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Apple cranks up the heat on iPhone thieves with new iOS 17.3 feature

For those on the dark side of the iPhone heist? Maybe it’s time to consider a new hobby.

iphone ios beta stolen device protection being shown on a phone
Image: KnowTechie

UPDATE 1/28/2024: Stolen Device Protection is now official and rolling out to iOS 17.3. To learn more, we wrote a quick guide: How to use Apple’s stolen device protection feature for iPhone.

With the first beta of iOS 17.3 rolling out, there’s a spicy new feature that’s the tech equivalent of a ‘Do Not Enter’ sign for digital bandits.

It’s called Stolen Device Protection, and it’s Apple’s way of telling iPhone pilferers, “Not today, buddy.’

Here’s the gist of it: Imagine you’re out and about, living your best life, iPhone in hand. There’s always that sneaky someone who might try to memorize your passcode. Well, Apple’s latest update says, “Think again, pal!”

With iOS 17.3, knowing your passcode is as useful as knowing the lyrics to a song no one’s heard. If a thief gets their grubby mitts on your phone, they’ll need your face or fingerprint to do… well, anything that matters.

stolen device protection on iphone ios beta
Image: KnowTechie

Want to check out those iCloud Keychain secrets or snag an Apple Card in your name? They’ll need your biometric thumbs-up, as confirmed by our pals over at CNBC.

But here’s the real kicker: For the sensitive stuff, like changing your Apple ID or resetting the device, the thief’s in for a wait. We’re talking a full hour—which in the tech world is like waiting for the next season of your favorite show.

And if your iPhone’s not at home or idling at work, the new feature gets even feistier, as Macworld notes.

It all started when The Wall Street Journal waved a big red flag about a security gap that could let thieves take a walk in your digital shoes. Apple’s response? It is a security slam dunk that will have iPhone thieves thinking twice about its next target.

In short, Apple’s not just stepping up its game; it’s rewriting the rulebook. And for those on the dark side of the iPhone heist? Maybe it’s time to consider a new hobby.

Right now, Apple’s Stolen Device Protection is in the oven, baking as a beta feature in iOS 17.3. You can sign up for the beta program and take it for a spin. If you like to live on the cutting edge—and don’t mind the occasional bug—it’s easy to hop on the beta bandwagon.

Just cruise on over to Apple’s Beta Software Program and use your Apple ID to sign up. Once you’re in, you can enable those beta updates right from your device settings.

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Kevin is KnowTechie's founder and executive editor. With over 15 years of blogging experience in the tech industry, Kevin has transformed what was once a passion project into a full-blown tech news publication. Shoot him an email at kevin@knowtechie.com or find him on Mastodon or Post.

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