The new Apple feature you should enable right now

Face ID icon displayed on a phone screen.

Face ID icon displayed on a phone screen. Photo: Getty Images

Tech giant Apple has unveiled a boosted level of security for its users, promising it will safeguard personal details and accounts if a device is lost or stolen.

The new feature is called Stolen Device Protection and is only available with the company’s latest iOS 17.3 operating system.

It must also be manually enabled.

Some features and actions will require additional security measures when an iPhone or iPad is away from familiar locations, such as its owners’ home or workplace, if Stolen Device Protection is active.

“These requirements help prevent someone who has stolen your device and knows your passcode from making critical changes to your account or device,” Apple said.

Away from familiar locations, Stolen Device Protection will require biometric authentications such as face or fingerprint ID for actions, including accessing stored passwords and credit cards.

In such instances, only face or fingerprint ID can be used and there is no passcode alternative or fallback. That means only the owner of the device can access those features.

Apple has also introduced a security delay as part of the increased protection.

“Some security actions, such as changing your Apple ID password, will also require you to wait for an hour and then perform a second Face ID or Touch ID authentication,” an Apple spokesperson said.

How to enable Stolen Device Protection

Enabling Stolen Device Protection is pretty simple, but there are a few things a user must set up or enable first.

“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),” Apple stated.

Once those are set up or enabled, go into your device’s settings, then tap Face ID and Passcode.

You will be asked to enter your phone’s passcode and then you will be able to turn Stolen Device Protection on or off.

Apple warns that activating or deactivating the feature in an unfamiliar location will prompt a security delay before it takes effect.

You should turn off Stolen Device Protection before you sell, give away or trade in your iPhone,” the tech giant said.

Pictured is Face ID on an iPhone

Stolen Device Protection offers another layer of security and protection.

App store change

The latest security update comes as Apple also announces one of its biggest changes in years for some users.

For the first time in the company’s history, it will allow third-party app stores on iPhones and iPads. There are also significant cuts to Apple’s app store fees.

The updates are another buckle by Apple to meet European Union requirements. It follows the company’s decision late last year to launch its latest iPhones with standard USB-C ports – after the EU laid down the law in requiring common phone chargers.

The latest shift is the biggest since Apple launched its app store 15 years ago. It means consumers will get more choice in how they acquire and install apps, while developers will get more flexibility in how they market themselves to users.

“The changes include more than 600 new APIs (application programming interface), expanded app analytics, functionality for alternative browser engines, and options for processing app payments and distributing iOS apps,” Apple said.

The changes are in response to EU regulation changes that apply from March.

Apple said it meant marketplace developers would be able to install apps and manage updates on behalf of other developers from their own marketplace app.

Also to comply within the EU, users will be able to set a third-party web browser – other than Safari – as their default. They will prompted to choose their preferred browser.

So far the changes apply only to EU users, and Apple is yet to reveal if they will be introduced in other markets.

Topics: Apple
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