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Make Your iPhone Difficult To Hack

A New Feature in iOS 17.3 Makes It Difficult for Criminals to Ruin Your Life

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Your phone is stolen, with it, all your personal information. It’s a terrifying thought.

But fear not because, with Apple’s latest iOS update, this nightmare scenario might be a thing of the past. The company has taken significant steps to thwart thieves from accessing your sensitive information. With the introduction of Stolen Device Protection in iOS 17.3, it becomes significantly harder for unauthorized individuals to access your sensitive data. This feature is now available as an over-the-air software update, and it’s strongly recommended that you activate it immediately.

Find IOS Updates here – About iOS 17 Updates – Apple Support

How to use Stolen Device Protection

Once you’ve installed iOS 17.3, you will be prompted to activate Stolen Device Protection. However, if you miss this prompt, navigate to the Settings app, select Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID for older iPhones), and ensure the Stolen Device Protection toggle is switched on.

Once Stolen Device Protection is enabled, your iPhone will demand additional authentication to access certain information. It will also restrict certain modifications if it detects that the device isn’t in a trusted location, such as your home or workplace.

For instance, attempting to change your Apple account password or your phone’s passcode outside of a trusted location triggers Stolen Device Protection. It imposes a one-hour delay and requires a secondary authentication with Face ID or Touch ID. This delay offers crucial time to utilize Apple’s Find My tool, enabling you to lock or wipe the stolen device remotely. Without this delay, a thief could bypass anti-theft measures using only the iPhone’s passcode.

Stolen Device Protection enhances security by mandating biometric authentication (Face ID or Touch ID, depending on your iPhone model) to access sensitive features such as viewing saved passwords or modifying an Apple savings account. This precaution prevents unauthorized individuals from exploiting your unlocked iPhone to steal funds or initiate credit card applications in your name.

These adjustments appear to address incidents where thieves targeted iPhone users who entered their PIN, as The Wall Street Journal reported. Once thieves access these devices, they exploit them for financial gain, including unauthorized transactions and locking victims out of their Apple accounts. This makes it challenging for victims to utilize Apple’s Find My feature to locate or disable their stolen iPhones. Additionally, victims may be unable to access photos and files stored on iCloud.

This new feature complicates matters for thieves attempting to wreak havoc with a stolen iPhone. While it may occasionally inconvenience you, it’s undoubtedly worthwhile to activate.

However, it isn’t functional at home.

However, there’s a catch. Stolen Device Protection only activates its heightened security protocols when your iPhone is powered on and not within a “known location,” as defined by Apple, which includes your home, workplace, and other frequently visited spots. To enable this feature, you must activate the Significant Locations setting under Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services > System Services > Significant Locations. Unfortunately, you can’t view or modify these familiar locations to prevent potential thieves from circumventing Stolen Device Protection.

You will not be subjected to these supplementary security measures when your iPhone is in a secure location. While it may be convenient, it is important to note that if someone in your household knows your passcode, these security precautions will not be effective.

More ways to keep your iPhone safe

Here are a few additional measures you can take to enhance the security of your iPhone:

  1. Lengthen your passcode: If you currently use a four-digit PIN to unlock your device, consider upgrading to a six-digit code or even an alphanumeric passcode for added security.
  2. Secure sensitive photos: Remove any photos from your camera roll that display important documents, as these could provide thieves with personal information about you. If you need to keep these photos accessible, consider moving them to the hidden album in the Photos app. To do this, long-press on a photo and select “Hide This Photo.” Within the Photos section of Settings, you can adjust the hidden album’s visibility, but you must have Face ID authentication to access it. Alternatively, you can store photos of documents in a secure online cloud storage service or a password manager. Regardless of where you store the images, ensure that some form of authentication—such as a passcode or Face ID—is required to view them.
  3. Enhance security by protecting individual apps with a PIN or Face ID. Since most iPhone apps don’t frequently prompt for login credentials, a thief accessing your unlocked iPhone could potentially access all your apps. Certain apps, particularly those associated with credit cards and banking, can set up individual PINs or utilize facial recognition or fingerprint scanning for added protection. Ensure to activate these settings.
  4. Require Face ID or Touch ID authentication to access saved passwords. Even without Stolen Device Protection, you can enforce biometric authentication for viewing or using saved passwords and auto-filling login details on websites. Navigate to Settings, select Face ID & Passcode, and enable the Password AutoFill option. Alternatively, you can opt for a dedicated password manager like our recommended choice, 1Password, which provides advanced features not found in built-in password managers.
  5. Activate Find My on your iPhone. In the event of theft, this feature enables you to track and remotely turn off your device using the Find My app. Familiarize yourself with this tool before any emergency arises.

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