Apple's New Security Toggle Just Made It Tougher For Thieves To Unlock Your iPhone

apple adds stolen device protection
Having your phone stolen is not just a hassle but can also lead to the compromise of your identity, finances, loss of cherished photos and videos, and access to your digital existence online. While there are many steps that you can take to safeguard this, Apple is adding another option, with Stolen Device Protection, to harden your iPhone against opportunistic thieves.

Stolen Device Protection (SDP) is a new feature from Apple that effectively acts as two-factor authentication for accessing your phone. The first part of this new feature restricts certain actions, such as accessing password and credit card details, until biometric authentication with Face ID or Touch ID is used. This access will have no PIN or passcode fallback, so in theory, a thief would not be able to get to the most sensitive details or information about you.

faceid apple adds stolen device protection

Another SDP feature is called “security delay,” which triggers when you change an Apple ID password. When you make a change, the security delay will require you to wait an hour to perform a second Face or Touch ID authentication to ensure it is you. Apple explains that this should give you enough time to mark your phone as lost so you can secure your accounts and information. With both features, if your iPhone is in a familiar location, these steps will not be required, and the passcode can be used as usual.

Looking at this from a cybersecurity perspective, this is a pretty good idea, though it could be broken with a little effort. In theory, it would not be too difficult to find someone’s home address or locations they frequent using any of the mapping apps that may be on their phone, including those that people may not think of, such as Snapchat. Moreover, this may not work well for those on college campuses or frequenting a largely populated area, as the thief can disappear but potentially remain in the “frequented area.” It will be interesting to see the research that comes out of how this feature actually works.

In any event, this is a nice addition for security purposes, even though it might not be perfect for everyone. If you want to enable this feature, navigate to your Settings, then enter the “Face ID & Passcode” menu. From here, you will be required to enter your passcode, at which point you can tap to turn on Stolen Device Protection. Turning this on might be worth it, as you never know when your phone could get nabbed, or lost and picked-up by nefarious hands.