What the Tech? Stolen iPhone Protection

What the Tech: Stolen Phone Protection

Apple has made a significant change to how you can protect your iPhone and Apple account.

(ABC 6 News) – Apple is adding a significant security update to iOS 17.3 to thwart iPhone thieves who’ve been known to lock the owner from their phone and Apple iCloud.

Called “Stolen Device Protection”, the security feature is an apparent answer to a growing problem of people who have their iPhone stolen along with the device passcode.

Multiple police departments reported people were having their phones stolen in public places by bad guys who had also stolen a glance at the passcode when the iPhone owner wasn’t looking. That allowed the bad guy to change the passcode, turn off Find My Phone, delete and create a new Face ID, and change the phone’s recovery code. That prevented the owner of the phone from signing into their Apple account and locating the stolen phone.

The new security feature is called “stolen device protection” and iPhone owners can turn it on in settings. With that turned on, any changes made to the passcode, face ID, or recovery password must be done at a known location such as your home or work address.

You can also set up a “Recovery Key” to help get your data back in the event the phone is stolen. It’s a 28-character key that you will have to know. If you turn this on, Apple suggests writing down the key and storing it somewhere so you’ll never lose it. You should keep a copy in two places in the event something happens to the first copy. That key will allow you to regain your account and iCloud data from another device.


The feature will not be turned on by default. You will need to turn it on by opening settings, tapping your name at the top of the page, and selecting “sign-in and security”.

Stolen iPhone protection and the 28-character recovery code are not available to the public yet. It is in the developer Beta iOS 17.3. The public version of iOS 17.3 should be released to the public sometime within the next few months.