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iOS 17.3 Beta Makes iPhone Theft Difficult

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After Apple shipped iOS 17.2 to users yesterday, they're now rolling out the first iOS 17.3 beta to developers and testers. The major addition to this software update is the new Stolen Device Protection feature for iPhones that adds additional security protection when your device is stolen and thieves have access to your passcode.

In an earlier report by WSJ's Joanna Stern, it was uncovered that thieves have come up with new and ingenious methods to steal iPhones, subsequently disabling security features in the stolen handsets. It described the thieves observing the target and uncovering the device's passcode. Once they have the numeric combination, they can lock users out and even pry into sensitive information, including bank details that are stored on the iCloud Keychain.

Now, Apple is seen to address this particular fatal security flaw on iPhones with the new iOS 17.3 update. In the first beta of the software, there is a new feature called Stolen Device Protection, which users can enable or disable from the settings in the section of Face ID and Passcode.

How Stolen Device Protections works and why you should enable it

Primarily, Stolen Device Protection is an additional layer of protection in scenarios where your iPhone is stolen with its passcode. Once enabled, viewing and accessing saved passwords and passkeys will require Face ID authentication. This is a vital change to the current system that only requires you to input the device passcode.

Apple will also add another security measure when changing and updating your passwords and related Apple ID information. It will now require biometric authentication and an hour's delay. After the said buffer time, users are again required to authenticate the device before the changes are applied. Apple mentioned that the delay will be removed if you're in saved locations like home and workplaces.

Apple adds Stolen Device Protection on iOS 17.3
Apple's new Stolen Device Protection adds an extra layer of security when your iPhone and passcode are stolen. / © Apple

Right now, the feature is in beta preview and there are expected changes in the upcoming beta versions on how Apple will implement this in the final version. 

If you're interested in trying out the Stolen Device Protection feature, you can enroll for Apple's Developer Beta Program and install the update on your iPhone.

As far as the other features included in this update, Apple Music's collaborative playlist is now back with this version following it being dropped from the definitive iOS 17 release. There are also minor changes made to the Journal app's settings. Overall, iOS 17.3 Beta 1 appears to focus on the new Stolen Device Protection and is expected to add more features in future beta releases.

Are you testing out iOS 17.3 Beta? What are the new features and functions you have discovered? Share your experience with us in the comments.

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Jade Bryan

Jade Bryan
Junior Editor

I still remember how amazed I was when I first got hold of the Nokia 3210 back when I was a kid, and it was during that time I developed my love for technology, particularly for mobile phones. I started sharing my knowledge through writing in different blogs and forums back in Nokia Nseries era. I even make videos before where I put different phones side-by-side. Today, I'm still an avid enthusiast of smartphones, but my interests have evolved into smart devices and electric vehicles.

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