Apple is adding a new iPhone feature called Stolen Device Protection, which limits what thieves can do with a stolen phone and passcode. It combines location, biometric scans and time delays, allowing victims to lock out the perpetrator and safeguard their data.

Stolen Device Protection defends against iPhone thieves who monitor users entering their passcode before snatching the device. With the passcode, the perpetrator could reset the owner’s Apple ID password, turn off Find My tracking, change an Apple ID password and a lot more.

With this still-in-beta feature turned on, the phone will ask for a Face ID or Touch ID scan if the device is away from a familiar location, like home or work. It will also require a one-hour delay before changing the Apple ID password on the device. After the hour, it will still ask for a Face ID or Touch ID Scan before changing the Apple ID password from the iPhone.

How Stolen Device Protection for iPhone works

Here’s how Apple describes the new security feature in iOS 17.3:

Testing is now available for Stolen Device Protection. This new feature adds an additional layer of security in the unlikely case that someone has stolen your phone and also obtained your passcode.

  • Accessing your saved passwords requires Face ID to be sure it’s you.
  • Changing sensitive settings like your Apple ID password is protected by a security delay
  • No delay is required when iPhone is at familiar locations such as home and work

Apple has thoughtfully created a two-tier system of how Stolen Device Protection works that offers a balance of user-friendliness while enhancing security.

For example, with the feature turned on, actions like using passwords or passkeys, applying for an Apple Card, turning off Lost Mode, erasing an iPhone, and using payment methods saved with an iPhone will require biometric authentication – no passcode fallback when away from familiar locations.

But for even more sensitive actions like changing your Apple ID password, updating Apple ID security settings, changing passcode or Touch/Face ID settings, and turning off Find My or Stolen Device protection, the one-hour security delay will come into play away from familiar locations. That means a second biometric authentication will be required after that delay.

How to turn on Stolen Device Protection for iPhone

  1. Make sure you’re running the iOS 17.3 beta on your iPhone.
  2. Open the Settings app.
  3. Swipe down and tap Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode).
  4. Now choose Stolen Device Protection.


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