent reports highlighted the alarming vulnerability of stolen iPhones, where thieves could observe passcodes in public settings and subsequently gain access to victims’ digital lives. Stolen Device Protection addresses this concern head-on by requiring biometric authentication (Face ID or Touch ID) for a range of sensitive actions, even with the correct passcode.
Gone are the days when a stolen passcode granted unrestricted access to your iPhone. Imagine this: a thief steals your iPhone and unlocks it with your passcode. But before they can wreak havoc on your digital life, Stolen Device Protection throws up a roadblock. Viewing saved passwords, applying for new Apple Cards, erasing your phone’s content – all these actions now require a biometric scan, effectively shutting out the thief and giving you valuable time to react.
For the most critical actions, Stolen Device Protection takes security a step further. Changing your Apple ID password, for instance, triggers a one-hour security wait after the initial biometric scan. This deliberate delay grants you an opportunity to regain control and prevent unauthorized modifications to your core Apple account. And to ensure seamless user experience, Stolen Device Protection intelligently recognizes your trusted locations like home and work, automatically bypassing the additional security measures for a familiar yet convenient experience.
Activating Stolen Device Protection is as simple as navigating to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Stolen Device Protection. A simple toggle switch empowers you with this enhanced security layer. While currently available only in the iOS 17.3 beta for developers, all iPhone models compatible with iOS 17 should be able to trigger Stolen Device Protection once iOS 17.3 is publicly available early next year.