February 29, 2024

Apple has released iOS 17.3 and iPadOS 17.3 to users. This is a modest refresh, so don’t go looking for anything too crazy. There is, however, a new feature This isn’t used to locate a stolen iPhone or iPad, but rather to keep the thieves from accessing your personal data.

The feature first popped up in the developer beta of iOS 17.3 and it’s actually pretty handy. If someone manages to steal your iPhone or iPad, and you are updated to OS 17.3, you can lock them out of the system by forcing Face ID or Touch ID access. This works even if they have your passcode, so they won’t be able to put in their own biometrics and lock you out.

The software automatically mandates a one-hour security delay before changing the passcode if the phone or tablet is recognized as being in an unfamiliar location. Stolen Device Protection won’t stop thieves from doing their thing, but it will make things harder for them. The tool’s available for both iPhones and iPads.

The update also brings collaborative playlists to Apple Music, AirPlay hotel support, optimized crash detection and new wallpapers to celebrate Black History Month. It’s not the most robust update in the world, but it’s since iOS 17.2 was released.

Like other iOS 17 releases, you need an iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max or iPhone XR from 2018, or any version of iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, iPhone 14 and iPhone 15. It also works on iPhone SE second- and third-generation models. As for iPadOS 17.3, a whole bunch of models including the iPad Mini fifth-generation and up, the standard iPad sixth-generation and up, the iPad Air third-generation and up and all iPad Pro models. Check your system settings to see if the update is available for download.

Today’s a big day for Apple operating systems. The company dropped watchOS 10.3, with a new watch face, and macOS Sonoma 14.3, which also brings collaborative playlists to Apple Music.

This article contains affilate links; if you click such a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission.