iOS 17.3 Beta Unveils Enhanced Security with New Anti-Theft Feature iOS 17.3 beta introduces a groundbreaking "Stolen Device Protection" feature for iPhones, elevating security against theft.

iPhone

In a significant update, the iOS 17.3 beta, now available to developers, introduces the “Stolen Device Protection” feature, specifically designed to bolster iPhone security in theft scenarios.

This enhancement comes in response to rising concerns about iPhone thefts where thieves gain access to the device’s passcode, a situation highlighted by The Wall Street Journal‘s Joanna Stern and Nicole Nguyen earlier this year. Their report underscored the potential for thieves to not only steal the physical device but also to hijack a victim’s entire digital identity by accessing banking, email, and other sensitive information through the iCloud Keychain.

The newly integrated feature takes iPhone security a step further by mandating Face ID or Touch ID verification for critical actions such as accessing iCloud Keychain passwords, applying for a new Apple Card, disabling Lost Mode, erasing device content, and using stored payment methods in Safari. This approach eliminates the option of using a passcode as a fallback, ensuring biometric authentication is the sole method for these sensitive operations.

Adding an additional layer of security for critical tasks like changing the Apple ID password, the feature introduces a security delay. Users must authenticate twice with Face ID or Touch ID, separated by a one-hour interval, to complete these actions. However, Apple has said that this delay won’t apply in familiar settings, such as at home or work.

Image: GadgetMatch.com

This opt-in feature, located in the Settings app under Face ID & Passcode → Stolen Device Protection, will be presented to users as a preview after they install the iOS 17.3 beta. However, this prompt will not appear in the public release of iOS 17.3, scheduled for a later date.

Apple plans to release further documentation to elucidate the workings of the Stolen Device Protection feature. This update is compatible with iPhone models from the iPhone XS onwards, and aligns with the overall iOS 17 compatibility.

The full public release of iOS 17.3 is expected to roll out in the early months of the coming year.

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