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iOS 17.3 Beta Adds New Security Feature to Stolen iPhone and Passcode

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

In an earlier report of WSJ’s Joanna stern, it was uncovered that thieves have come with in up new ingenious ways to steal iPhones and subsequently disable security features from these devices. It was described that thieves first observe the targets and try to uncover their device’s passcode. Once they got the numeric combination, they can lock out users and even look into sensitive information, such as bank details, stored on iCloud Keychain.

Now, Apple has seemingly addressed 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 switch it on

Primarily, the verbiage states that it’s an extra layer of protection in scenarios where your iPhone is stolen together with its passcode. Once switched on, viewing and accessing saved passwords and passkeys will require a Face ID authentication. This is a vital change to the current system that only needs you to input device passcode.

Apple is also adding another security measure when changing and updating your passwords and related Apple ID information. It will now both require for biometric authentication and an hour delay. Plus, after the said buffer time, users are again needed to authenticate before changes are applied. But it was noted by Apple that the delay is 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 expected that there are changes in the upcoming beta versions and on how Apple will really implement this in the final version. 

If you’re interested in trying out the Stolen Device Protection feature, you can enroll in 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 release of iOS 17. There are also minor changes to the Journal app’s settings. Overall, iOS 17.3 Beta 1 appears to be focuses on the new Stolen Device Protection and expected to add more features in the next beta releases.

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

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