Getting your cell phone stolen is bad enough, but if a thief is able to take your device and access what’s on it, a bad situation can quickly get a whole lot worse. If you’re an Apple user though, there’s a little good news as the latest iOS update brings some beefed-up security.
The feature is called Stolen Device Protection, and as the name implies, it makes your phone a little more secure should it ever get stolen.
A large portion of people use a PIN to unlock their phone over a biometric thumbprint or face identification. And, while that’s a good defense, it’s also not terribly hard for someone to see you enter your PIN and then snatch your phone (which is why experts recommend you not use your PIN in public in the first place). And with that PIN, a thief could access passwords, steal money, lock users out of their iCloud, and more.
That’s where Stolen Device Protection comes in.
With this option turned on, your iPhone will require Face ID or Touch ID for certain sensitive actions like changing or viewing passwords, toggling Lost Mode on or off, deleting content, sending cash, and more.
Even further, if the phone’s passcode or Apple ID are changed, the user will have to authenticate with either face or touch, wait one hour, and then authenticate again before the change will take effect. Note that this does not apply if your phone is in a familiar location like home or work. If you’re in one of those locations, you can make those changes immediately.
In short, biometrics are added to make sure whoever has your phone can’t cause any further damage.
This is a feature you’ll need to turn on — it’s not enabled by default. To turn on Stolen Device Protection, make sure you’re first running iOS 17.3 beta. If you are, head to Settings, Face ID and Passcode, and then Stolen Device Protection.
Of course, this isn’t going to prevent your phone from actually getting stolen, but it could help mitigate some of the trouble that comes along with that.