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Business News/ Technology / News/  Apple adds new Stolen Device Protection feature with iOS 17.3 beta. What is it and how does it work?
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Apple adds new Stolen Device Protection feature with iOS 17.3 beta. What is it and how does it work?

Apple Inc. is adding a feature to iPhones to prevent thieves from gaining access to critical device data in the event that they know a user’s passcode.

A customer look at an iPhone 15 smartphone at the new Apple Inc. store inside the Starfield mall during its opening in Hanam, South Korea, on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023. Apple was due to open another store in�the country simultaneously, but it now appears that one is running behind. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg (Bloomberg)Premium
A customer look at an iPhone 15 smartphone at the new Apple Inc. store inside the Starfield mall during its opening in Hanam, South Korea, on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023. Apple was due to open another store in�the country simultaneously, but it now appears that one is running behind. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg (Bloomberg)

Apple has announced the new Stolen Device Protection feature with the iOS 17.3 beta, which will be available for developers to download from today. The new feature is designed to protect users in the event that their phone is stolen and the password is known to the thief.

Apple appears to have developed the Stolen Device Protection feature in response to some reports from the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, which noted that thieves were taking advantage of Apple's software vulnerability that allowed interlopers to change a user's Apple ID password seconds after stealing their iPhone.

Also Read: Apple releases iOS 17.2 upgrade with Journal app, Spatial recording and more

The WSJ report had noted that these robberies usually took place in bars, where the thieves would watch iPhone users enter their passwords and then conveniently steal their device and, in essence, their "digital lives".

What is Stolen Device Protection feature? 

Stolen Device Protection is an opt-in feature that can be turned on by navigating to Face ID and Passcode in the Settings menu in iOS 17.3 Beta. The stable version of the upgrade is expected to be rolled out to all users in January or February.

An unnamed Apple spokesperson in a statement to CNBC said, "As threats to user devices continue to evolve, we work tirelessly to develop powerful new protections for our users and their data. 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."

After enabling Stolen Device Protection on their iPhone, users will need to enter their Face ID or Touch ID to perform tasks such as viewing passwords stored in iCloud Keychain, applying for a new Apple Card, turning off Lost Mode, resetting their device to factory settings, using stored payment information stored in Safari, and more. Additionally, users will no longer have the option to enter a passcode if they are unable to complete Face ID or Touch ID verification.

Apple is also adding a one-hour delay followed by Touch ID or Face ID verification for sensitive tasks such as changing your Apple ID password, changing your iPhone passcode, adding or removing Face ID or Touch ID, turning off Find my iPhone and more. However, the Cupertino-based tech giant noted that there will be no delay if these tasks are performed in familiar places such as the home or office.

 

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Published: 13 Dec 2023, 09:25 AM IST
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