How to use Stolen Device Protection

How to use Stolen Device Protection

Stolen Device Protection is a feature Apple hopes to prevent Apple from losing completely ID if iPhone and password are stolen. Here's how to set it up.

Previously, a thief could find out a person's password through social engineering or spying, steal the person's iPhone, and quickly lock their Apple ID. After reports of such problems surfaced, Apple was working on a feature that would help reduce the risk of losing an iPhone completely after it's stolen.

Starting with iOS 17.3, Apple provided users with the ability to reduce the risk of completely losing their Apple ID. A thief will no longer be able to access sensitive information or change passwords without biometric authentication by enabling Stolen Device Protection.

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How to enable protection against stolen devices

There are some caveats to protecting against stolen devices, but we'll get to those in a moment. For now, here's how to enable this feature.

  • Open the Settings app and tap “Face ID & Password.”
  • The Anti-Stolen Devices toggle is located about halfway down the page.
  • Turn on this feature and read Apple's hints about this feature.

That's it – — Anti-stolen device protection is enabled. However, what this switch changed in iOS is much more complex.

Using this feature, users should not notice any difference in the daily operation of their iPhone. This is especially true in important places, such as work or home, where this feature is not active.

What Stolen Device Protection does

Stolen Device Protection removes your backup password when you access critical parts of your Apple ID or device settings. It also implements a security delay when a user tries to change particularly sensitive information, such as their Apple ID password.

Usually, during certain actions, the user is prompted to enter Face ID or Touch ID. If these biometrics are not authenticated, the user will be prompted to enter a password.

When Stolen Device Protection is enabled, biometric authentication without password return is required for the following:

  • Use passwords or passkeys stored in Apple Passwords
  • Use for a new Apple Card
  • View the virtual Apple Card
  • Turn off Lost Mode
  • Erase all content and settings
  • Take certain steps Apple Cash and Savings in Wallet.
  • Use payment methods saved in Safari.
  • Use iPhone to set up a new device.

This means that a thief with your iPhone and your password will not be able to access these settings. Any of these settings could result in significant financial loss or compromise of the user's Apple ID.

Features not mentioned in the list above will still have a password fallback, such as Apple Pay authentication. However, FDIC insurance will cover fraudulent charges if the thief uses Apple Pay.

Delay protection for stolen devices by one hour

Apple adds another layer of protection for sensitive settings and controls — one hour delay. If the user is outside of a trusted location and tries to change the following settings, a biometric scan is performed with a one-hour delay and another biometric scan is performed.

  • Change your Apple ID password
  • Update your Apple ID account security settings, such as removing a trusted device, trusted phone number, recovery key, or recovery contact.
  • Change your iPhone passcode
  • Add or remove Face ID or Touch ID
  • Turn off Find My
  • Turn off Stolen Device Protection

Trusted locations are remembered by the iPhone and are not available to the user. Important locations such as home and work are used as exceptions to protect against stolen devices.

The one-hour delay ensures that even if a thief manages to trick the user into submitting to the initial biometric scan, it is unlikely that the user will still be available for a second scan an hour later. Alternatively, if the thief found out the user's home address and tried to drive there to make changes without delay, the user would have enough time to activate Lost Mode.

Stolen Device Protection won't prevent your iPhone from being stolen, but it can protect your Apple ID, passwords, and finances from thieves. AppleInsider strongly recommends activating this feature.

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