Protection for stolen devices: This is how you use the iPhone feature

With the Update to iOS 17.3 you can get the so-called “protection for stolen devices” on your iPhone. This ensures that criminals cannot make dangerous changes to your smartphone, even if they know your unlock code. This makes it more difficult for them to change Touch ID or Face ID, use payment systems such as Apple Pay and PayPal and access your data. Below I will show you how to set up protection for stolen devices on the iPhone, where you can find further information and what Apple wants to improve on the function from iOS 17.4.

From iOS 17.3 onwards, “Stolen Device Protection” can be activated on the iPhone. You can find out here how it works, what it brings and what still needs to be improved by Apple.
From iOS 17.3 onwards, “Stolen Device Protection” can be activated on the iPhone. You can find out here how it works, what it brings and what still needs to be improved by Apple.

What is “Stolen Device Protection” on the Apple iPhone?

The new function, which is available on the iPhone from iOS 17.3, can be activated manually. If it is switched on, there is an increased security level for the use and modification of certain functions and actions. Especially if it is determined that the iPhone is not in a familiar place (home, work, etc.), additional security requirements come into force. This becomes clear, for example, when changing security-relevant information such as the Apple ID password: here you have to wait an hour after the change and then confirm it again with Touch ID or Face ID.

Im Apple Support Document HT212510 it says: "In the event your iPhone is stolen, this delay is designed to prevent a thief from performing critical operations so you can mark your device as lost and ensure your Apple account is safe. [...] If your iPhone is in a familiar location, these additional steps are not necessary and you can use your device passcode as usual. Familiar places typically include your home, work, and certain other places where you regularly use your iPhone."

Activate protection for stolen devices: Here's how!

With the new security function, Apple has implemented a good option in iOS to protect the iPhone from unauthorized access. Even if you were careless and revealed the device unlock code. Before doing so, you should make sure that a device code (unlocking code) and Face ID or Touch ID are set up, "Where is?“has been activated and the “Important Places” option (see next paragraph) is switched on in the location services. To activate the new feature, simply follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Opens the Settings on your Apple iPhone
  2. Vote in it Touch ID & Code or Face ID & Code from
  3. Enter your device code to use the area
  4. Tap under “Stolen Device Protection” Enable protection an
  5. If it now says “On” to the right of the option, the function has been activated

Important Places: Location service for capturing “familiar places”

If you are in a “familiar location”, the extended protection of security-relevant functions is deactivated. The iPhone then assumes that you are e.g. B. is at home or at work, i.e. in a place where the iPhone cannot be stolen or used by strangers. To activate the detection of certain important locations, you should go to Settings -> Privacy -> Location services -> System services -> Important Places activate the switch (it will then be green). However, stolen device protection can also be activated if the switch is deactivated (gray).

Biometric queries are then required for this

With regard to some functions, nothing changes if you have already activated some protective measures on the iPhone. For example, Apple notes that after activating the new anti-theft feature, the following actions will require authentication via Face ID or Touch ID, although some have done so before:

  • Passwords stored in the keychain or pass keys use
  • Use payment methods stored in Safari (autofill)
  • Disable Lost Mode
  • Delete settings and content
  • Apply for a new Apple Card
  • View Apple Card virtual card number
  • Perform certain Apple Cash and Savings actions in Wallet (e.g., Apple Cash or Savings transfers)
  • Set up a new device with your iPhone (e.g. quick start)

These security features are delayed to provide more protection

As described above, thieves cannot easily transfer the device to themselves in order to use it due to the activated protection feature. Changing the unlock code, Face ID and Touch ID or Apple ID password comes with additional verification actions. Away from a familiar location, you have to wait an hour after the change and then use the old Face ID or Touch ID again. This applies to these actions, among others:

  • Change Apple ID password
  • Sign out of your Apple ID
  • Change Apple ID account security settings (e.g., add or remove a trusted device, recovery key, or recovery contact)
  • Add or remove Face ID or Touch ID
  • Change iPhone passcode
  • Reset all settings
  • Disable Find My
  • Disable stolen device protection

Improvement in iOS 17.4: Manual setting of familiar places

Apple failed to implement the ability to set familiar locations on the user side in iOS 17.3. At the moment you have to hope that the iPhone only saves really safe coordinates as a familiar place - such as your own home. But if you are often in other places that are more frequented by strangers, automatic detection can be critical. If you are often in the gym, on a construction site, working in the shopping center, working somewhere outside or the like, the automatic weakening of the protective function can lead to its failure. Apple wants to make improvements with the iOS update to version 17.4 and enable familiar locations to be set manually (Which).

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.