iPhone's next major update will add huge anti-theft feature

iOS 17.3 is coming to deter thieves

iPhone 15 in pink product pic
(Image credit: Future)

Apple will soon make it harder for thieves to use your iPhone, with the next iOS update set to introduce more secure locking systems.

A developer beta of iOS 17.3 includes a Stolen Device Protection feature that will further prevent a thief from accessing an iPhone. Once activated, it will require Face ID or Touch ID before allowing certain actions, if the owner is not detected to be in the same location as the phone.

This includes wiping the iPhone to factory settings – something that's previously been available. It also prevents third-parties from viewing passwords/passkeys on the device.

As noted by MacRumors, there will also be a one-hour delay before a new password can be set – giving the victim time to report the theft. And even then, Face ID or Touch ID will be required to enforce the change.

Additional authentication is required when applying for a new Apple Card, viewing an Apple Card, turning on Lost Mode, or performing other Wallet actions.

Thieves will also not be able to use the iPhone to set up a new device, nor turn off Find My.

And it can be taken for granted that biometric authentication will be needed to turn off the new Stolen Device Protection feature.

Of course, Apple often puts new features into development iOS builds that never see the light of day, but we suspect this one will be a shoo-in. Anything that can be done to deter thieves from stealing devices will be very gratefully received.

There's no word yet on when iOS 17.3 might be released to the public, although it's thought it could arrive early in 2024 – January or February. It'll be available on all iPhone models that are capable of running iOS 17.

That includes the latest iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

It would also make sense to implement the feature on iPadOS 17.3 too, but we've not heard whether that's the case as yet.

Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.