Apple Tightens iPhone Security: Stolen Device Protection Beta Bolsters Defense Against Thieves

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Apple is taking aim at smartphone thieves with a new security feature in the latest iOS 17.3 beta: Stolen Device Protection. This beta-tested functionality aims to significantly bolster iPhone security and hinder unauthorized access to critical data in case of theft or loss.

Key Highlights:

  • New iOS 17.3 beta feature, Stolen Device Protection, adds extra layers of security for iPhones in case of theft.
  • Biometric authentication (Face ID/Touch ID) required for sensitive actions, like changing Apple ID passwords, when not in familiar locations.
  • Additional hurdles for unauthorized access to settings like Find My iPhone and recovery options.
  • Experts consider the move a positive step, but emphasize user vigilance and strong passcodes remain crucial.

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Stolen Device Protection adds an extra layer of biometric authentication (Face ID or Touch ID) for sensitive actions when the iPhone is not in a trusted location, as determined by the user. These actions include:

  • Changing Apple ID password
  • Enabling or changing Apple ID recovery key
  • Modifying trusted phone numbers for Apple ID recovery
  • Turning off Find My iPhone
  • Adding or removing Face ID or Touch ID

This two-factor authentication requirement adds a crucial barrier for thieves who might gain physical access to the device but lack the owner’s biometric information. Additionally, even basic actions like changing the iPhone passcode will require a Face ID scan if the device is outside of trusted locations.

“This is a welcome development from Apple,” says Jonathan Richards, a cybersecurity expert at Cypher Labs. “Adding biometric authentication for critical actions hinders quick access to sensitive data and gives owners more time to react to a potential theft.”

However, Richards emphasizes that Stolen Device Protection is not a magic bullet. “Strong passcodes and maintaining vigilance remain essential,” he advises. “Thieves can still target valuable data stored on the device itself, so be mindful of what you keep on your iPhone and consider additional security measures like encrypted storage solutions.”

Apple’s Stolen Device Protection feature is currently in beta testing and available to developers and public beta testers. It is expected to be rolled out to the wider public with the general release of iOS 17.3 in the coming months.

Apple’s Stolen Device Protection beta in iOS 17.3 offers a promising step towards safeguarding iPhones from unauthorized access in case of theft. While adding extra layers of biometric security, experts advise users to practice vigilance and maintain strong passcodes for complete protection.

About the author

Joshua

Joshua Bartholomew

A casual guy with no definite plans for the day, he enjoys life to the fullest. A tech geek and coder, he also likes to hack apart hardware. He has a big passion for Linux, open source, gaming and blogging. He believes that the world is an awesome place and we're here to enjoy it! He's currently the youngest member of the team. You can contact him at joshua@pc-tablet.com.