Anticipating iOS 17.3: A Key Feature Set to Transform iPhone Security



by SEDEDIN DEDOVIC

Anticipating iOS 17.3: A Key Feature Set to Transform iPhone Security
© Mario Tama / Getty Images

In an attempt to improve the security of its iPhone devices and prevent theft-related incidents, Apple has introduced a revolutionary feature called Stolen Device Protection. Currently in iOS 17.3 beta, exclusively available to developers, this innovative tool aims to limit unauthorized access to stolen devices, offering users protection from potential data breaches and unauthorized use.

The anti-theft feature works through a strategic combination of location tracking, biometric scans and time delays. This trio of security measures allows users to prevent attackers and effectively protect their personal data.

One common tactic used by iPhone thieves in public places involves watching users enter their passcodes before quickly stealing the device. Without protection against stolen devices, thieves can exploit this vulnerability to reset the owner's Apple ID password, disable Find My Device, add a recovery key, and factory reset the phone for resale—all before the victim can react.

Mandatory face and finger scanning

However, with this new feature activated, face or fingerprint scanning becomes mandatory when the device is outside recognized locations, such as home or work. Additionally, a one-hour waiting period is imposed before any Apple ID password changes occur.

This additional layer of security significantly complicates a thief's ability to compromise the device and gives the owner valuable time to report the theft, effectively blocking the attacker. The protection against stolen devices is also aligned with Apple's existing security settings.

In scenarios where recovery keys or phone number updates could lock out the rightful owner, the new option ensures that two biometric scans, separated by an hour, are required if the device is outside of trusted locations.

Even iCloud Keychain passwords, managed by Apple's integrated password manager, are subject to enhanced security measures. Face or fingerprint scanning becomes mandatory, and passcodes are not accepted as a backup plan when anti-theft protection is activated.

Although currently in beta, this feature is poised to provide iPhone users with an advanced level of security, offering peace of mind in the digital environment. While the beta version is currently exclusive to developers, eager users can expect a general release in the coming weeks.