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Here's everything you need to know about the new iPhone anti-theft system

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If you have an iPhone, you should download the latest update immediately, if you haven't already. Indeed, version 17.3 of iOS contains a patch that eliminates a dangerous security flaw. But on top of that, this operating system update also contains a new feature that gives you additional protection in case your iPhone is stolen.

Apple strengthens iPhone security

Normally, your iPhone is already protected if it is locked with FaceID (or TouchID) and a lock code. In fact, the thief cannot use or reset your iPhone without this code. But unfortunately, some thieves have evolved and now, before taking their victims' iPhones, they first make sure they know the code (by spying on the victim, or by socializing with them). Faced with this problem, which is growing, Apple has therefore developed the new option “Protection in the event of device theft”, which is available on iOS 17.3.

“When device theft protection is enabled, additional security requirements apply to certain features and actions when your iPhone is not in a known location, such as your home or workplace. If a third party has stolen your device and knows its passcode, these requirements will prevent them from making significant changes to your account or device”, we can read on the support page of the Cupertino company.

Biometric authentication becomes mandatory

To activate this protection, simply go to Settings > Face ID and code, enter the code, then tap “Device theft protection” to enable/disable. To protect the iPhone in the event of theft, the functionality will request a fingerprint (TouchID) or facial recognition (FaceID) before authorizing certain sensitive actions. In addition to this, the system implemented by Apple also imposes a security delay of one hour for the most sensitive actions, such as changing the Apple ID password.

There is one exception: these additional security measures do not apply when the iPhone is located in a “known” location, such as the user's workplace or home .

Which actions are blocked?

Here is the list of actions that will no longer be possible without biometric authentication, outside of known locations, if theft protection is activated:

  • Use saved keychain credentials or passwords
  • Use saved payment methods in Safari (autofill)
  • Turn off Lost Mode
  • Clear content and settings
  • Request a new Apple Card
  • View the virtual card number of an Apple Card
  • Perform certain actions on Apple Cash and Savings accounts in the Cards app (money transfers from an Apple Cash or Savings account)
  • Using your iPhone to set up a new device (for example, Quick Start)

Imperfect protection

It is important to note that although this protection helps limit damage in the event of theft, it is not a perfect solution. Indeed, in the event of theft, and if the thief knows the iPhone's code, he still has the possibility of using installed apps which are not protected by a code different from that of the iPhone. On the other hand, the thief can hack accounts (for example, on social networks) if the password reset is done via e-mail or SMS.

Finally, as some media have pointed out, a thief can also circumvent these new security measures by going to a location that the iPhone considers “known”.

  • The iOS 17.3 update for iPhone fixes a dangerous security flaw and also brings a new feature called Device Theft Protection
  • When it is activated, this requires biometric authentication to carry out certain sensitive actions on the iPhone
  • Indeed, some thieves manage to obtain the codes of their victims, before take action
  • Although it provides a higher level of protection than a simple code, the functionality is not infallible

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116