Stolen Device Protection relies on biometric tools to keep thieves out of your iPhone
Actions that require either Face ID or Touch ID when an iPhone is in an unusual location include viewing passwords stored on the device and wiping the phone. A one-hour delay will be called for when creating a new Apple ID password. After the hour, Face ID or Touch ID will still be required to change the password. The delay is essentially buying time for the owner to report his phone stolen.
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Other actions that require biometric approval when Stolen Device Protection is enabled and an iPhone is away from the user’s usual locations include applying for an Apple Card, turning off Lost Mode, and accessing and using payment methods stored in Safari. If Face ID or Touch ID fails and Stolen Device Protection is enabled, the user cannot use his/her passcode to sign in.
- Viewing/using passwords or passkeys saved in iCloud Keychain
- Applying for a new Apple Card
- Viewing an Apple Card virtual card
- Turning off Lost Mode
- Erasing all content and settings
- Taking certain Apple Cash and Savings actions in Wallet
- Using payment methods saved in Safari
- Using your iPhone to set up a new device
- Changing your Apple ID password
- Updating select Apple ID account security settings, including adding or removing a trusted device, trusted phone number, Recovery Key, or Recovery Contact
- Changing your iPhone passcode
- Adding or removing Face ID or Touch ID
- Turning off Find My
- Turning off Stolen Device Protection
Stolen Device Protection is supposed to prevent a scam that starts when someone makes friends with an iPhone user or spies on one in order to obtain his/her passcode. Sometimes this is done by looking over the shoulder of the iPhone user or by asking to see a photograph and watching as the iPhone user unlocks his handset using his/her passcode.
How to enable Stolen Device Protection in the first developer beta of iOS 17.3
The thief then steals the iPhone, enters the purloined passcode, resets the Apple ID password, disables Find My, performs a factory reset, and sells the device. A working iPhone is more valuable in the black market than one that is locked down; the latter device is generally sold for parts. Alternately, the thief could use the passcode to steal passwords for banking and other financial apps, email passwords, and more that are stored in the iCloud Keychain.
If Apple keeps the new feature in the final version of iOS 17.3, most iPhone users won’t get this feature until sometime early next year. If you installed the first developer beta of iOS 17.3, you can enable Stolen Device Protection by going to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Stolen Device Protection.