Apple debuts new highly-requested feature to stop thieves who steal your iPhone

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If you, or someone you know, has ever had your iPhone stolen, a brand new feature planned for the release of iOS 17.3 should help soften that blow. Even thieves who have your unique passcode won’t be able to access some of your most personal information. 

In a comment made to The Verge, Apple spokesperson Scott Radcliffe said, “iPhone data encryption has long led the industry, and a thief can’t access data on a stolen iPhone without knowing the user’s passcode. In the rare cases where a thief can observe the user entering the passcode and then steal the device, Stolen Device Protection adds a sophisticated new layer of protection.”

With this, your iPhone needs authentication through Face ID or Touch ID to check finances, get access to iCloud accounts, and, most importantly, use Apple Pay. For things like changing your Apple ID password or turning off Find My, you need to authenticate via Face ID or Touch ID twice, one hour apart. You do have to opt into this feature, but it will be available to all iPhone users when iOS 17.3 launches (expected 2024).

A needed change – iMore’s take

This is a great feature that I’m surprised doesn’t already exist. Devices being locked to an Apple ID and tied to Find My is a good deterrent for possible thieves, but there are ways around it for those who are smart enough, especially if they are able to get your passcode before taking your device. This has been one of the biggest workarounds of iPhone’s security features until now, and it’s good to know it won’t be enough to steal and sell on your device in the future. 

However, there are still security flaws we know about right now in Apple devices. Just last week, a flaw was spotted that could spoof a Magic Keyboard on MacBooks, enabling a hacker to mimic keystrokes and steal information. Earlier this year, a report showed that someone with a Flipper Zero could spoof an AirPods ping to annoy or even lock down a phone. Neither of these have been addressed as of the time of writing. Hopefully, iOS 17.3 will go even further in regards to iPhone security. 

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James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.