Apple iPhone

Stolen Device Protection for iPhone

Before yours is stolen from an unfamiliar place…

James Michael Wilkinson


What if it is stolen away from an unfamiliar place? Photo by Neil Soni on Unsplash

They are expensive to buy, important to keep safe, and provided with all manner of protection free of charge. We have all heard or read the stories. A person is in a public place, like a bar, and gets a text. They open the phone and key in the passcode…right in front of the searching eyes of a Bad Guy. Next thing the person knows, the phone is ripped out of their hand, and the Bad Guy disappears…with the expensive, important iPhone.

You want to do what you can to minimise the chances of it happening, but here is the latest tip on what to do if your phone is stolen like that in a public place.

Apple’s new Stolen Device Protection adds a layer of security when your iPhone is away from familiar locations, such as home or work, and helps protect your accounts and personal information in case your iPhone is ever stolen.

About Stolen Device Protection

When Stolen Device Protection is enabled, some features and actions have additional security requirements when your iPhone is away from familiar locations such as home or work. These requirements help prevent someone who has stolen your device and knows your passcode from making critical changes to your account or device.

  • Face ID or Touch ID biometric authentication: Some actions such as accessing stored passwords and credit cards require a single biometric authentication with Face ID or Touch ID — with no passcode alternative or fallback — so that only you can access these features.
  • Security Delay: Some security actions such as changing your Apple ID password also require you to wait an hour and then perform a second Face ID or Touch ID authentication.

In the event that your iPhone is stolen, the security delay is designed to prevent a thief from performing critical operations so that you can mark your device as lost and make sure your Apple account is secure. Learn what to do if your iPhone is lost or stolen.

When your iPhone is in a familiar location, these additional steps are not required, and you can use your device passcode as usual. Familiar locations typically include your home, work, and certain other locations where you regularly use your iPhone.

Stolen Device Protection is available with iOS 17.3 and must be turned on before the device is lost or stolen.

How to turn Stolen Device Protection on (or off; see below for when to do this)

To turn on Stolen Device Protection you must use two-factor authentication for your Apple ID and set up or enable the following on your iPhone: a device passcode; Face ID or Touch ID; Find My; and Significant Locations (Location Services).

You can turn on Stolen Device Protection in Settings:

  1. Go to Settings, then tap Face ID & Passcode.
  2. Enter your device passcode.
  3. Tap to turn Stolen Device Protection on or off.

If you try to turn off Stolen Device Protection when you are not in a familiar location, a security delay starts before you can turn it off.

You should turn off Stolen Device Protection before you sell, give away, or trade in your iPhone.

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James Michael Wilkinson

Displaced Alaskan trying to make the rest of my life meaningful. I never self-promote, so no initials after my name.