Apple has always been at the forefront of innovation when it comes to the security and privacy of its devices. With the latest iOS 17.3 update, Apple has introduced a new feature that makes it even harder for thieves to access or use your stolen iPhone. This feature is called Stolen Device Protection, and it is designed to prevent anyone from erasing, restoring, or activating your iPhone without your consent.
In this article, we will explain what Stolen Device Protection is, how it works, how to enable it, and how it keeps your iPhone safe from theft.
New Features in iOS 17.3
iOS 17.3 is the third major update to iOS 17, which was released in September 2023. iOS 17.3 brings several new features and improvements to the iPhone, such as:
- Stolen Device Protection: This feature helps to protect your iPhone if it is lost or stolen. When stolen device protection is turned on, your iPhone will require you to enter your passcode to make any changes to important settings, such as your Apple ID password, Face ID, or Touch ID. This will give you time to report your iPhone as lost or stolen and take steps to protect your accounts.
- Collaborative playlists: This feature allows you to create playlists that you can share with others and edit collaboratively. You can invite friends to join a collaborative playlist by sharing a link or AirDrop. Once they’ve joined, they can add, remove, or reorder songs in the playlist.
- App Privacy Report: This feature lets you see how often apps access your location, photos, camera, microphone, contacts, and other data, and which third-party domains they contact. You can also manage your app permissions from this report.
- Siri Offline Mode: This feature allows you to use Siri without an internet connection for basic tasks such as launching apps, controlling settings, setting timers, and playing music. Siri Offline Mode also improves Siri’s speed and reliability.
- FaceTime SharePlay: This feature lets you watch movies, TV shows, and videos, listen to music, and share your screen with your friends and family over FaceTime. You can also use Picture-in-Picture mode to multitask while on a FaceTime call.
- Live Text: This feature lets you copy, paste, translate, and search for text in photos and images. You can also use Live Text to scan QR codes, phone numbers, email addresses, and other information.
- Wallet: This feature lets you add and use your driver’s license, state ID, hotel key, car key, and other cards to your iPhone’s Wallet app. You can also use Wallet to pay for public transit, parking, and more.
Stolen Device Protection
Stolen Device Protection is a new feature that makes it impossible for anyone to erase, restore, or activate your iPhone without your consent. This feature is enabled by default on all iPhones that support iOS 17.3, and it works even if your iPhone is turned off, in Airplane Mode, or has no SIM card.
How Does it Work?
Stolen Device Protection works by using a combination of your Apple ID, your iPhone’s Secure Enclave, and Apple’s Activation Lock servers. When you set up your iPhone, you are required to sign in with your Apple ID, which is linked to your iPhone’s unique identifier. Your iPhone also has a Secure Enclave, which is a separate chip that stores your biometric data, such as your Face ID or Touch ID, and your device passcode. The Secure Enclave is encrypted and isolated from the rest of the system, and it can only be accessed by your biometric authentication or your device passcode.
When you enable Stolen Device Protection, your iPhone sends a cryptographic key to Apple’s Activation Lock servers, which is derived from your Apple ID and your iPhone’s identifier. This key verifies your identity and authorizes your iPhone to be erased, restored, or activated. If someone tries to erase, restore, or activate your iPhone without your consent, they will be asked to enter your Apple ID and password, or your device passcode, which are stored in the Secure Enclave. If they fail to do so, your iPhone will remain locked and unusable.
How to Enable it?
Stolen Device Protection is enabled by default on all iPhones that support iOS 17.3. However, you can also check and manage this feature from your iPhone’s Settings app. To do so, follow these steps:
- Opt into iOS 17.3 beta.
- Open the Settings app.
- Navigate to Face ID & Passcode.
- Toggle on Stolen Device Protection.
Installing iOS 17.3 Beta
iOS 17.3 is currently in beta testing, which means that it is not yet available to the public. However, if you are interested in trying out the new features and improvements of iOS 17.3, you can join the beta program and install the beta version of iOS 17.3 on your iPhone.
How Does Stolen Device Protection Keep Your iPhone Safe?
Stolen Device Protection is a powerful feature that makes your iPhone more secure and less attractive to thieves. Here are some of the benefits of Stolen Device Protection:
- Biometric security measures: Stolen Device Protection works with Face ID and Touch ID, which are biometric security measures that use your face or fingerprint to unlock your iPhone. These features are more secure and convenient than using a password or a PIN, and they prevent anyone from accessing your iPhone without your consent.
- Protection from thieves: Stolen Device Protection makes it impossible for anyone to erase, restore, or activate your iPhone without your consent. This means that even if your iPhone is stolen, the thief will not be able to use it, sell it, or access your personal data. Your iPhone will also display a message on the lock screen, showing your contact information and a custom message, such as “This iPhone is lost. Please call me.” This may help you recover your iPhone, or deter the thief from keeping it.
- Find My app: Stolen Device Protection works with the Find My app, which lets you locate, track, and remotely control your iPhone. You can use the Find My app to see your iPhone’s location on a map, play a sound, lock it, erase it, or mark it as lost. You can also use the Find My app to see the location of your other Apple devices, such as your iPad, Mac, AirPods, or Apple Watch.
If you want to try out Stolen Device Protection and other new features of iOS 17.3, you can join the beta program and install the beta version of iOS 17.3 on your iPhone. However, you should always be careful and back up your iPhone before doing so, and avoid using the beta version on your primary device. You should also wait for the official release of iOS 17.3, which is expected to be in early 2024.