What Is iPhone Stolen Device Protection and How Does It Work

How to Set up iPhone Stolen Device Protection for Added Security

When it comes to smartphone security, Apple is always at the forefront of innovation. The new Stolen Device Protection feature on iOS 17.3 and later is a game-changer, adding another layer of security to prevent thieves from wiping your iPhone or accessing personal information.

Key Takeaways

  • Stolen Device Protection prevents thieves from wiping your phone or accessing personal information for users of iOS 17.3 or later.
  • Biometric authentication (Face ID, Touch ID) is required for certain actions when your iPhone is in an unfamiliar location.
  • Stolen Device Protection introduces delays for actions like changing your Apple ID password or applying for a new Apple Card.

What is iPhone Stolen Device Protection?

iPhone’s Stolen Device Protection is essentially a fail-safe feature that prevents thieves from wiping your iPhone or accessing your personal information, including your Apple ID. To use the feature, you must update your iPhone to iOS 17.3 or later. Stolen Device Protection adds additional layers to iPhone security by requiring biometric authentication (Face ID and Touch ID) to perform certain actions when your iPhone is in an unfamiliar location.

How Stolen Device Protection Works

Per the official support page, the feature “adds a layer of security when your iPhone is away from familiar locations, such as your home or workplace.” Let’s break that down to understand how the feature works.

Enabled Settings Actions with Delay
Biometric authentication required for passwords and credit card information Changing Apple ID password
Delay for some actions when iPhone is in an unfamiliar location Adjusting security settings

How to Turn on Stolen Device Protection

Although enabling the feature is straightforward, there are a few settings that you need to set up first. First, you must enable two-factor authentication for your Apple ID. The feature also requires Find My and Location Services to be turned on.

How to Turn Off Stolen Device Protection

To turn the feature off, head to the “Face ID & Passcode” menu, and under “Stolen Device Protection,” select “Turn Off Protection.” The only downside to this feature is that you won’t be able to change the security-related settings if you’re, say, on a vacation or at your friend’s place. In that case, you’d have to wait an hour or head to your home or workplace to make the intended change.

Which Security Settings Are Affected by Stolen Device Protection?

Once you enable the feature, certain settings will require Face ID or Touch ID authentication. These include using passwords or passkeys saved in Keychain, using payment methods saved in Safari, turning off lost mode, and erasing all content and settings.

Stolen Device Protection has a few minor drawbacks but ultimately helps to protect your device in the event of a bad actor getting hold of your iPhone. If security is important to you, you should be using your iPhone’s built-in password manager or a good free alternative.

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