Apple's New iOS Feature Makes It Difficult For Thieves To Break Into Your Phone: Here's How It Works

Apple has unveiled a new feature called Stolen Device Protection, for iPhones, aiming to enhance security by adding extra layers of protection. This feature is particularly crucial for thwarting thieves who manage to acquire your phone and passcode.

What to know? With Stolen Device Protection, accessing or altering sensitive settings on your iPhone, such as Apple's keychain passwords, now requires biometric authentication like a fingerprint or face recognition, ensuring only the legitimate owner can make these changes.

In urban areas, where smartphone thefts are frequent, this feature is a game changer. It’s designed to safeguard your social media accounts, passwords, and financial data, which are all vulnerable when a phone gets stolen.

This feature comes with iOS 17.3, the latest update of Apple’s mobile operating system. Cybersecurity experts view this move positively, as it adds a significant barrier against phone theft.

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How to Turn On Apple’s Stolen Device Protection Feature?

  • Step 1: Update your iPhone to iOS 17.3.
  • Step 2: Open the ‘Settings’ app.
  • Step 3: Scroll to ‘Face ID & Passcode’.
  • Step 4: Find ‘Stolen Device Protection’.
  • Step 5: Toggle the switch to turn it on.

How does the feature work? Stolen Device Protection kicks in when someone unlocks your iPhone and tries to change settings at an unfamiliar location. It requires Face ID or Touch ID for tasks like accessing saved passwords, using saved payment methods, turning off Lost Mode, erasing the phone, and more.

There’s also a one-hour security delay for even more sensitive changes, like altering your Apple ID password or security settings, which requires biometric re-verification after the delay.

This feature marks a shift towards greater reliance on biometrics, potentially paving the way for a future without passcodes. Mark Stockley from Malwarebytes notes Apple’s growing confidence in biometric technologies over the past decade.

However, Stolen Device Protection isn’t foolproof. It's wise to back up your data and use additional passcodes for apps like WhatsApp. In case of theft, beyond notifying the police, you should change your Apple ID password and mark your phone as lost in iCloud's Find Devices settings.

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